Birds of the Jersey Shore

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Visits to three locations along the New Jersey Shore resulted in some great looks at some beautiful birds yesterday.  A female Black-Crowned Night-Heron tends to her chicks at a rookery in Ocean City.

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Male and female Night-Herons look the same but their behavior provides clues as to who is who in the pair. You may be tempted to think that this is the male as he appears to be watching the female do all the work. In truth, they each help build the nest and then both protect and feed the chicks.

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Night-Herons forage for food when the sun goes down. This is a juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

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An Osprey flies to its nest with a fresh catch at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

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An American Oystercatcher at the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook.

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The highlight of the day was the last bird I photographed. It’s my first-ever Piping Plover. These tiny birds, on the endangered species list due to loss of habitat, do a great job of blending into the scenery. They are difficult to spot but fun to watch.

Cape May

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This week, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Cape May, New Jersey. I saw several Indigo Buntings. This one was particularly vibrant in the morning light.

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A Forster’s Tern was seen cutting through the wind while searching for fish.

A Surprise Visitor

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You can imagine my surprise to look out our back window and see this big, amazingly-beautiful Red-tailed Hawk on our back deck. I was very happy she didn’t fly away when I slowly slid the door open just enough to capture some photos.

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The reclusive Wood Thrush, photographed this morning, shares a mottled, white and brown breast with the Red-tailed Hawk. This makes for good camouflage as it forages quietly on the forest floor.

Out and About

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A Rose-Breasted Grosbeak seems to be making sure that the coast is clear before venturing out after the rain comes to an end on Saturday morning.

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Canada Geese goslings stay close to their mother at Rockefeller State Park this morning.

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A Great Blue Heron keeps a close eye out for breakfast in Swan Lake at the park today.

Yellow Warbler

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This morning’s flash of vibrant yellow at Rockefeller State Park.

“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.” – Aldo Leopold

 

Stealing the Show

MandarinDuck_wordpress“The male Mandarin duck, native to East Asia, should not be in the middle of Manhattan. And yet, against all odds, he is here. And he is dazzling,” writes Julia Jacobs of the New York Times. This bird, photographed in Central Park today, is a real show-stealer. No one seems quite sure how it arrived but it seems happy to pose for all of us awe-struck onlookers.CedarWaxwing_wordpressA Cedar Waxwing eats ripe berries from a Crabapple tree in the park today.WoodDuck_wordpresUnlike the Mandarin, Wood ducks are native to the United States. They are one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather. This one was also at Central Park today – not far from that number one attention-getter.

“Seeing the birds is like touching the hand of God. This is the Church of Many Feathers.” – John Builello