Howard S. Stainton Wildlife Refuge 10/24/10

After going to Forsythe on the 23rd, we drove farther down in NJ to Ocean City and came to a subtle park on Bay Avenue and 28th street (close to Vineyard Way) bordering the Ocean City Municipal Airport.  In a car, you would have to be paying close attention to the side of the road to see it, because all that is there is a sign behind some trees, a lookout platform, and a small boardwalk leading up to the platform.  I feel bad for all of the people who miss it, though, because it is truly a one of a kind place.  As you walk up the platform stairs, eager to get to the top, it sounds as if you are being cheered on by all of the chirps, whistles, quacks, and cheeps of the birds that await your arrival.  Once you get to the top, you get an overlook of a large lake with tidal mud flats, reeds, and trees as a border so you can’t see the road farther in front of you.

This is the perspective that you get when you look directly in front of you after emerge from the steps.

When it is high tide and hardly any land is above ground, the Refuge is great for ducks, geese, and cormorants.  When it is low tide and the place is basically 1 giant mud flat, it is great for sandpipers, herons, and egrets.  If you are on a trip to Ocean City, New Jersey and you want to get away from all of the hustle and bustle, this place is definitely where you want to come… as long as you have a few hours to spare!

This is the perspective that you get when you look to the left after you emerge from the steps.

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Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge 10/23/10

On the 23rd, we took a trip to Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Absecon, New Jersey.  There was a festival type activity taking place when we got there, so it was very crowded.  First we took a short walk through Akers Woodland Trail, then hit the Wildlife Drive.  Akers Wildlife Trail mostly consisted of Yellow-Rumped Warblers, but also had a good variety of sparrows including White-Throated, White-Crowned, Song, Swamp, Field, and a Dark-Eyed Junco.  The Wildlife Drive got a little more interesting.  To kick it off, we saw Ruddy Ducks, uncommon there in the fall.  We saw a good variety of Herons and Egrets, as well as some other ducks.  We also found a good amount of Peregrine Falcons.  Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge is definitely one of the best parks that I have been to, as far as variety of birds.  Mostly, what I learned was about the White-Crowned Sparrow Juveniles.  I saw that there was a huge difference between the adults and the juveniles, as far as color.  The juveniles have a tan stomach and top of tail, the color stretching down to the base of the tail.  They also have a gray chest that when looked at from the side, makes the bird look like it has a gray bib on.  Also, they have faint blackish eyebars that seemingly stretch from the bill to the nape.  They have a pinkish bill as well as 2 white wing bars.  Finally, they have a dark brown and light brown streaked head, the patterns the same as the adults, just different colors.

This is the Juvenile White-Crowned Sparrow. Notice the white wing bars and the eyebar.

Edwin B. Forsythe — a must see!

A little bit of me

I am just an average 12 year old boy.  The thing that makes me different, though, is my huge passion for birds.  I’ve been birdwatching since I was 4 years old and started taking serious pictures last year.  I have a goal to see and learn about as many types of birds as possible before I die.  Right now, I have about 200 species of birds on my life list and getting more and more every day.  I reside in southern Pennsylvania but travel all around the U.S., and when I get a little older, travel out of the continent.  I want to thank everyone who takes their time to read about my experiences and adventures by offering up birding tips and information that I learn on my journeys.  Enjoy!!