New Jersey Birding

January 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

As the calendar rolls to 2015, it brings another "reset" to my annual bird photography count. After being inspired by the motion picture titled "The Big Year", I was motivated to participate in the contest according to my own rules and guidelines. Instead of counting birds seen and/or heard during a single calendar year, as a photographer, my goal was to create a collection of unique bird photographs. Only competing against myself, I snapped a total of 38 birds in 2013 (partial year, started around Easter), 99 birds in 2014 for a grand total of 106 unique bird photographs taken mostly in or near New Jersey.

Granted, these numbers are far from impressive against the expert birders that actually complete a Big Year, but for me they represent how much I have learned in the past few years through my photographs. As a novice birder, identification is much more difficult than it looks. I learned this lesson early in my personal "big year" when I mistook a Hooded Merganser for a Bufflehead. Both are ducks but the resemblance stops there :) and I uncovered my mistake after eagerly downloading my photo! The Hooded Merganser is now one of my favorite birds and very easy for me to recognize.

As I look forward to another year of SCUBA and another year of bird photography (yes sometimes I get to combine these activities!), I have set some personal goals for myself. I want to learn more songs and calls, figure out which sparrows come to my backyard feeders and find my first owl (I hear the snowy's are back this winter - wouldn't that be exciting to see)...and maybe crack the 3-digit count for a single year.

To celebrate the new year, I cruised by Lake of the Lillies in Point Pleasant Beach (NJ) and was not disappointed. This lake is a block from the beach and boardwalk and is a gem for birding. No "life" birds for me today but I was able to capture some unique photos on a beautiful but windy day. Started the year with 7 photographs including a pair of Hooded Mergansers with crests blowing in the gusts of wind...photograph taken but not needed to identify these birds today. 

Hooded Merganser (Pair)Hooded Merganser (Pair)Lake of the Lillies, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
New Year's Day 2015

Honorable mention also goes to a pack of Northern Shovelers skimming the surface of the pond looking for food.

Northern Shoveler (pair)Northern Shoveler (pair)Lake of the Lillies, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
New Year's Day 2015

A cute pair of American Coots look for food on the bank of the pond, unbothered by the "tail-wind".

American CootAmerican CootLake of the Lillies, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
New Year's Day 2015

And a quick pass by the Manasquan Inlet on my way home rewarded me with a Herring Gull munching on a starfish for breakfast. 

 

 

Herring GullHerring Gull

Other photos taken but not displayed here include Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose and Great Egret.


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