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Goose, Duck, Owl: Welcome January 2021

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Greater White-fronted Goose first record (EVER) for Central Park, 27 December 2020

Deborah Allen

30 December 2020

Bird Notes: Keep an eye on the weather for the weekend: it looks like rain all day Sunday into the evening as we publish this Newsletter. Walk Cancellations are possible...Undaunted we are scheduling two owl walks for Sat/Sun, starting in the late afternoon looking for Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech-owls. Both Owl Walks are in the Bronx at Pel Bay Park (Sat) and Van Cortlandt (Sun). Check the Schedule page of this web site for details, and/or the information below.

We finish up our 1920 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season in this week's Historical Notes. We present (a) all the 1920 CBCs from New Jersey - and there are quite a bunch. What catches our eyes is how many species of birds we now see in winter in NYC are recorded on these NJ counts, but NOT the NYC-LI or Connecticut CBCs for 1920: Northern Flicker, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin and Hermit Thrush to name a few. Others such as Brant and Canada Geese make one or two counts, probably because they had found coastal marshes in the Brigantine area that were large enough so they could avoid hunters. One of the counts below (the Elizabeth NJ, shore Newark Bay to Milburn count) was done by Charles Urner:

In (b), we send a 1922 article about Snowy Owls and other owl species at Elizabeth NJ by a 38 year old Charles Urner. This Urner fellow was quite the lightning rod for birding in NJ in its early years (before 1940). He wrote many scientific papers on the birds of that state, including rare Black Rails, all the while working by day as a publisher of periodicals for the dairy, poultry, and egg trades. This may seem odd, but the firm his grandfather founded in 1858 still exists: the Urner-Barry Company. It publishes daily the premier journal (for Wall Street types) providing accurate and unbiased market information to subscribers. When Charles Urner died in 1938 at the age of 58, someone wrote: "He [Urner] possessed a high zest for life, a friendliness that invariably made him accessible to anyone interested in birds, such a rich sense of humor that it is still impossible to think of him without a feeling of pleasure, an honesty that was uncompromising, and a genius for conviviality. As I have sought for the word that best describes him, I have repeatedly come back to 'generosity.' Those who knew him well for many years never knew him to do or say or think an ungenerous thing."

Snowy Owl at Jones Beach West End (Nassau Co., LI), about a 15 minute walk from the free parking lot. There are three Snowy Owls in the area of West End this winter, and two are easy to find. If you are thinking of going, do so! Just wait for a birder (look for camera and/or binoculars) emerging from the sand dunes and ask for walking directions to the the Snowy Owls. Once you start out, look for a crowd of 10-25 people standing around. A Snowy Owl is nearby...This particular owl is quite OK with people surrounding it. One of us (rdc) was about 110 feet away shooting with a 200-600mm zoom and the Sony A7R4 (handheld).

(below) White-winged Scoter at Jones Beach (LI) on 28 December 2020 by Deborah Allen

Bird Walks for Early January 2021

All Walks @ $10/person

1. OWLS. Saturday, 2 January at 4:00pm for Great Horned Owls. Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. $10. See Details on the Schedule page

Meet at the Parking Lot (free parking) of the Eileen B Ryan Recreational Complex

ADDRESS for GPS: Middletown Rd, The Bronx, NY 10465

Parking Lot (free; safe; open to 9pm but no bathrooms) is located at the intersection of three streets: Middletown Road; Ohm Ave and Watt Ave (the inventor of the battery lived in the area). This is the "southern zone" of Pelham Bay Park not near Orchard Beach at all but just off the north bound New England Thruway.


2. Sunday, 3 January at 9:30am. Boathouse Cafe; 74th street/East Drive $10



2a OWLS. Sunday, 3 January at 4:30pm for Eastern Screech-owls and Great Horned Owls. Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. $10. POSTPONED to Sunday, 10 January, due to RAIN.]

See Details on the Schedule page

Meet at the Parking Lot (free parking) of the Golf Course Club House

ADDRESS for GPS: Van Cortlandt Park South & Bailey Avenue, 10463 Bronx

Parking lot is free; safe; nice indoor bathrooms and open until 9pm


Call (718-828-8262) or Email us with questions:

Long-tailed Duck on Long Island (Jones Beach) on 28 December 2020 by Deborah Allen

(below) Long-tailed Duck on Long Island (Jones Beach) on 28 Dec. 2020 by Deborah Allen

The fine print: Our walks on weekends meet at 7:30/9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive). Please note: the Boathouse is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time! Fridays we meet at Conservatory Garden; Mondays at Strawberry Fields - check the "Meeting Points" page of this web site for exact meeting location.

Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is ( If you are lost and trying to get to the bird walk, call Deborah's cell phone...but remember on weekends there will be 2-3 other people calling who are also lost - please be patient. If in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not the morning of the walk: check the main landing page of this web site as well as the "Schedule" page - if the walk is cancelled, information will be posted there by 6am the day of the walk, and usually by 11pm the night before. If still confused and as a last resort, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk. We end all our Central Park walks (except Fridays) near the Boathouse at about noon; you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $6 total) - though the Boathouse is closed right now and will re-open in April 2021 according to the owners. Walks last about 3 hrs (less if hot or rainy), and you can leave at anytime - we won't be offended. If you need directions/help to your next destination, just ask someone on the walk - we aim to please.

Common Eider (female on left; younger male [not full adult/2nd year] on right) at the Coast Guard Station, Jones Beach West End 28 Dec 2020 by Deborah Allen

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Sunday, 27 December (Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9:30am): Please note: the bathrooms at the Boathouse are NOT open. However, we do pass two other sets of bathrooms on the walk. Well...we spent a good deal of time admiring Barry the Barred Owl perched in his Hemlock tree up the hill from the Boathouse. We then fed birds by hand - the Tufted Titmice landing in our hands one after another like a shark attack. This made the adults dizzy with laughter - they never had so much fun with birds unless it was eating fried chicken without a knife and fork. But no worries on serious birds: Deborah Allen had done all the heavy lifting for us pre-9am by finding the first ever White-fronted Goose in Central Park. Yes since records have been kept, Deborah is the first (and only) person to see a Greater White-fronted Goose in Central Park. HOWEVER, if you see her photo of this feathered visitor from Greenland, you get an asterisk in the historical record of birding in THE Park.

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 27 December:

OWL WALK Friday night (25 December at 4:30pm) for Barred Owl (Central Park): well we cannot go wrong with Barry Barred Owl who called back several times when I played the Barred Owl calls via my speaker at about 4:55pm. Barry then flew uphill, and when I took up a different position in the Ramble, almost hit me in the head flying in to my calls. The last memory of the evening was tracking Barry Barred Owl down in the Ramble, in the dark...the owl was perched about seven feet away from our group at eye-level.

OWL WALK Saturday night (26 December at 4pm) for Eastern Screech-owls and Great Horned Owls (Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx): the Eastern Screech-owl calls I used produced some interesting results: a Great Horned Owl flew in at last light to perch atop a dead tree opposite us (75 yards away). That owl then headed south toward the handball courts - and away from the forest...probably to an area where food resides (rats eg). We then walked north along the Putnam Trail and played Eastern Screech-owl calls again...and brought in two Eastern Screech-owls that we heard well, but never got a look at! We have a plan for the next owl walk here to see these little owls. And finally, at the north end of Van Cortlandt Park, we played more Eastern Screech-owl calls and brought in...a different Great Horned Owl - this one appeared to be a male (smaller size). So I am not surprised we are having trouble seeing Eastern Screech-owls at VC Park: Great Horned Owls seem to be on the lookout for them...

OWL WALK Sunday night (27 December at 4pm) for Eastern Screech-owls, Barred Owl and Great Horned Owls (Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan): we spent quite a bit of time with a somewhat reticent Barred Owl at Inwood. We watched this owl roosting in a pine grove and then get active flying out over our heads. This is not Barry from Central Park! Despite hearing my calls this Inwood Barred Owl remained silent...though later when completely dark we were able to get this Owl to fly in over our heads (twice) in the "Clove" area. However, it did not want to perch nearby for us to get a good look. We had no luck with Eastern Screech-owls or Great Horned Owls tonight...Still one owl seen makes for a good, not great, night.

Orange-crowned Warbler (lower Manhattan) on 7 November 2019

Lotus Winnie Lee


Bird-Lore's Twenty-first Christmas Census for 1920

THE highest number of species recorded in this census, in the northern and middle Atlantic States, is 38 at Montauk, Long Island, and Cape May, N.J.; in the south, 58 at Plant City, Fla., and in the Mississippi Valley, 35 at Kansas City; and on the Pacific Coast, Santa Barbara with 96 has no close competitor. The unusually open season, no doubt, accounts for a number of sporadic records of birds far north of their usual winter range, such as the Phoebe, Catbird, and Palm Warbler. The early date at which the census goes to press leaves little opportunity for statistical study of it. We may note, however, that the ‘comeback' anticipated for the Golden-crowned Kinglet exceeds our expectations. In the 1919 census, 26 of the 138 lists for states east of the Mississippi reported 1 to 11 individuals of this species, with a total of 85. This year (1920), 41 of 134 lists record 1 to 37 individuals with a total of 278.

On the other hand, the scarcity of birds in places is less general than was anticipated. The average total species for Massachusetts is 14, versus 16 in 1919; whereas in New York it is 17, and in New Jersey it is 20, in both 1919 and 1920. In Ohio, however, there has been an increase of from an average of 16 in 1919 to 18 in 1920. J. T. Nichols.

New Jersey late December 1920

Englewood Region, N. J. (Overpeck Marshes and Phelps estate). 26 December 1920; 8.35 A.M. to 4.10 P.M. Cloudy; wind north, slight; temp. 32f. Herring Gull, 40; Hawks,

(sp. ?) 3; Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 6; Blue Jay, 1; Crow, 13; Starling,

9; Red-winged Blackbird, 1; White-throated Sparrow, 3; Tree Sparrow, 7; Slate-colored

Junco, 17; Song Sparrow, 23; Brown Creeper, 4; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Black-capped Chickadee, 6; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3. Total, 16 species, 140 individuals.

Bernard Fread.


Rutherford, N. J. (to Great Notch). 26 December 1920; 8 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Generally overcast; no snow; but little wind; temp. 23f at start. About 12 miles by foot. Observers not far apart. Herring Gull, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 2; Blue Jay, 2; Crow, 16; Starling, 2; White-throated Sparrow, 10; Tree Sparrow, 75; Junco, 6; Song Sparrow, 50; Myrtle Warbler (one large flock and several scattered individuals), 35; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1. Total, 11 species, (about) 200 individuals.

O. Davis Keep and Roger A. Banton.


Richfield, N. J. (Valley Road from Albion Place to Great Notch, thence to Bloomfield

Road and Clifton Avenue). 25 December 1920; 9 a.m. to 12 m. Clear; ground bare; wind

west, light; temp. 26f at start, 34f at return. Downy Woodpecker, 1; Blue Jay, 2; Crow, 7; Starling, common; Goldfinch, 3; White-throated Sparrow, 5; Tree Sparrow, 3; Junco, 20; Song Sparrow, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Chickadee, 4; Robin, 1. Total, 12 species, 49 individuals, excluding the Starlings, of which there was a great flock of probably three to four hundred.

Louis S. Kohler.


Branch Brook Park, Morris Canal, and Third River, N. J. 26 December 1920. 8.30 to 10.30

A.M., and 3 to 5 P.M.; Cloudy; ground bare; raw northeast wind, strong to light; temp. 18f to 22f, Branch Brook Park; temp. 25f to 28f, bank of Morris Canal and along Third River, a wide brook with two large ponds, running through open woods, marshy in places; back across open country. Downy Woodpecker, 2; Flicker, 1; Starling, 23; White-throated Sparrow, 50; Tree Sparrow, 4; Junco, 1; Song Sparrow, 2; Fox Sparrow, 2; Brown Creeper, 5; also the following [? Orange-crowned Warbler—Ed.] which I am at a loss to identify: Length about 5 inches or less; crown dark grey; back olive-green, brighter on rump; underparts pale gray, strongly washed with pale yellow on sides and belly; bill small, thin, and pointed, no sign of head-stripes, wing-bars, or eye-ring. Watched at close range (about 15 feet) for about ten minutes with a good glass, —on a medium-sized elm when first seen, but afterwards always on bushes. I saw it Dec. 25 and 26, each day accompanied by 2 Brown Creepers and a Downy Woodpecker. Its movements were very active, taking it quickly from bush to bush. Total, 10 species, 91 individuals.

Raymond F. Haulenbeek.


Morristown, N. J. (Bumham Park, Speedwell Park, along the Whippany River,

Evergreen Cemetery). 25 December 1920; 7 to 8.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Clear at start, partly overcast later; ground bare; wind west to northwest, light to strong; temp. 25f at start, 30f at return. About 10 miles on foot. Kingfisher, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Blue Jay, 1; Crow, 38; Starling, 6; Goldfinch, 6; White-throated Sparrow, 6; Tree Sparrow, 158; Field Sparrow, 8; Junco, 65; Song Sparrow, 24; Cardinal, 2; Pine Warbler, 1; Brown Creeper, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 14; Chickadee, 6; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 20. Total, 18 species, (about) 366 individuals. The Pine Warbler was seen through field glasses, three times at ranges of about 10 yards; the dusky back and yellowish breast were distinctly noted.

R. C. Caskey.


Elizabeth, N. J. (shore Newark Bay to Milburn). 26 December 1920; 7.45 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Cloudy; wind variable between northwest and east; temp. 18f at start, 28f at return. About 15 miles on foot. Herring Gulls, 1,200 (conservative); Black Duck, 5; (Goldeneye ?) Duck, 3; Ring-necked Pheasant, 1; Marsh Hawk, 2; Red-shouldered Hawk, 2; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Short-eared Owl (fresh pellets found on ice left from Dec. 25 high

tides; species seen same locality Dec. 11 and 18); Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 5; Horned Lark, 13; Blue Jay, 5; American Crow, 16; Starling, 4; Meadowlark,

6; White-throated Sparrow, 40; Tree Sparrow, 135; Field Sparrow, 1; Slate-colored Junco, 41; Song Sparrow, 37; Fox Sparrow, 1; Cardinal, 2; Titlark [American Pipit], 3; Winter Wren, 1; Brown Creeper, 6; White-breasted Nuthatch, 6; Tufted Titmouse, 1; Black-capped

Chickadee, 6; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1. Total, 29 species, (about) 1,545 individuals. Two large flocks of water-birds, probably chiefly Gulls, but, judging from sound, containing

some Canada Geese too far out in Newark Bay for positive identification and not included in count. Titlarks [American Pipits] closely approached on salt meadow and seen distinctly through good glass

Charles A. Urner []


Scotch Plains, N. J. (to Washington Valley). 26 December 1920; 11.55 a.m. to 5.15 p.m. Clear; ground bare; partly frozen, little wind; temp, at start, 29°. Ring-necked Pheasant, 1;

Long-eared Owl, 1 ; Downy Woodpecker, 1; Flicker, 1; American Crow, 1; White-throated

Sparrow, 2; Tree Sparrow, 3 (flock); Field Sparrow, 1; Junco, 50 (flock); Song Sparrow, 4;

Cardinal, 6 (three pairs); Catbird, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 2 (together); Black capped Chickadee, 4; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1; Hermit Thrush, 1; Bluebird, 4 (flock, flying over). Total, 17 species, 84 individuals.

W. DeW. Miller.


Westfield, N. J. (along foot of Watchung Mountains to Scotch Plains and back). 25 December 1920; 7.30 A.M. to 4 P.M. Fair (bright sun); no snow; very gentle breezes; temp.,

start, 21f, return, 24f. About 8 miles on foot. Red-shouldered Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Downy Woodpecker, 3; Blue Jay, 4; Crow, 11; Starling, (flock of about 40); American Goldfinch, 6; Tree Sparrow, 2; Slate-colored Junco, 15; Song Sparrow, 2; Brown Creeper, 2; White-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Black-capped Chickadee, 1; American Robin, 7 (apparently passing winter in a swamp); Bluebird 6. Total, 15 species, (about) 103 individuals.

Frank Allatt.


New Brunswick, N. J. 24 December 1920; 8.05 a.m. to 1:10 p.m., 1.45 to 3.45 p.m. Partly

cloudy; ground bare; wind west, moderate; temp. 34f to 39f. Herring Gull, 1; Ring-billed

Gull, 1; Sora Rail, 1; Killdeer, 9; Ring-necked Pheasant, 1; Cooper's Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; Red-shouldered Hawk, 3; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 4; Blue Jay, 12; Crow, 67; Fish Crow, 2; Starling, 53; Meadowlark, 12; Goldfinch, 3; White-throated Sparrow, 13; Tree Sparrow, 22; Junco, 123; Song Sparrow, 20; Fox Sparrow, 1; Cardinal, 5; Brown Creeper, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 4; Tufted Titmouse, 4; Robin, 1. Total, 26 species, 369 individuals. The Sora took flight from almost under my feet, and flew (apparently feebly) to a nearby bunch of cat-tails. The streaks on the back, size and color identified the bird. Red-winged Blackbirds were noted until Dec. 18, and Purple [Common] Grackles until Dec. 20.

Stuart T. Danforth [].


Princeton, N. J. (along Stony Brook from bridge on Lawrenceville road to Double

Bridges). 28 December 1920; 11a.m. to 1.30p.m. Clear; sprinkling of snow; wind westerly; temp. 34f to 38f. Observers within calling distance. Mourning Dove, 5; Broad-winged (?)

Hawk, 1 (seen at distance, attacked by Crows from above); Pigeon Hawk [Merlin], 1; Downy Woodpecker, 1; Northern Flicker, 3; Blue Jay, 2; Crow, 1,500; Starling, 200; Goldfinch, 4; White-throated Sparrow, 8; Tree Sparrow, 10; Slate-colored Junco, 150; Song Sparrow, 3; Cardinal, 10; Migrant [Loggerhead] Shrike, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Tufted Titmouse, 4 (bathing in a spring); Chickadee, 12; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1; Bluebird, 20 (one with a broken leg). Total, 20 species, (about) 1,937 individuals. (The Shrike was watched for four minutes while eating a piece of a bird at a distance of about 15 feet in the top of a tree that grew below the bank on which I stood. He was in bright sunlight, and I had an entirely unobstructed view though I had no field-glasses with me. I noted particularly that he was well under 10 inches in length and that the upper and under parts were almost uniformly gray. — T. v. D.).

Hamilton Gibson and Tertius van Dyke.


Princeton, N. J. (to Rocky Hill, Dutch Neck, and vicinity). 24 December 1920; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clear; ground bare; wind west to northwest, fresh; temp. 34f at start, 36f at return. Thirty miles by motor and on foot. Mourning Dove, 1; Marsh Hawk, 2; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1; Red- tailed Hawk, 2; Red-shouldered Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 5; Screech Owl, 1; Downy Woodpecker, 1; Blue Jay, 5; Crow, 203; Starling, 46; Meadowlark, 33 (30 in one flock); Tree Sparrow, 26; Junco, 25; Song Sparrow, 2; Cardinal, 5; Brown Creeper, 1; White-breasted Nuthatch, 2; Robin, 2; Bluebird, 1. Total, 20 species, (about) 364

individuals. White-throated Sparrows, Chickadees, and Red-breasted Nuthatches conspicuous by their unusual absence.

Henry Lane Eno.


Princeton, N. J. (to Plainsboro and Rocky Hill and back. Millstone River, Carnegie Lake, and a red cedar grove). 24 December 1920; 7.50 a.m. to 5.35 p.m. Partly cloudy; river and lake open, ground bare, little frozen; wind northwest, brisk; temp, about 38f throughout day. Twelve miles on foot, 4 (after dark) by autobus. Herring Gull, 1 (adult); American Merganser, (flock) 4; Hooded Merganser, 1 (male adult); Red-tailed Hawk, 1 (immature); Long-eared Owl, 1; Saw-whet Owl, 1; Great Horned Owl, 2 (hooting at dusk); Hairy Woodpecker, 3; Downy Woodpecker, 6; Red-headed Woodpecker, 1; Flicker, 1; Blue Jay, 2, American Crow, 115; Fish Crow, 2; Starling, 37; Meadowlark, (flock) 4; Goldfinch, 2; White-throated Sparrow, 9; Tree Sparrow, 26; Field Sparrow, 5; Junco, 108; Song Sparrow, 21; Towhee, 1 (male), well seen; Cardinal, 6; Winter Wren, 2; Brown Creeper, 3; White-breasted Nuthatch, 7; Tufted Tit, 15; Carolina Chickadee, 4; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2 (together); Hermit Thrush, 1; Robin, (flock) 4. Total, 32 species, (about) 430 individuals. The Ruby-crowns were studied with 8X glasses fairly close; eye-rings of both and crown-patch of one noted.

Charles H. Rogers []


Atlantic City, N.J. 22 December 1920. Rain most of the day; wind southeast; temp. 38f at

start, 46f at return. Inland waterway from Little Beach Island (U. S. Coast Guard Station 120) to Atlantic City. Started at Little Beach 6.45 a.m., walked up the beach along the seashore to Great Bay, returned through alder bushes, and meadows. Left Little Beach in boat, and returned to Atlantic City 3.30 p.m. Going through Brigantine Inlet, Inland Waterway, and Absecon Inlet. Horned Grebe, 3; Black-backed Gull, 2; Herring Gull, (about) 200; Bonaparte Gull, 10; Red-breasted Merganser, 1; Black Duck, 15; Scaup Duck, 1; Old Squaw, 5; Scoter (American), 2; White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, 500 Scoters in all; Brant, thousands; Clapper Rail, (heard); Sanderling (?), 10; Marsh Hawk, 1; Sharp-shinned Hawk (this was shot by one of our party); Horned Lark (?), 25; Seaside Sparrow, 5; Song Sparrow, 1; Myrtle Warbler, 25. Total, 21 species, (about) 807 individuals not counting Brants. This the first time I have ever seen a Bonaparte Gull, but I am sure that these Gulls were Bonaparte because of their small size, their tern-like flight, and, of course, the markings.

Franklin P. Cook.


Mount Holly, N.J. 26 December 1920; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cloudy; ground bare; wind light; temp 22f at start, 32f at return. About 10 miles on foot. Bob-white, 1; Turkey Vulture, 6;

Marsh Hawk, 1; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; Long-eared Owl, 1; Hairy Woodpecker, 1; Downy

Woodpecker, 7; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1; Horned Lark, 10; Blue Jay, 2; Crow, (approximate) 10,000 (roost); Starling, 15; Meadowlark, 12; White-throated Sparrow, 35; Tree Sparrow, 20; Field Sparrow, 2; Junco, 50; Song Sparrow, 8; Cardinal, 5; Brown Creeper, 6; White-breasted Nuthatch, 1; Tufted Titmouse, 2; Carolina Chickadee, 1;

Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3; Hermit Thrush, 1; Bluebird, 1. Total, 26 species, (about)

10,193 individuals. Dec. 25: Goldfinch and Screech Owl.

Nelson D. W. Pumyea [].


Cape May, N. J. 26 December 1920; 9.30 a.m. to 5.50 p.m. Cloudy; wind northeast; temp. 32f at start, 45f at return. Observers together most of the time. Horned Grebe, 3; Loon, 15;

Red-throated Loon, 1 (Culver and Roland); Herring Gull, 50; Ring-billed Gull, 1; Bonaparte Gull, 12; Merganser, 2; Pintail, 1; Scoter, 14; White-winged Scoter, 2; Great Blue Heron, 4; Kildeer, 2; Turkey Vulture, 15; Marsh Hawk, 2; Red-tailed Hawk, 1; Sparrow Hawk [American Kestrel], 1; Short-eared Owl, 1; Kingfisher, 1; Horned Lark, 1; Crow, 200; Starling, 25; Meadowlark, 30; Goldfinch, 1; Savannah Sparrow, 10; Sharp-tailed Sparrow, 1; White-throated Sparrow, 10; Tree Sparrow, 8; Field Sparrow, 6; Junco, 10; Song Sparrow, 2; Myrtle [Yellow-rumped] Warbler, 100; Palm Warbler, 3; Long-billed Marsh Wren, 1; Tufted Titmouse, 1; Carolina Chickadee, 8; Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3; Hermit Thrush, 1; Robin, 5. Total, 38 species, 554 individuals.

Delos E. Culver, Conrad K. Roland and Julian K. Potter [].

Surf Scoter at Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 21 November 2018

Snowy Owl at Elizabeth, N. J. [1922]

On January 2 (1922), on information received from Dr. Wm. B. Ley, of this city, I located a Snowy Owl (Nyctea nyctea) on the salt marsh near Elizabeth, and near the shore of Newark Bay. I learned from hunters that the bird had been first seen in that locality on December 26. I found it sitting among the uneven ice chunks left by the receding tide and its plumage blended so perfectly with its surroundings that I might easily have failed to notice it had I not been on the lookout. I got within about seventy yards before the bird took flight and after being disturbed it would not again allow so close an approach. When first seen its posture was vertical, the usual owl pose, but when it lit upon the open ice after being disturbed the body and tail were held horizontal to the ground plane with head erect, this possibly being a usual attitude when the bird is on the alert.

I saw the bird again on January 15 and 22 and March 18, but on neither of these occasions did he assume the horizontal pose, his posture being upright or leaning slightly forward.

Owls have been present in unusual numbers here this winter. My list included weekly from December 4 to January 8 a single Barn Owl (Aluco pratincola) always found roosting in the same tree, and a Saw-whet Owl (Nyctala acadica) found December 11, while Short-eared Owls (Asio accipitrinis) on the salt marshes and Long-eared Owls (Asio wilsonianus) in the neighboring nursery evergreen groves have been quite common.

Charles Urner, Elizabeth, N.J.


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

Follow our Bird Sightings on Twitter: @DAllenNYC and/or @BirdingBobNYC

(above) Snowy Owl at Liberty State Park, NJ on 20 January 2018


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