Morning birds

Spent a couple hours birding this morning. Here’s my list:

White-throated sparrow, sandhill crane, song sparrow, harris’ sparrow, american robin, brewer’s blackbird, white-crowned sparrow, red-winged blackbird, American kestrel, savannah sparrow, brown-headed cowbird, unknown flycatcher, clay-colored sparrow, tree swallow, blue jay, yellow-rumped warbler, palm warbler, Swainson’s thrush, rose-breasted grosbeak, grey catbird, ring-necked pheasant, black-and-white warbler, American goldfinch, red-bellied woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, solitary vireo, solitary sandpiper, yellow warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, hooded merganser, canada goose, barn swallow, common yellowthroat, eastern phoebe, baltimore oriole, wood thrush, sora, yellow-shafted flicker, chipping sparrow, mourning dove.

Forty birds. Not bad. Could easily be 50 with a few more easy ones.

The best surprises were the solitary vireo and the sora. I’ve heard soras many times but have only seen them a few. This one was walking and swimming in a flooded marsh by the township road, and I was really close and got a great look through the binoculars.

The other surprise was not a bird. I was in the woods by the river when I saw a rock in a flooded area, or what looked like a rock, but not quite like a rock. Too regularly shaped, probably, about 14 inches by 10 inches, oval. So I trained the binoculars on it and noticed an interesting pattern on the rock, and sticking out from the front was a snout, and slits for eyes, and a heavy paw with long curved claws, and out the back was a dinosaur tail. It was perfectly still, and I wondered if it might be dead, but when Lucy approached, it moved ever so slowly backwards about an inch.

I’ve seen a lot of snappers, but always on dry land when they’re laying eggs or crossing roads. It was fun to see one up close in its natural habitat.

Update: A few more as I canoed from Bogus Brook Town Hall to Princeton: eastern bluebird, mallard, wood duck, blue-winged teal, American crow, red-tailed hawk, belted kingfisher, white-breasted nuthatch, unknown accipiter (Cooper’s or sharp-shinned), cliff swallow, unknown swallow (bank or rough-winged).

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