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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Steve Kacir

April 28, 2007
Photography Field Trip to Belleplain and the Bayshore, New Jersey

Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Steve Kacir.
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Jeff Holmes.
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Joe Delesantro.
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Colin Campbell.

The morning of 28 April 2007 found Colin Campbell, Alison Ellicott, Jeff Holmes, Larry Kimble, John Mercer and myself at the parking lot of the Wawa at Routes 47 and 347. I think all of us had already enjoyed seeing a pair of Wild Turkeys by the side of Route 55 on our way in. A quick carpooling maneuver and we soon found ourselves entering Belleplain. A small migrant flock was our first delight including Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-and-white Warbler, and Pine Warbler, but the birds were high and backlit so we continued on our way towards The Triangle. Ovenbirds, Pine Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Worm-eating Warblers sang on our way in and a timely phone call by Joe Delesantro alerted us to the presence of a Prothonotary Warbler at the bridge, so we made our way to The Triangle in a more direct fashion. We arrived in time to miss the Prothonotary but we decided to canvass the area for birds to photograph while waiting for the Prothonotary to return. A pair of Wood Ducks was hiding in a tree over the stream. A female Pine Warbler accommodated me with an almost too close approach. A pair of Eastern Phoebes chased each other around the stream area, and Hooded Warblers serenaded us from the woods. Our first photography project was attempting to photograph a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers engaged in nest construction. Then we photographed a territorial male Hooded Warbler. White-eyed Vireos sang all around us and some of us managed a few quick shots of a close-approaching but very fast Blue-gray Gnatcatcher foraging at the side of the road. Moving to the second bridge, we still found no Louisiana Waterthrushes in attendance; although, Yellow-throated Warblers sang in the distance. On a fellow DVOCer’s advice (sorry Bill, I forgot your last name), we made a brief trip out near the intersection of Route 548 and Route 49. There we managed to find a territorial male Prothonotary Warbler that everyone enjoyed photographing. This bird truly was the star of the show, and seemed as aware of it as we were.

Abandoning the Pine Barrens in hope of a little more light at the Bayshore, we made our way to Bivalve. On the way we stopped to listen to Prairie Warblers, as well as a Northern Parula and a Black-throated Blue Warbler along Mauricetown Road, but the Wild Turkeys that initially drew our attention escaped without being photographed. After a quick trip through Port Norris, we wound up listening to Seaside Sparrow, Clapper Rail and both species of yellowlegs. At the same time we had excellent opportunities to photograph Great and Snowy Egrets, both yellowlegs, Willets, Forster’s Terns, Herring Gulls, Dunlins and Short-billed Dowitchers. A second year Bald Eagle flew overhead, and Ospreys were in attendance as well. Small groups of Least Sandpipers flew overhead on occasion. Our next stop was a brief overview of Heislerville WMA, where we found Black Skimmers, Glossy Ibises, Black-crowned Night-herons, more Least Sandpipers, Red-breasted Mergansers and Black-bellied Plovers. Lighting wasn’t the best and we were hoping for some Clapper Rails foraging at low tide, so we moved on to Thompson’s Beach. While the Clapper Rails here were visible, they were a little too distant for optimal photography. Alison watched a pair of Ospreys build their nest, but the birds clearly did not want their antics captured on film. Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows, a Glossy Ibis and Laughing Gulls provided flight photography opportunities, while some closer shorebirds also produced some nice photographs. By now our group had shrunk to a foursome, but Colin, Alison, John and I returned to Heislerville for a closer look at the impoundment’s birds. Photographing flying Black Skimmers was a real treat, and John and I had good looks at my first Semipalmated Sandpipers for the year. A compulsive search through the ibises found no White-faced Ibises, but we did have an adult Bald Eagle fly overhead. At the deeper impoundments we enjoyed seeing Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Double-crested Cormorants. On our way out we watched some playful Blue Jays and a secretive Brown Thrasher, and maybe not surprisingly three Bristleheads: Rob Hynson, Mike McGraw, and Tony Croasdale scouting for the World Series of Birding. We exchanged some information, more of it pertaining to navigating the Heislerville area than birding. Afterwards, John Mercer and I returned to Belleplain for a little more birding, but the birding was more notable for what we didn’t see: no Louisiana Waterthrushes nor Prothonotary Warblers put in appearances for us. All in all, we had an excellent day with 90 species of birds and some great photography experiences as well.

Birds
1 Double-crested Cormorant
2 Great Blue Heron
3 Great Egret
4 Snowy Egret
5 Black-crowned Night-heron
6 Glossy Ibis
7 Mute Swan
8 Canada Goose
9 Wood Duck
10 Mallard
11 American Black Duck
12 American Wigeon
13 Gadwall
14 Blue-winged Teal
15 Green-winged Teal
16 Red-breasted Merganser
17 Ruddy Duck
18 Turkey Vulture
19 Black Vulture
20 Northern Harrier
21 Red-tailed Hawk
22 Bald Eagle
23 Osprey
24 Wild Turkey
25 Clapper Rail
26 Killdeer
27 Black-bellied Plover
28 Greater Yellowlegs
29 Lesser Yellowlegs
30 Willet
31 Dunlin
32 Semipalmated Sandpiper
33 Least Sandpiper
34 Short-billed Dowitcher
35 Bonaparte's Gull
36 Laughing Gull
37 Ring-billed Gull
38 Herring Gull
39 Great Black-backed Gull
40 Forster's Tern
41 Black Skimmer
42 Mourning Dove
43 Rock Pigeon
44 Belted Kingfisher
45 Northern Flicker
46 Red-bellied Woodpecker
47 Downy Woodpecker
48 Eastern Phoebe
49 Great Crested Flycatcher
50 Blue-headed Vireo
51 White-eyed Vireo
52 Red-eyed Vireo
53 Blue Jay
54 American Crow
55 Fish Crow
56 Purple Martin
57 Tree Swallow
58 Barn Swallow
59 Tufted Titmouse
60 Carolina Chickadee
61 Carolina Wren
62 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
63 American Robin
64 Wood Thrush
65 Hermit Thrush
66 Brown Thrasher
67 European Starling
68 Northern Parula
69 Black-throated Blue Warbler
70 Yellow-rumped Warbler
71 Prairie Warbler
72 Palm Warbler
73 Pine Warbler
74 Yellow-throated Warbler
75 Worm-eating Warbler
76 Prothonotary Warbler
77 Black-and-white Warbler
78 Ovenbird
79 Common Yellowthroat
80 Hooded Warbler
81 Northern Cardinal
82 Eastern Towhee
83 Chipping Sparrow
84 Seaside Sparrow
85 Song Sparrow
86 Swamp Sparrow
87 Brown-headed Cowbird
88 Red-winged Blackbird
89 Common Grackle
90 American Goldfinch

Mammals
1 Little Brown Myotis
2 Eastern Gray Squirrel
3 White-tailed Deer