How big was my ‘Big Day’ in 2023?

My 2023 Spring “Big Day” was a lot of fun as I logged 51 species in e-Bird, doing my part to contribute to the crowd-sourced science that makes these annual counts so important in preserving our avian friends. Unlike last year when I traveled to Cape May County during the World Series of Birding, IContinue reading “How big was my ‘Big Day’ in 2023?”

Can hearing aids make you a better birder?

I had just stepped out of the car at the Reed Bryan Farm parking lot at Mercer Meadows, anticipating the usual gaggle of European starlings that congregate in the large tree near the barn beside the lot. I hadn’t even opened the back-seat door to fetch my camera and binoculars when I heard the loudest,Continue reading “Can hearing aids make you a better birder?”

The warblers are coming. Time to look up!

Spring migration has begun, and the warblers have started arriving here in central New Jersey. Within the past few days, I’ve seen palm warblers, a yellow warbler and common yellowthroats, all welcome returnees to my neck of the woods. As these birds and more arrive, I need to remind myself as I wander through theContinue reading “The warblers are coming. Time to look up!”

Bueller? Bueller? Birds at the parking lot

As if to prove there’s no rhyme or reason to birding, consider the parking lot birds that appear just as you’re about to leave the birding location or, even rarer in my experience, those who show up just as you arrive. That latter scenario played out Thursday morning when I pulled into the Cold SoilContinue reading “Bueller? Bueller? Birds at the parking lot”

Finding birds on new trails

With a nod to Robert Frost, I’ve always been one to take the road less traveled, seeking new paths even in familiar places. I’ll approach an intersection and wonder, “Where does this road go?” More often than not, I’ll turn and drive on to see what new wonders await me. So it is with theContinue reading “Finding birds on new trails”

Super Bowl Sunday: A great day for (bald) eagles

Mercer County Park has become a haven for bald eagles and a terrific place for birders and bird-fanciers to watch them. If you’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild, you have an excellent chance of seeing one and probably more this time of year at Mercer Lake in the center of the park.Continue reading “Super Bowl Sunday: A great day for (bald) eagles”

Too much of a great thing: Owl overload at the Pole Farm

Reports of owls — short- and long-eared — have been filed from the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm multiple times during the last few weeks, and crowds are gathering. I’ve spoken with several birders on my last few trips, and as thrilled as we are that owls are about, it is becoming a challenge to findContinue reading “Too much of a great thing: Owl overload at the Pole Farm”

I finally see my first owl, and a bonus bird!

Since I began birding seriously the last few years, I’d lamented that I had never seen an owl in the wild. Even at the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, which usually draws owls during the winter months, I’d never seen one either flying or perched in a tree. On Saturday afternoon, that changed. Word had gottenContinue reading “I finally see my first owl, and a bonus bird!”

Northern harriers at sunset, and that is enough

The sun finally came out late in the afternoon Saturday, which up until that point had brought nothing but rain and drizzle. I headed out to the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, hoping for a chance to catch something worth photographing. In the half hour before sunset, my best bet was to have a chance atContinue reading “Northern harriers at sunset, and that is enough”

For birding, it helps to take a 360-degree view

Without a car for a few days recently, I was unable to get to the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, at least not without some difficulty. So I improvised and headed on foot through the Rider University campus near home to the Loveless Nature Preserve. The preserve is a mostly wooded area that straddles the oldContinue reading “For birding, it helps to take a 360-degree view”