If, Then, Why?

IF this is what I think it is

THEN what is it doing in NJ?

and WHY is this dope hitting his golf balls towards it?

No Cranes were hurt during the taking of these photos, but one birder (yours truly) was heard shouting multiple obscenities at said golfer who was utterly oblivious.

So what do you think? Patrick? Anyone? I’ve never seen a Crane before, but this sure looks like a Sandhill to me, although the light was awful and the photos are barely showing any color on this bird at all. There are occasional reports from South Jersey of Sandhills or Common Cranes or hybrids or something, I’m not sure. Help!

Photographed today at Wolf Hill Park in Oceanport NJ.

24 thoughts on “If, Then, Why?”

  1. Cool!-We had one in CT. in January but I wasn’t able to locate it.-I can’t see red on the head like Sibley shows but the mark itself seems to have that shape.-must be.-Nice find.

  2. I gosh, I (the novice) checked it out in my field guide. Looks good, Laura! But those idiot golfers can be so stupid and crazed about their score.

    My husband and his golfing buddies scare them away kindly before swinging their club. Unfortunately, not all golfers are so considerate. I would have done worse than shout at them :o)

  3. Larry: I did see the red when looking with my bins, but the photos are poor.

    Cathy: It is neat – and what a surprise on my way to the vet this morning!

    Mary: This place is a county park, but there’s nothing much there – other than meadowlarks and kestrels and apparently sandhill cranes! – but golfers go there to *practice* – I don’t know what you call it. They also want to put a *dog park* there. ;-(

    Susan: Yeah – coolness.

  4. The ID is correct. Sandhills are on the move now, so it’s probably a bird that spent the winter in Florida or Georgia and just got lost on the way north. Cool find.

  5. It’s a sandhill, all right.

    The colour varies, but not the shape and that wicked bill.

    They breed near here, at Reifel Island bird sanctuary and in Burns Bog, and in breeding season would be challenging the golfer over his right to be there. They can be quite agressive, protecting their young. I can relate.

    (Laurie has been bitten by one, as we were trying to sidle by on the far side of the road. We had to turn back.)

  6. Very cool, indeed! When I lived in north-central Florida, I used to love to see them fly over in flocks from Paines Prairie croaking like a frog-bird DNA experiment gone wrong.

    How unusual is it to find one in NJ? Do you have a bird-sighting reporting service?

  7. Looks like one to me. That golfer ought to be shot (and not with a camera). Okay, maybe that’s extreme, but sheesh fella, give the poor bird a break.

  8. Besides being an idiot, I hope you gave the golfer a bad time bout his swing also. The birds are moving around.

  9. Wow. What a great find, laura. There is definitely something to be said for being in the right place at the right time. That golfer needed to have his consciousness raised a bit. How can he not see the splendid wild-life before him?

  10. It is indeed. We had a giant flock in the marsh grass back at the cottage in Michigan- I loved their wacky noises and graceless stilted walk- once airborne, they knock your socks off.

  11. Laura, I couldn’t find a way to email you so I’m posting this here.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog on the on going posts related to the Park Avenue Peregrine Falcons. I posted a followup comment to yours with pointers to a few NYC falcon related articles. Click here for a direct link to the article.

    All the best.

  12. Not sure what kind it is, but it must have been pretty exciting. I just moved to Portland, OR and recently saw a blue heron, not crazy for here, but definitely new to me. Yeah birds!

  13. I’m sure glad the crane didn’t get hit — a golf ball could be pretty deadly to a bird. Neat that you got to see a Sandhill in your area. We occasionally see them up here wandering around in pastures with cattle.

  14. Holy sh*t is right, at least I thought so!

    I called the bird in to the rare bird alert tele line, but I think they may be on vacation.

    In the golfer’s defense, he really was clueless, though I can’t imagine how he didn’t see this huge bird that was almost dancing towards him in defense and making that *bugle* sound. Very neat to see.

    I’ve been by since, and haven’t spotted it again, so maybe it’s found its way to wherever it’s supposed to be.

  15. Yup. That’s a sandhill crane. They’ve been spotted here in NJ this year – I got to see two of them (I couldn’t believe it at first) around the marshy area around Seacaucus when my train was stuck on the tracks. I did get to call the bird alert line and tell them.

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