Tapping the animal network to bring out a bird

Spring migration has been a bit of a disappointment for me this year, as I haven’t seen as many warblers as I did last year. I’ve heard them, or more accurately the Merlin sound app has heard them clustered around me, but I’ve had relatively little luck spotting them. As of the start of thisContinue reading “Tapping the animal network to bring out a bird”

Big days in May: chasing the rare prothonotary warbler

When I first started paying attention to the Spring migration a couple of years ago, I saw sporadic, excited reports of prothonotary warblers being spotted here in New Jersey. What a weird name for a bird, I thought, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to chase all over kingdom come to find one. AContinue reading “Big days in May: chasing the rare prothonotary warbler”

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!”

When the light, the foliage and the bird align

Every once in a while, the birding and photography gods smile upon me. Such occasions are rare, and the latest came on a recent Sunday morning at what you might call the Church of the Pole Farm. I took one of my standard routes at the park, making a left into the alley of treesContinue reading “When the light, the foliage and the bird align”

Some birds are not always as they seem

The weather turned colder late last week, and every birder I know was smiling. Colder weather brings a greater variety of birds this time of year, when the fall migration is underway. I’ve been spending more time of late at the old AT&T Building One site at the Pole Farm, at a crossroads in theContinue reading “Some birds are not always as they seem”

At last, the yellow warbler emerges

For the last three weeks or so, every time I set foot on a particular trail at the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, I’ve heard a yellow warbler. And I do mean heard, not seen. This bird, and I suspect it is just the one, has continually frustrated me because I have not been able toContinue reading “At last, the yellow warbler emerges”

My ‘Big Month’ of birding was even better than I’d hoped

April was the coolest month. Knowing that I had a trip to Texas scheduled and that a few warblers might eventually come my way at home, I set out on a “big month” quest to spot as many species as possible. I set 60 as my target, a reasonable expectation but not a certainty. I’mContinue reading “My ‘Big Month’ of birding was even better than I’d hoped”

Birding down the shore at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

As I watch the snow fall out my window at home today, I am still glowing over the trip yesterday to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park at the New Jersey shore. My friend and colleague Laura and I had been plotting to hit the coast for a look at shorebirds, and when both of us hadContinue reading “Birding down the shore at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park”

In praise of the not-quite-so-early birder

Most of my morning birding walks are at dawn or even slightly ahead of it, typically a convergence of my believing the birds are most active when they wake up and my needing to get home and get ready for work. Even on the weekends and especially on Saturdays, I stick to the same earlyContinue reading “In praise of the not-quite-so-early birder”

Heinz wildlife refuge, a special place for birds and birders

With jets taking off and landing next door at Philadelphia Airport, it’s hard to believe the abundance of wildlife at John Heinz National Wildlife. On countless treks to PHL in recent years, I’ve seen the signs for the refuge but was never able to explore it until this past weekend. I arrived mid-morning Saturday atContinue reading “Heinz wildlife refuge, a special place for birds and birders”