Tuesday, January 15, 2013
[Note: This blog sometimes gives the reader information on how and where to chase birds, but that's not our main purpose. If you want to get the best info on NJ rare bird locations, check out keekeekerr, jerseybirds, and njbirds. Subscribe to all three to stay current.]
I don't want to be labeled a chaser. Neither do you. Chasing, in the birding world, means running down the birds someone else's skill (or luck) found.
That being said, I went chasing today. I couldn't stand it anymore, the pack of good birds in central NJ featuring lifer (for me) Pink-footed Goose, ABA-area lifer (for me) Northern Lapwings, and year bird and very cool Barnacle Geese. When Warren Cairo and Chris Marks invited me to join the chase, how could I refuse? A call to an understanding boss, and off we went.
We started with the lapwings, a species I've seen in Europe and whose flight profile, with big paddles for wings, I well remembered and got to see again when a passing Bald Eagle put the birds to flight.
I was surprised how the Pink-footed Goose, up off Route 33 in Monmouth County, affected me. It's a beautiful bird, much more elegant than a Canada. Thanks are owed to Glen Davis and Doug Gochfeld for hooking us up with the right field to find it.
And finally, in a fit of luck, we didn't know exactly where the Barnacle Geese were hanging out, but knew they'd be with a big flock of Canadas. By the way, this chase had added drama from the volume of geese wintering in central NJ, and many of these are likely "real" Canada geese, from the Ungava peninsula. We saw a few with orange neck bands that showed a Canadian origin. Rather abruptly, we pulled up to a flock and here were these two silver-backed geese. . .which reminds me, learn the back colors of the rare geese you are after, because too often your target will have its head down and feet hidden, and all there will be to go on is the upperparts. So it was that we pulled up to that field off Route 33. . . and there in the glasses were the backs of two Barnacle Geese.
Chasing. . . fun when it works out.
Posted by Don Freiday at 6:17 PM