Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Northern Lapwings!! January 20

In the morning after getting breakfast, oatmeal and a bagel meal, at McDonalds, I heard a Fish Crow calling nearby.  I find the bird sitting on the arm of a street light.    As I drive up the road to top off my tank at Loves, I notice a small flock of crows in the trees nearby.  They fly to the Loves and land on the roof over the pumps, all the while giving Fish Crow calls.  They look smaller than the American Crows I am accustomed to seeing in Cincinnati, and their wing beats are not as deep as those for American Crow.  In 2012, I saw my first Fish Crow in Ohio near Cleveland.  Fish Crows are expanding in eastern US.
I continue on my way to 34 Brynmore Road, New Egypt, NJ.  I arrive to a row of cars looking at the lapwings.  The highly zoomed photo below shows all three birds near the water puddle in the muddy field. At the right is a mOutmber of the farmer's cattle--looks like a long horn to me.  The next photo is  of two birds flying, showing the distinctive black, gray white pattern, and the third the best close-up I obtained of a standing bird.  Outstanding in his field!  Ha!  Ha!

After I am satisfied with these birds, I talk with other local birders about where to find Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese.  There was a recent report at nearby Lake Etra but not today.  Today a Barnacle Goose was report at Spruce Run Reservoir near Clinton in NW NJ.  I decide to check out nearby Lake Etra.  By the way it is very convenient to use Google Maps on my Droid Razr.  There are essentially no waterfowl on Lake Etra, but there were two other birders there looking.  I decide to head to Spruce Run Reservoir, because it is early afternoon.  A Mew Gull was also reported recently at Spruce Run.
I arrive at Spruce Run Reservoir and figure out where the boat ramp is for the Mew Gull and where the Barnacle Goose was seen nearby in the early morning.  Several birders are leaving stating that the Mew Gull has not been found since the previous report.  They were heading for the Clinton Library and the dam outlet where the Barnacle Goose had been seen at sunset yesterday.  One birder remained, Jeff Davis, from Downingtown, PA.  I recognized his name.  He birds extensively in the east chasing rarities and photographing via digi-scoping.  I see his reports on the internet.  His wife Amy writes the Rare Bird report for Birding (magazine) and the ABA.  I add Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull standing there talking with Jeff.  I was almost going to leave to go to the library to look for Barnacle Goose when Jeff mentioned the Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Jeff also confirmed that Fish Crows are likely where I saw them, because he sees them frequently around the Philadelphia area.  I noted that the Carlisle location is not far from the Susquehanna River and Fish Crows are expanding along the rivers in the east.  As we talked and looked at gulls, I noticed a small flock of Common Mergansers, a new year bird, flying west out from us.  Eventually, I left for the library and dam outlet to search for the Barnacle Goose.  While searching I found a Hooded Merganser.  Jeff had promised to and did join me there at sunset, but we did not find the Barnacle Goose, even though all of the geese in the outlet water flew up on the grass below the dam to feed. My total is now 85.  I stay the night in nearby Phillipsburg, NJ.  

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