More Truths

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single town in possession of a good fortune must be in need of a nature center. In Bergen County, where I live, work, and bird, nearly every town appears to have a nature center.  This leaves one with many choices for good birding.

I finally opened my eyes Friday morning.  I was going into work a bit late and could afford to sleep in.  Or I could until I saw the ebird notifications for what had turned up in the last 24 hours.  I bounded out of bed and was out the door within 20 minutes.  No breakfast, just a cup of tea to get me through.

This was me: Clara with her Tea| Doctor Who Tumbr

This was me: Clara with her Tea | Doctor Who Tumbr

Greater Scaup (1 report)
– Solitary Sandpiper (1 report)
– Greater Yellowlegs (2 reports)
– Bonaparte’s Gull (1 report)
– Northern Waterthrush (1 report)
– Savannah Sparrow (1 report)

Many of these were from New York, just across the border, about half a mile from where my folks reside.  I could make it there, get an hour of birding in and still be on time for work, all while getting breakfast at the local deli, to boot!

But it wasn’t to be.

The second truth universally acknowledged is when you want to get somewhere particularly quickly or badly, there will be traffic. Welcome to New Jersey, home of Bridgegate where we invented more traffic because there just wasn’t enough to begin with.

Despite the early hours, there was bad traffic on Rte 46, leading towards the GWB as a result of an accident.  I wasn’t going to make it to the Pier and to work on time.  Thus I began wracking my brain for an alternative.

I decided to go check out Demarest Nature Center of Demarest, NJ, home of the Redheaded Woodpecker. (We hope it’s occupying the tree for the season.)  Driving in, songs were dripping from the abundant greenery.

First stop was to look for the woodpecker, but there was no activity.  I began working my way along the very muddy trails of the center.  I had about 45 minutes there before I had to depart for work.

Surprise, a Louisiana Waterthrush bobs along the flooded pools. Demarest, NJ. Photo taken on May 2, 2014.

Surprise, a Northern Waterthrush bobs along the flooded pools. Demarest, NJ. Photo taken on May 2, 2014.

While there, I did locate Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, and several Yellow-rumped in addition to our resident birds. I also picked up Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Pileated Woodpecker. Plus, I picked up a Northern Waterthursh (edited).  I had been going with Louisiana because the white screamed white.  However, as Lawrence points out, there are stripes along the throat which indicates Northern. The joys of warblers! This waterthrush nicely jumped up on the branches for a photo op..

I saved a few minutes for a scan of the trees when I returned to my car.  And there it was:

Redheaded Woodpecker remains at the Demarest Nature Center near the playground. Demarest, NJ. Photo taken on May 2, 2014.

Redheaded Woodpecker remains at the Demarest Nature Center near the playground. Demarest, NJ. Photo taken on May 2, 2014.

Truth #3 achieved. What ye seek, ye shall find.

5 thoughts on “More Truths

  1. Christ that Woodpecker is gorgeous. I have only seen one, for about a second, in my whole life, and life has been torment ever since.

    Way to make the most of it Kathleen, and by it, I mean living in New Jersey : )
    (nah just kidding y’all have Cape May after all).

    I’m no warbler connoisseur, but my understanding is that LA Waterthrushes have a clean/white throat and chin, whereas the Northern have the streaking from the breast go up the throat. The white supercilium can be a good indicator, but is variable.

    Good luck with everything this week,

    • Thanks – I hadn’t picked up on the throat difference. The differences I’ve heard discussed usually involved behavior, song, and white vs. cream wash. Fortunately I got the photo and ID is now resolved!

      I got an email about the Red-headed Woodpecker from an ebird reviewer in preparation for the big day of big day: the World Series of Birding.

      NJ has good birds. Not as many as Arizona perhaps, but if we work it out by square mile, I think we win for # of birds.

      • For sure, NJ has a rocking birding scene!
        It’s got to be nice to have lots of other active birders too, in lots of areas and diverse habitats, and with other areas/states pretty close.

        Phoenix has its areas, but for really great birding I’ve got to haul it 3 hours southeast, not that I should complain.
        At any rate, great post again, and good luck with the week and weekend’s birding!

  2. Sounds like a great birding trip just before work! And it’s always great to see the bird you seek (it doesn’t always happen, though, but I have noticed that we often see something that will more than compensate the missed occasion).

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