Saturday 26 May 2012

Woodbridge tour, Newark, May 2012

It has been a disappointing week’s warbling on this B-t-B. First Newark, where I followed my well trodden path along Gill Lane, past the graveyards and on to Merrill Park, finishing at Roosevelt Park behind Menlo Mall at Google Earth ref; 40 32 59N 74 20 29W. My first port of call was a tiny copse just before the railway bridge on Gill Lane at Google Earth ref; 40 33 39N 74 18 49W. American Robins were easily found with Common Grackles and Northern Cardinals. A ‘witchety witchety witchety’ call alerted me to the presence of a Common Yellowthroat. This one was singing from on high in a dead tree, rather than from a low shaded spot where I more normally find them.

The spare earth area for Mount Lebanon Cemetery, I am sure that all graveyards have them, is further along the road and easily seen at Google Earth ref; 40 33 50N 74 19 15W. This proved to be the most productive spot of the day, as is often the case.
Barn Swallows swooped across the short grass in the unused section of the cemetery, close to the road, and landed at the spare earth tip to collect mud for their nests. A Warbling Vireo called with its distinctive song ending in an urgent, upward inflection. Orchard Oriole and Baltimore Oriole moved from the willow at the southwest to the trees at the northwest corner. They were closely followed by a Scarlet Tanager female. Red-winged Blackbirds scolded from beyond the rank weeds while a small flock of Song Sparrows skipped about in the foreground.

I moved on to a small field with a line of trees on the bank of the little river at Google Earth ref; 40 34 04N 74 19 16W. A Banded Kingfisher flushed from his perch at my approach. A Tropical Parula and a Blackpoll Warbler called from the far bank. I was hoping to find the warblers showing a stronger presence, but the going was a little slow, so I moved on to Merrill Park and followed the path along the top of the bank on Chain ‘o Hills Road. There is a steep, wooded slope here (Google Earth ref; 40 34 34N 74 18 35W) and the path elevates the viewer in relation to the trees, putting the birds closer to eye-level and concentrating them along this stretch, That, at least, was what I was hoping for. At last I found a small wave consisting of a few American Redstarts and Blackpoll Warblers, being harangued by a pair of Carolina Wrens. A Common Yellowthroat sang from its more accustomed place, in the damp and dark. The photo below was lavishly over-exposed to get the shot.

Retracing my steps back past the end of Gill lane, I continued on to a small patch of woodland with a swampy heart at Google Earth ref; 40 33 25N 74 20 18W. A Green Heron and a Great Blue Heron were finding rich pickings in the choked water.

I finished the morning at Google Ref; 40 32 59N 74 20 29W, more commonly known as, Roosevelt Park, a leafy, well maintained public park with very little understorey. More Warbling Vireos were seen along with a Red-eyed Vireo sporting its obvious eye-stripe. The day was turning hot now and the birds were playing hard to get with only the Barn Swallows showing any real sign of activity.

In case you have noticed the extensive use of Google Earth co-ordinates, you will be pleased to know that there is a good reason. I have recently been using eBird more frequently and noticed that there is a big blank patch around the Iselin area as though no birds had ever been seen within a mile of the Woodbridge mall. Therefore, I have made a number of little lists that can now be seen at the flagged markers.
Birds seen; 44
Canada Goose 12, Mallard 8, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 1, Snowy Egret 1, Green Heron 1, Turkey Vulture 1, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Kildeer 1, Mourning Dove 25, Belted Kingfisher 2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 2, Downy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 1, Eastern Phoebe 1, Warbling Vireo 1, Red-eyed Vireo 1, Blue Jay 40, American Crow 4, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2, Barn Swallow 15, Tufted Titmouse 5, Carolina Wren 3, Swainson’s Thrush 3, American Robin 150, Grey Catbird 6, Northern Mockingbird 4, European Starling 60, Northern Waterthrush 1, Common Yellowthroat 3, American Redstart 4, Northern Parula 2, Blackpoll Warbler 6, Chipping Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 12, Scarlet Tanager 1, Northern Cardinal 10, Red-0winged Blackbird 10, Common Grackle 200, Brown-headed Cowbird 1, Orchard Oriole 1, Baltimore Oriole 2, American Goldfinch 3, House Sparrow 40.
 More posts from the area can be found at the links below;

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