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Annual Bird Walk a Soaring Success

Annual Bird Walk a Soaring Success

May 3rd, 2014 Annual Spring Bird Walk

Presented with as glorious a morning as we could wish for, 16 hearty and early birdwatchers joined leader, Steve Sobocinski, for our annual Spring bird walk at Taylor River Side Farm on Saturday morning May 3, 2014.

Steve was recommended to us by our friend Tom Bailey, who has led our walks many times in the past but couldn’t make it this year. For a little background on our trip leader, Steve has provided the following:

“I was born and raised in Somerset County, attended Rutgers College and Rutgers Law, and am an attorney for Selective Insurance Company of America in Mount Laurel, NJ. I moved down to Burlington County nearly twenty years ago and I have been birding for 35 years (since age 10). My favorite area to bird is any spot in Burlington County, with Taylor’s being one of my prime areas, especially in the winter months. I am generally out in the field every weekend, usually in Burlington County, in all months of the year. I am married and have two teenagers, and have been a member of the Evesham Environmental Commission since 1998.”

The riverbank had overflowed with the high tide of early Thursday morning, May 1. The narrow lane was flooded and some trails were quite soggy. So the walk proceeded counter-clockwise around the preserve trail from the vegetable stand, past the front meadow, onto the riverbank trail with a stop at Tom Bujak’s bridge/bench, back behind the wetlands, across the front gardens and up the wide lane.

Steve’s great skill in identifying the birds by song was an asset from the beginning. When he heard a bird of interest we’d stop to find it. Others spotted birds likely passing through. An early sighting of a migrant was a Black and White Warbler in a tree near the white barn –most likely on its way to the Adirondacks, Orioles had just arrived since the storm in mid-week and both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles were brilliant in the morning sun.

On the new river marker a half mile or so down river is an Osprey nest; a pair of Osprey were sitting atop the nest. The Osprey have been around for a number of weeks finding fish in the river. They’ve returned to our part of the river in the last several years after an absence of a number of years. Our comments included wondering whether the presence of the Osprey would make a difference to the Eagles and drive them elsewhere.

Walkers flushed a Woodcock near the marker for Hal Taylor. On the back trail, evident above head height, was a tree branch fork with a mud nest of a Blue Gray Gnatcatcher. We saw the nest and then watched as the Gnatcatcher went right in, out, and in again.

As we continued around the trail towards the beaver lodge, Roy Seneca somehow spotted a Louisiana Waterthrush barely visible in a ponded area near the berm. It took several minutes of strenuous looking for some of us to see it. Also noted along the trail were Eastern Towhee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black Throated Green Warbler, and a Green Heron. Further along, near the Pine tree grove at the end of the gardens, a Coopers Hawk flew overhead carrying some prey in it’s talons.

We ended the walk over by the horse pasture, where the Turkeys were congregating (as usual), and Steve noted a Solitary Sandpiper as well. As people were walking towards their cars, Susan Zickler and Cheryl Joluza noticed two large indistinct birds over the swamp, and watched in wonder as they became visible as Bald Eagles, possibly displaying mating behavior as they locked their talons for a short time and swirled in the air together. What a wonderful ending to a very enjoyable walk!!!

BIRDS SIGHTED:

Fish crow

Rusty Blackbird

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Yellow Warbler

Warbling Vireo

Turkey

Canada Goose

Robin

White Throated Sparrow

Laughing Gull

Wood Duck

Red Winged Blackbird

Tree Swallow

Catbird

Double Crested Cormorant

Baltimore Oriole

Redstart

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Great Blue Heron

Cowbird

Song Sparrow

Northern Waterthrush

Cardinal

Woodcock

Osprey pair

Bank Swallow

Spotted Sandpiper

Great Crested Flycatcher

Yellowthroat

Downy Woodpecker

Red eyed Vireo

Yellow Rumped Warbler

White Eyed Vireo

Magnolia Warbler

Orchard Oriole

Eastern Towhee

Coopers Hawk with prey

Kingbird

Black Throated Green Warbler

House Wren

Goldfinch

Swamp Sparrow

Green Heron

Solitary Sandpiper

House Sparrow

Eagle

PARTICIPANTS:

  1. Steve Sobocinski, leader
  2. Mike Zickler
  3. Don Jones
  4. Al Driscoll
  5. Suzanne Day
  6. Roy Seneca
  7. John Vassallo
  8. Lee Colley
  9. Bennett Landsman
  10. Kathleen Colley
  11. Vincent Lewonski
  12. Carolyn Bujak
  13. Susan Zickler
  14. Stephanie Judson
  15. Peter Taylor
  16. Cheryl Joloza
  17. Sandy Rea
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