Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spruce Run Again, January 21

Yesterday it got increasing colder and more windy.  No more 54F!  This morning it was colder still, in the low teens if I recall correctly.  I got to the dam outlet behind the Clinton Library just at first light.  None of the geese had flown out for  the morning feeding session.  I walked along the athletic field and chain link fence bordering the outlet waters and peered through the bushed and trees scanning the many geese.  Yesterday there was a  hybrid goose that looked like a hybrid of Snow Goose and Canada Goose.  It was large with a Canada Goose body but with a white head.  I found it again this morning.  A local photographer and birder discussed this on his blog.  As it got lighter, scanning became easier somewhat.  Eventually I found a Greater White-fronted Goose, a new bird for the year.  However, soon the geese started to get loud and small flocks started to fly out to the southeast.  By 9:00 am almost all of the geese were gone.  I packed up my scope and headed to the boat ramp again.  There I met another birder who told me that there was a large flock of Snow Geese to the northeast.  Take Rt. 31 north to Rt. 632 and go east.  I found this massive flock of Snow Geese that were circling landing and feeding in a field with corn stubble.  However, there was no place to park and scan the birds.  The field was elevated above the road level and there was only a private driveway.  So, I had to be satisfied with not scanning for Ross's Geese in this massive flock of Snow Geese.  As I drove west back to Rt. 31,  I found more flocks of Snow Geese along Rt. 632 at least one west of Rt. 31, but there was nowhere to pull off and park to scan the flocks.  Later in the morning near the northeast point of the reservoir, I found a Greater Black-backed Gull with a Herring Gull, standing on the flat near the waters edge. The Greater black-backed Gull was considerably larger than the Herring Gull as expected for this species.   The Lesser Black-backed Gulls seen yesterday are smaller than Herring Gulls.

Yesterday, at about 2:00 to 2:30 pm, a Pink-footed Goose was seen and reported in Tom's River. I stayed in the Spruce Run area for one additional try for Barnacle Goose.  At about 12:30,  I decided to drive to Tom's River to try for the Pink-footed Goose.  By the time I sopped for gas and a snack, I was carrying lunch with me, I arrived at Seacourt Pavillion Mall, and the pond near Marshall's.   However, I was about 10 to 20 minutes too late, because the geese were flying out to feed.  I did see several American Wigeon in the pond, a new bird for the year.  I met Bob Wallace from Florida and Vincent from NJ there.  I had met Bob before on a spring Searcher pelagic trip out of san Diego, CA.  He was in NJ for business and stopped by to see the Pink-footed Goose.  I exchanged telephone numbers with both and promised to call them if I saw the goose.  A New Jersey birder and his son decided to look at a nearby golf course where they had seen geese grazing.  I followed them there but we did not find the Pink-footed Goose.  I asked him about motels, and he was very helpful.   My list is now 89.  I stayed in a local Howard Johnson's about five minutes from the pond behind Marshall's.  It was comfortable and good enough for my needs and provided a nice continental breakfast in the morning.  This will give me a good early start in the morning.      

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