March came in like a lion, with above average cold temperatures and all the standing water in the county frozen over. It went out with another small snowstorm overnight on the 31st. So a challenging month, but one that steadily saw improving birding conditions and some of the first spring migrant arrivals.
After a very tough February, I was happy to add 20 new birds for the year:
- Merlin (2 Mar 2:30pm)
- Purple Finch (5 March 8:40am)
- Common Redpoll (5 March 1:31pm)
- Red-winged Blackbird (10 March 9:25am)
- Rock Pigeon (13 March 8:10am)
- Ring-necked Duck (13 March 8:40am)
- Fish Crow (16 March)
- Killdeer (17 March)
- Rusty Blackbird (17 March)
- Green-winged Teal (17 March)
- Fox Sparrow (17 March)
- Great Blue Heron (17 March)
- American Woodcock (19 March)
- Wood Duck (23 March)
- Tundra Swan (25 March, 10:00am)
- Eastern Phoebe (26 March)
- American Wigeon (28 March)
- Northern Pintail (28 March)
- Mute Swan (30 March)
- Tree Swallow (31 March)
This brings my to the following totals:
Total Species: 70
Photo Species: 44
Audio Species: 33
On eBird, my yard currently ranks 4th in NJ for the year (highest total outside of Cape May County) and 53rd for United States.
Highlights were finally getting some more migrant waterfowl, most seen through the trees and distant to the north from my patio, or distantly to north from my 15 foot Delta Tripod stand in the front yard. Unfortunately I had to move the tripod stand from its best vantage point because it was too close to my neighbor’s yard and was too creepy for me to be up there with my big optics whenever they came out into the yard! So I’m struggling to see to the north, but still managed to see both Tundra and Mute Swans–new yard birds, as well as new yard birds American Wigeon and Northern Pintail.
Another highlight was my experiment with audio social attraction during a snowstorm, when I was able to lure in a Common Redpoll to my feeders by playing a recording of a feeding redpoll flock!
I still have a lot of audio to go through from both daytime and nighttime recordings with my OldBird21c microphone, and know I have additional audio species to save files on and report on (Brown-headed Cowbird, anyone?). Another highlight of the month was after three years of being strapped to a chair in my yard, I finally built a stand for my OldBird21c microphone to live on!
Nocturnal migration has been slow so far, with a few ducks and geese going over, but this month things should really start picking up and I should start seeing the benefits of a machine-assisted big year. Hopefully I’ll pick up some really tough to find local migrants such as Virginia Rail and American Bittern. Migration is picking up, so April should be a great month with lots of new species!
Finally, here are some American Woodcock recordings–its been fun to hear these most mornings and some evenings in my yard the last half of March.