Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Newark, Woodbridge

Regulars to this blog may recognise the cycle route around Woodbridge, New Jersey. From the Renaissance (nee Sheraton) Hotel at Woodbridge, turn into Gill Lane and freewheel down to the bottom of the hill. Here, you will recall, is a railway line with a trail running alongside. The trail and the surrounding trees have been recently mascerated, so while access is good, all the ground cover and leaf cover have gone.
Still, the few remaining fruiting trees and shrubs were pulling in the birds. American Robins and Grey Catbirds were feeding from the berries and were joined by a Red-bellied Woodpecker, acrobatically picking fruit from the highest clusters. Northern Cardinals and Song Sparrows, Mourning Dove, Blue Jays, American Goldfinches and a Northern House Wren, made this quite a hotspot.Beyond the railway line is a large Jewish cemetery on both sides of the road. American Robins and Starlings were abundant on the lawns. At the far side is an area where earth is dumped. Being a graveyard, the area is regularly topped up with loose soil and has developed a covering of rank vegetation, weeds and thistles.This was another hotspot with Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, Grey Catbird, House Wren, American Redstart and Warbling Vireo.It was only 09.30, but the first dragonfly of the morning was already on the wing.
My next stop was Merrill Park, South. It was just a short ride away.
I made my way along the stream that runs through the park and noticed a pair of Belted Kingfisher and later, a forlorn looking chick. A Red-tailed Hawk flew over and spooked the kingfishers. It circled, gaining height, then dove down in a stoop, pulling up just before the tree line.The sun was high, the day was hot and the dragonflies were zipping back and forth above the stream. Most of the rest of the day was spent “oding” (if there is such a word). For those of you who wrote in urging me to “stick to the birds”, here are some pictures especially for you.A Green Heron, perched on a stake in the lake at Menlo Park, looked as if it was just about to lunge for a fish. Note the damselfly in the bottom right corner of the picture. Now note the damselfly in the Green Heron. So after the coot in LA last week, the score stands at Birds 2 – Odonata 0.If you prefer to see pictures of live dragonflies, go to http://www.redgannetsdragonflies.blogspot.com/ for some hot New Jersey odonata action.I would be interested to know if any of you notice a reduction in the resolution for these pictures. I had reduced the resolution to take a picture to upload to e-bay and forgotten to adjust the setting back to the thumping 6mp that you are more used to.

Bird Species list 25
Double Crested Cormorant 1, Green Heron 2, Mallard 15, Canada Goose 100, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Mourning Dove 20, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2, Belted Kingfisher 3, Downy Woodpecker2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 4, Warbling Vireo 1, Blue Jay 15, Northern House Wren 3, American Robin 200, Grey Catbird 12, Northern Mockingbird 2, Starling 150, American Redstart 3, Common Yellowthroat 2, Northern Cardinal 8, Song Sparrow 4, Brown-headed Cowbird 12, Common Grackle 30, House Finch 4, American Goldfinch 25.