Monday, September 15, 2014

Doldrums…

Temp in the low 50s, overcast and light rain most of the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon, moderate NW winds.

The rain put a damper on the morning birding. Just the usual suspects. No auklets (or much of anything else) on Kulik Bay. Although the tide was out, there were no shorebirds in Sweeper Channel. Even the shovelers didn’t make an appearance.

The feeders had a few Rosy Finches and Longspurs, but that was it. We headed out to Lake Andrew and found four Eurasian Wigeon on Haven Lake. Lake Andrew had a few scaup.

The flats were exposed on Clam Lagoon, but a pair of Peregrine Falcons sitting out there and one flying over made for few shorebirds showing themselves!

We have not seen the Brambling since we found it two days ago. There was a lot of activity off of the seawall, but the only shorebird was a single turnstone. There were thousands of shearwaters still flying by (way out!) and we were able to pick out a Black-footed Albatross with them (our only new trip bird for the day).

The Tufted Duck continues at Lake Shirley.

As we drove down the east side of Clam Lagoon, two small birds landed in the road in front of us (NOTE: 99.999% of all small birds in the roads at this time are Lapland Longspurs!). One of them was a longspur, but the other was not. It had a boldly patterned face — somewhat like a Lark Sparrow — and what could be described as a spot on its breast, but it quickly flew up and into the thick vegetation on the side of the bluff (before I could get my camera on it). We waited around and searched for a half-hour or so to no avail.┬áNothing in our field guides quite matches what we both saw, so we are at a loss as to what it was. It was likely one of the Asian buntings, but we will never know unless it reappears over the next week-and-a-half.

We worked our way back to town and, while checking the feeders, were treated to a couple of raptors.

Bald Eagle, Sandy Cove Bluff, Sept 15, 2014.

Bald Eagle, Sandy Cove Bluff, Sept 15, 2014.

Peregrine Falcon, Sandy Cove Bluff, Sept 15, 2014.

Peregrine Falcon, Sandy Cove Bluff, Sept 15, 2014.

One other note. While I was scanning the auklets yesterday morning, a porpoise (species to be determined) came up right into three auklets I had in the scope and may have taken one of them. I never saw it surface again. Then today, while scanning a gull-and-kittiwake feeding-frenzy from Palisades Overlook, a large tailfin appeared in the middle of it and never surfaced again. So there are some cetaceans around, just not very cooperative ones.

The wind is supposed to pick up from the west again over the next few days. Hope it brings good birds.

Penn State 13 – Rutgers 10

Philadelphia Eagles 30 – Indianapolis Colts 27

At least it was a good weekend for out teams!