The Big Sit! 2012 Statistics

These statistics reflect information submitted by reporting circles. As teams continue to report their Big Sit! results, the statistics on this page will change to reflect up-to-the-minute information.

Team Information: Aimophila Adventures

Captain: Rick Wright
Location: South Amboy, New Jersey (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Snow Goose Chen caerulescens
  2. Canada Goose Branta canadensis
  3. Brant Branta bernicla
  4. Wood Duck Aix sponsa
  5. American Black Duck Anas rubripes
  6. Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
  7. Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  8. Greater Scaup Aythya marila
  9. Black Scoter Melanitta americana
  10. Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata
  11. Osprey Pandion haliaetus
  12. Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  13. Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
  14. Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
  15. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  16. Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
  17. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  18. Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  19. Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
  20. Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
  21. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia
  22. Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
  23. Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  24. Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
  25. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  26. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  27. Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
  28. Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
  29. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
  30. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  31. American Pipit Anthus rubescens
  32. Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
  33. Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
  34. Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
  35. Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
  36. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  37. Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
  38. Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
  39. Pine Siskin Spinus pinus
  40. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
  41. Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
  42. Great Egret Ardea alba
  43. Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
  44. Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

Team Notes

Participants: Rick Wright, Patrick Belardo, Anthony nn, John Beetham, Alex Bernzweig

Weather: 39 to 55 F. Clear, calm in morning, breezy in afternoon.

Location: Morgan Avenue Mudflats below Cliff Avenue, South Amboy, Middlesex Co., New Jersey

Time At Location: 8:10 am to 3:00 pm

Notes:
Ten species of waterfowl including Snow Goose and Surf and Black Scoters. Eight Bald Eagles, four Forster's Terns. Eleven American Pipits and thirty Pine Siskins. Misses: too many to mention!

Anecdotes:
This was our first Big Sit at the Morgan Mudflats, held to benefit the Montclair Bird Club and its programs. As always, the great challenge was placing the circle in such a way that we could take advantage of all the habitats: beach, salt marsh, open bay, and woodland edge. And as always, it was impossible to find a site that let us observe all of those habitats equally well. My original choice, backed up against the trees and with a clear view to the mouth of Morgan Creek, turned out to be the site of a new informal residential development; I don't know whether anyone was at home in the shacks, but I decided not to test their hospitality, and moved the circle some yards up the beach towards the marsh. The move likely cost as us a few passerines--no palm warbler, no common yellowthroat--but probably affected us not at all otherwise. By far the most conspicuous birds were Atlantic brant, a few hundred of which grumbled and growled on the shore most of the day. The only other common waterfowl species was green-winged teal; flocks were dropping in and dropping out continually, appearing to attract smaller gangs of other waterfowl, among them greater scaup, northern pintail, wood duck, and surf and a surprise black scoter. Scanning farther offshore was frustrating: the cold air and still warm water made for phenomenal heat waves, and the only "seabirds" we could pick out were Forster's terns. Overhead a few hawks were moving south. We missed turkey vulture, but ospreys were rarely out of sight, and Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks had to work hard to outnumber bald eagles. Scoping distant raptors turned up two flocks of tree swallows, not especially late but not always easy to find in northern New Jersey in October. Small waves of myrtle warblers paused every few minutes in the ailanthus trees that made up our only nearby "forest." An early flock of about 30 pine siskins made itself quickly scarce, but a few stopped in later in the day to feed with American goldfinches from the phragmites and beach goldenrod. Perhaps the most exciting passerine of the day was American pipit. A flock of eleven arrived early in the day to feed on the beach; this is not an uncommon or an unexpected species at this season in that habitat, but it's always a special pleasure to watch the sturdy little birds from the Arctic picking their way through the rubble. Not long now until they're joined by snow buntings. Our day's total of 44 species was a bit less than hoped, a bit more than expected, and inspiration enough to repeat the exercise in 2013. - Rick Wright, [email protected]


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