Missed opportunities and sleep

My plan for today was to get out and bird with Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. A nice winter trip is to visit the local ponds, inlets, and beaches that make up the *North Shore* of coastal NJ looking for ducks. Unfortunately, I slept till nearly noon and missed the trip. One major thing that I have trouble with as a birder is getting up early enough. In the winter it’s easier because it gets light so late, but the spring kills me.

I get up before dawn only once a year for the NJ Audubon World Series. I *compete* with SHBO’s Century Run team to raise money for their nature center where I volunteer. Last year we did okay with a total of 127 species for the day. I actually made myself useful to the team this year by alerting them to this Eurasian-Collared Dove which had been seen throughout the previous week, but had’nt been found yet that day. The story of our day is available here. We also saw a Wilson”s Plover that day. The WSB is always fun, except for my first year participating when it poured rain the whole day! Every year brings it’s own surprises. One year there was a bagpiper practising on the seawall at dawn.

Sandy Hook is a great place to bird if you get the chance. It can even be reached easily by the ferry from NYC. Warblers in spring together with a good hawk migration, great sparrows in fall, and ducks, gulls, and seabirds in winter. The summer brings lots of traffic for the beaches and the birding is slow, but the evenings are nice with wading birds, plenty of terns, and osprey. Cape May gets all the attention in NJ, but Sandy Hook rivals it (IMHO) in many ways; least of which is that it’s only ten minutes from home.

Here’s a link to what’s being seen this week statewide and a great site for local recent sightings.


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