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Birds of Belleplain State Forest – April 15, 2021

Leaders: Bert Hixon, Shaun Bamford, Lynn Pollard

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The first-in-two years Birds of Belleplain State Forest took place in mildly inclement weather and a steady drizzle. The event began in the headquarters parking lot with point-blank, eye-level views of a gloriously fresh-plumaged male Yellow-throated Warbler, a breeding specialty of this established conifer forest. This bird strafed the group with several low-passes!

Participants were also treated to the sight of six American Kestrels at the Sumner Avenue spray fields, with an additional pair working a nest box at nearby Polestar Farm. Additional sightings at the spray fields include a flyover immature Bald Eagle, 5 Horned Larks in the corn field stubble and an amazing 8 Eastern Meadowlarks. These were possibly staging migrants, but the area is well-known for breeding pairs of meadowlarks.

The gloomy weather suppressed bird song but a modest and brief chorus was observed at Belleplain SF’s famous Triangle. A lone Hooded Warbler was heard in addition to Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-eating, Pine and Yellow-throated Warblers. Eastern Towhees and a White-eyed Vireo chimed in as well.

49 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  4

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  2

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  4

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  16

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)  38

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  7

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)  4

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  7

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  3

White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)  1

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  12

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  1

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)  2

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  7

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  12

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)  5

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  4

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  5

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  2

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  1

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)  2

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)  3

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)  1

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  3

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  12

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  4

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  6

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)  3

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)  8    Sumner Avenue Spray Fields, historic breeding location and possible staging migrants, observed by most in group

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  2

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  12

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  1

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)  2

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum)  3

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)  2

Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)  1

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)  5

Yellow-throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica)  7

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  2

New Jersey Audubon