Date: 2/1/19 4:32 pm
From: Jon Stippick <jonstippick...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Absecon Inlet - Atlantic City/Brigantine
There is a new boardwalk along Absecon Inlet in Atlantic City that provides excellent opportunity to view winter waterfowl. I had a "Barnegat Light-style" view of a Harlequin that was hiding among a group of Buffleheads at Euclid Ave. There were also Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks, Black Scoters and Brant that were quite close. I ventured out to the end of the jetty hoping for Alcids but most birds were too far (for me) to confidently identify. A few flocks looked good for Razorbill but I couldn't be sure. A close flyby by a Common Goldeneye was one of the few birds that flew close enough for ID.
I made the short trip to Brigantine Island in an attempt to see the wintering flock of Willets, Godwits and Oystercatchers. I found them on the west side of the bridge from AC to Brig. There is an old fishing pier right next to the bridge that provided an excellent place to scan through the shorebirds. Almost 150 Oystercatchers! Only 6 Marbled Godwits and 10 Western Willets. The highlight for me was a very close male White-winged Scoter that was so close to a male Surf Scoter, they were almost touching each other. Wow, they are both unique looking birds. At one point I had all 3 scoter species in the same scope view. A hardy Catbird was pished out of the shrubs too.
I wanted to check the south end of Longport but it takes nearly 30 minutes to travel the 8 miles so I went to the frozen wonderland of Forsythe instead. Very little open water there. I only saw about 50 ducks along Wildlife Dr. Many hundreds of Snow Geese were hanging out on the ice. I had a surprising total of 9 Tree Sparrows on Wildlife Drive. 7 of them were in a tight flock feeding on grass seed heads. I enjoyed several minutes of good views and they didn't even flush as I drove by. Other than the Snow Geese, it might be the fewest birds i've ever seen at the refuge. The scenery there was stunning though. It was snowing and everything was frozen or covered by snow.
There is some wonderful winter birding out there for those who are willing to brave the cold.

- Jon Stippick


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