Date: 1/5/20 6:46 pm
From: Jon Stippick <Jonstippick...>
Subject: [JERSEYBI] Barnegat CBC- Holgate Section
6 of us a managed 51 species (average has been 45 since I started in 2013). The howling wind, 20-35+ mph, made conditions challenging but manageable. It’s better than pouring rain or negative temperatures. We had 1,000+ Black Scoters very close to shore for the morning sea watch, clicker counted individually, plus other expected ducks. A total of 20 Razorbills were counted, some distant but some nice close scope views too.
We started the 7-8 mile round trip hike shortly after 8:00. Passerines were hard to come by! The wind was keeping them under cover. The group total for Ipswich sparrow was over 40. No Seaside or Saltmarsh Sparrow, they have been missed for a few years in a row, strange. The only owls we had were 2 Great-horned. That is surprising. I’d expect Snowy, Short-eared or Saw-whet before Great-horned. The tallest tree in the refuge is only 6ft. Maybe the NW wind pushed them over from Tuckerton and they were waiting it out. There was an impressive flock of Snow Buntings at the southern tip, at least 75. We tried picking out a longspur without luck. The trek back along the beach is brutal, 3 miles of sand and wind.
We were back at the parking lot by 2:00. Chris, Amy and I decided to try for a few more species to add to the list from the residential area that borders the refuge. We still needed Cardinal, WT Sparrow, Junco, Chickadee, etc... We split up. Chris found an Orange-crowned Warbler. He got me on it a few minutes later and Amy made her way back to us and got it too. It was calling quite a bit. While watching the Orange-crowned, a bird flew from behind us, between me and Amy. We both saw it at the same time, naked eye. We both knew what it was instantly, even though it was a lifer for me. ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER! I blurted it out as it landed within view. We got exceptional views of it several times. It was moving around a lot and was chased off by mockingbirds a few times. A Coopers Hawk was dangerously close to it for a moment also. What an exciting sighting! I wonder how long it’s been there. Exact location is on West ave and Cleveland Ave, the vacant wooded lot.
We picked up a few more common birds and called it a day. I stuck around until it was dark but didn’t add anything new. This count is a challenging one but it is always rewarding.

Jon Stippick

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