Monday Morning Blues

Alex LamoreauxBirding, General News and Info, Photography, Trip ReportsLeave a Comment

My friend Mark Mizak found a kayak that he wanted to buy online, but it was in New Jersey. Mark is heading south to Florida for the rest of the winter before heading back to Montana to work as a wildlands fire-fighter. He offered to take Josh Lefever and I along to get his new boat on a day-trip to the coast, and get in some quick birding around the area. Barnegat Inlet was less than a half hour from where we picked up the kayak, and is always a must-stop birding hotspot during the winter months. We arrived at the parking area at Barnegat Inlet State Park at 1:15pm and spent the next 2 hours exploring the scrubs, trees, jetty, and beach for birds. During that time, we found 40 species including 2 King Eiders, 25 Common Eiders, 1 Harlequin Duck (usually there are many more), all three scoters and most other sea ducks, Red-throated Loon, 10 Great Cormorants, 6 Purple Sandpiper as well as Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, and Dunlin, thousands of gulls, Peregrine Falcons, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Boat-tailed Grackles (eBird checklist). It was windy and cold, for sure, but the sun was shining, birds were active, and the ocean was a beautiful Monday morning blue. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our stop at the inlet…

This cheery Hermit Thrush welcomed us to the park, hopping around on the ground and fence near the parking lot. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

This cheery Hermit Thrush welcomed us to the park, hopping around on the ground and fence near the parking lot. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 20 Yellow-rumped Warblers near the entrance to the jetty. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 20 Yellow-rumped Warblers near the entrance to the jetty. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Downy Woodpecker minding its own business. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Downy Woodpecker minding its own business. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Gray Catbird peaking over its shoulder at me. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Gray Catbird peaking over its shoulder at me. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Although this Great Black-backed Gull might look cute, they are ruthless killers. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Although this Great Black-backed Gull might look handsome, they are ruthless killers. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 2000 Herring Gulls we saw around the inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 2000 Herring Gulls we saw around the inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

The bird that made Barnegat Inlet famous - a male Harlequin Duck (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

The bird that made Barnegat Inlet famous – a male Harlequin Duck (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Harlequin Duck stretching (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Harlequin Duck stretching (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Beautiful in a messy sort of way, a few immature male Long-tailed Ducks were floating along the jetty. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Beautiful in a messy sort of way, a few immature male Long-tailed Ducks were floating along the jetty. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

...and female Long-tailed Ducks were there as well (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

…and female Long-tailed Ducks were there as well (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Red-breasted Mergansers like this male are common at the inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Red-breasted Mergansers like this male are common at the inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sleeping female Red-breasted Merganser (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sleeping female Red-breasted Merganser (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Female Greater Scaup relaxing (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Female Greater Scaup relaxing (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Both the King and Common Eiders stayed out of photo-range, until the female King Eider flew past us and then went out towards the tip of the jetty to forage alone (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Both the King and Common Eiders stayed out of photo-range, until the female King Eider flew past us and then went out towards the tip of the jetty to forage alone (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 50 Common Loons (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of at least 50 Common Loons (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

The Red-throated Loon is much less common, but still easy to find at Barnegat Inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

The Red-throated Loon is much less common, but still easy to find at Barnegat Inlet (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Barnegat usually comes through with a nice Peregrine show, and on Monday we had this adult male Peregrine Falcon flying along the jetty (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Barnegat usually comes through with a nice Peregrine show, and on Monday we had this adult male Peregrine Falcon flying along the jetty (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

An immature Northern Harrier displaced by the falcon (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

An immature Northern Harrier displaced by the falcon (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)