Today was the World Series of Birding here in NJ when birders try to find the greatest number of species to raise money for conservation. I play every year with the Sandy Hook team, but this year only joined the group for a few hours in the late afternoon. While the poor souls who had been at it since 5:30 this morning had their dinner break, I watched the terns feeding on Sandy Hook Bay. That’s a battleship of some sort in the background at the nearby naval weapons station.
The terns weren’t the only ones fishing on the bay, but they seemed to be much more successful than the others. I love to watch the terns wheeling and diving over the water – makes me dizzy!
We did the *death march* out to the salt ponds at the very tip of Sandy Hook and saw hundreds of swallows and some shorebirds. Patrick from The Hawk Owl’s Nest is somewhere in this group photo; he was a co-leader for the day and is a nice guy and has a wonderful smile!
We visited the locust grove looking for warblers feeding at dusk. The sunset over the dunes was gorgeous tonight – somehow I managed to miss the peak of the beach plum bloom, but they’re still very pretty. We ended the day listening for woodcock, barred owls, whipporwills, and nighthawks, but found only a great horned owl perched in the distance. All told, I think the group had about 125 species today which is a respectable number, although they missed some *sure to see* birds.