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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Steve Kacir

March 15, 2008
Photography Field Trip to Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey

Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Steve Kacir (leader)
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Joe Delesantro.
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Colin Campbell.
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Marcy Cunkelman
Click Here for an additonal page of pictures taken on this trip by Marcy Cunkelman
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Jamie Stewart (external link)
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Beth Hunter
Click Here for pictures taken on this trip by Cindy Ahern

By the time we arrived at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, the rain had let up and our perpetually rescheduled trip looked like it would have decent conditions for photography. Conditions weren’t perfect; it was windy and cloudy. Nevertheless, we were optimistic and looking forward to taking some photos. Beth Hunter and Jamie Stewart phoned that they were running a little late and would meet us at the jetty, so Joe Delesantro, Chris Seiz and I headed to the causeway area of the jetty. There, we waited on Colin Campbell by photographing the nearby Double-crested Cormorant, Brant, Dunlins and Herring Gulls. Incidentally, the Herring Gulls were looking quite dapper in their new breeding plumage. A Harbor Seal chose this moment to put in a brief appearance.

Once Colin had caught up with us, we headed toward the end of the causeway, stopping regularly to take close-ups of the shorebirds feeding on the rocks, including a Dunlin that was performing a walking on water routine. At the end of the causeway, Beth and Jamie found the rest of us, and we started making our way up the jetty. Maybe a quarter of the way out, we found our first group of Harlequin Ducks and began to take photos with abandon. Eventually the Harlequins tired of our attention and flew towards the lighthouse, landing near a couple of birders that had wanted to see them but hadn’t wanted to walk too far up the jetty. A pair of American Oystercatchers on the jetty provided our next photographic opportunity.

After the oystercatchers moved on, we turned our attention back to the Harlequin Ducks. Meanwhile, staging Long-tailed Ducks drew our attention, but were slightly out of reach. Similarly, a breeding-plumaged Common Loon and Red-breasted Mergansers in the middle of the inlet were nice to see, but too far away to photograph effectively. Similarly, we had an excellent Northern Gannet show, but they were far too distant for quality photography. In contrast, a basic-plumaged Common Loon caught and ate a crab, and was very cooperative in terms of how close it was to the jetty.

As we neared the end of the jetty, we noted a female eider on the water. Most of us thought it was probably a King Eider, and Chris and I braved the very slippery rocks to reach the end of the jetty in hopes of getting closer to the eider. By the time we stopped photographing the eider, I was reasonably certain that it was a King Eider. Looking at the photos on the computer later on, confirmed that it was a King Eider. Greater Cormorants on the tower largely ignored us, but I took a distant photo of them just to do it.

As we walked back on the jetty, Joe found some insanely close shorebirds including Purple Sandpipers and Dunlin, which we simply had to photograph before moving on. Next we wanted to hit the dunes to look for Snow Buntings, but we got distracted by some close Long-tailed Ducks and then a closer breeding-plumaged Common Loon. Finally, we made our way to the dunes, but we only flushed Savannah Sparrows and Wilson’s Snipes, which didn’t stay long enough for photos. Our last stop was the holly woods, where Cedar Waxwings and American Robins were feeding on the abundant berries. A few Yellow-rumped Warblers posed briefly, providing the final photo ops for our trip. Everyone had a great time, and we all have some great photos to share. We had such a great time, that I talked myself into doing even more photography trips next year.