Big Year 2013 – February

After a strong start in January, February turned out to be a lot slower. I was only able to bird twice (both times at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum), and had limited opportunities to see new things. I only added 5 species to my year list but that included a new lifer – a long-sought nemesis, the Saw-whet Owl!.

February Tally

Year Stats
98 Month 41
Lifers 1
NJ Species 37
State List 0

It’s been great – cold many times, but great birding. I was able to make 4 trips out: Cape May on the 5th, North Shore on the 13th, Central NJ on the 18th, Tom’s River on the 21st. I picked up at least one lifer on 3 of the 4 trips, which isn’t too shabby. My trip totals:

Date Location Species Lifer FOY
Feb 11 Heinz NWR, Tinicum PA 23 0 2
Feb 15 Heinz NWR, Tinicum PA 29 1 1
Feb 18 Haddonfield 14 0 1

My first foray to John Heinz NWR/Tinicum was semi-successful — I didn’t get the Saw-whet I was looking for but I was able to add the long missing Common Grackle at the entrance (can’t remember the last time I’d waited this long to see a grackle). Even better was heading back to my car in the drizzle and finding a small herd of wild turkeys just off the trail. They’re not pretty birds but they are impressive.

3 days later I ventured back to Tinicum where Dave Magpiong saved the day again, helping me find my lifer Saw-whet Owl* right where it had been seen for months. The bird didn’t want to turn toward us but it was evident what it was. Rumor had it that a second (and a third) bird had been seen nearby and a little searching found a beautiful specimen who was a bit easier to get a look at. What a gorgeous little bird these owls are.


On the way out, I added bird number 97 when a pair of Tundra Swans made an appearance in the lake against the setting sun.

Not quite tundra

The rest of the month was mostly a washout as I spent way too many hours working and not nearly enough birding. I did secure bird number 98 with a Brown-headed Cowbird in Haddonfield, but little else other than the average crowds. I still averaged 13+ species a day, mostly in the yard.

But March is starting off much better – 5 new birds for the year including 2 lifers. But we’ll talk about that later.

Year Birds – February

(*=lifelist, ^=state bird)

94. Common Grackle
95. Wild Turkey
96. Saw-whet Owl*
97. Tundra Swan
98. Brown-headed Cowbird


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