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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Sandra Keller

November 22, 2008
Edwin Forsythe NWR at Brigantine, New Jersey

Our trip to Forsythe NWR on 11-22-08 for young and old newer birders had the misfortune of bad weather. And yes, 25 degrees and 25 mph winds are bad weather even though it was nice and sunny!
We managed and did what we could. We were fortunate to have the use of a school van from Win and a couple of his students. Made a great windbreak! 12 of us headed out onto the dikes to see what we could spot.

All the normal species of waterfowl were around the east end of Forsythe. The west end was frozen with all the cold weather we've been having. MALLARDS, BLACK DUCKS, PINTAILS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, WOOD DUCKS, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, BUFFLEHEAD, HOODED MERGANSERS, and RUDDY DUCKS were all very cooperative as waterfowl usually is and allowed for good scope views even under those windy conditions. We never stayed outside the vehicles for long. Forsythe is a good spot to bird in bad weather, and hopefully for next year's trip I will have some two-way radios for better communication.
Hopefully next year's trip will have better weather also!

Passerines were around the dikes as usual, but almost impossible to get onto except in flight. They would dive back down to the ground and stay low escaping the wind. 1 SNOW BUNTING, SAVANNAH and SONG SPARROWS were seen in flight. Once we were off the dikes and out of the wind somewhat we did encounter some more passerines that were much more cooperative. HERMIT THRUSHES, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 1 EASTERN TOWHEE, a few CHIPPING SPARROWS, and many ROBINS were just some of the highlights. The passerines were a bit harder to get onto but they were so busy feeding on Red Cedar berries and vine berries that they weren't moving around too much.

After our break, we decided not to go around the dikes again because of the winds which were actually getting stronger. Sea Isle City was agreed upon. It worked out nicely as our backs were to the wind as we looked east, the ocean was calm as it usually is on NW winds - even strong winds, and the seaducks were in close as they have been for the past 2 weeks, so even these birds provided scope views for all the participants. We picked up both KING and COMMON EIDERS, all three SCOTERS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, and LONG-TAILED DUCKS to round out our duck list. The hands-down participant favorite was the LONG-TAILED DUCK.

We ended up with 73 species for the day. An impressive total considering the weather. Most of the participants saw at least a few lifebirds and all of us enjoyed studies in plumage, structure, feeding actions, and habitats.