Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Our Day on the Beach

Barnegat Light (Margo D. Beller)
One of the advantages of being semi-retired is being able to travel someplace on a nice weekday when most others are at work. So last Wednesday MH and I traveled to Barnegat Lighthouse, at the northern end of New Jersey's Long Beach Island.

Rock jetty toward harbor light with the cormorant. (Margo D. Beller)
It is a very long drive for us, which is why we come down here only once a year in the winter offseason to find sea ducks and, with luck, some of the land birds that like the dunes such as horned larks, Ipswich sparrows and snow buntings. While we've seen all three in the past we did not see them this time.

Nor did we see the lovely harlequin ducks, to my mind one of the prettiest ducks in this part of the country, although others told us they were in the channel in good numbers. But to see them we'd have had to climb atop the rock jetty, which is uneven and dangerous, as I found out years ago. MH and I have gotten unsteady as we've gotten older.

Instead, we saw what we could from the paved seawall and then walked down to the beach and out as far as we could in the wind. Back home it was nearly 80 degrees this February day but here it felt much cooler and I was glad to be wearing gloves.

Purple Sandpipers (Margo D. Beller)

While I did not see the harlequins, there was compensation. This picture above is of purple sandpipers that decided, for some reason, to fly from where they were on the rock jetty into the air where I could see them from the beach and quickly take their picture. There was the great cormorant, a winter visitor, showing its distinctive white side patch as it perched on a harbor light.

Harbor seal (Margo D. Beller)

There was the harbor seal that bobbed up for a moment before diving. There were those birds I expected: long-tailed ducks, red-breasted mergansers, black scoters, myrtle warblers in the trees next to the parking lot.

Finally, as we were leaving for our car, there were boat-tailed grackles serenading us as the sun dipped to the western horizon. It was a good day and since then we've had nothing but cold rain, making us glad we could go when we did.

Male boat-tails are dark, females are brown (Margo D. Beller)

No comments:

Post a Comment