Brigantine and Barnegat Light

February 18th, 2011

Blake Mathys

I traveled to Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR with Stockton College's Ornithology course. The instructor, Jack Connor, invited me to come along, and I enjoyed getting out to see some birds with the class. We didn't find anything rare, but enjoyed seeing the many waterfowl species, Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, and a smattering of other winter species.

Pictures from Brigantine:

Male Eastern Bluebird

Adult Bald Eagle

Male Northern Pintail

After our time at Brigantine, I traveled up to Barnegat Light, accompanied for part of the time by Kyle Rossner, the teaching assistant for the Ornithology course. Waterfowl were easily observed and often close to the jetty, providing good views in the afternoon light. I stayed at the end of the jetty for about three hours. I have found that sitting down at the end encourages birds to come rather close, something confirmed on this trip with nearby Great Cormorants feeding, eiders and scoters swimming and flying past, and an amazing interaction with Purple Sandpipers, recorded in the video shown below.


Common Eiders ~40

All three scoters - mostly Surf Scoter

A few Northern Gannets offshore

Dunlin - 3

Ruddy Turnstone - 1

Both loons

Greater Scaup

Harlequin Ducks

Oldsquaw - many

Harbor Seal - 1 or 2

Pictures from Barnegat Light:

Greater Scaup

Great Cormorants

Drake and hen Common Eiders

Surf Scoter and Common Eider

Flock of sea ducks close off the end of the jetty

Purple Sandpiper

Flock of Purple Sandpipers circling the end of the jetty, unaware of my presence (see video below)

Videos - best to turn your sound down a bit for the Purple Sandpiper video

On my way south, I observed this quite obliging Cooper's Hawk perched on a wire beside the road. It sat there until I drove away, a nice end to the day.