A couple of days ago I came down with a cold so I've been a little bit slow going. I contemplated not going on this trip but the cold wasn't bad enough to stop me from my last Big Year trip. Normally I would say "oh, let's just go next week" but at this point in the game there IS NO next week - I am now in the final days of my Junior Big Year. 2 more full days.
I left home about 9:30 am this morning with my dad. We went through the Baltimore area on our way here and since I've been there for 2 chase trips in the last 1+ month, I recognized almost every place in the area. In fact, we drove within a mile or two of where I saw my life Le Conte's Sparrow back in late November!
Our first stop in NJ would be the Avalon Sea Watch where a group of Common and a male King Eider are being seen. We arrived to find several other birders there. The Common Eiders were easy - tons of them, both male and female swimming about. A lifer for me and number 432 for my Junior Big Year! There were lots of other sea ducks as well - Black and Surf Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks. But the King Eider was not to be seen. One of the birders there said that the King was seen about an hour before I arrived but a boat scared it off. I will try for it again tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the day - I have 7 targets. I will start in Cape May and try to locate both a Bell's Vireo and Eurasian Wigeon being seen in Cape May. Then I will work my way up to Avalon again, stopping in Stone Harbor at a location where Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sparrows are often seen, according to eBird. It's going to be a great day.
I have some photos of the sea ducks including the eiders from today that I will post on this blog later.