Day 1

Day 1 started with the call of a Canada Goose flying over at just past midnight. Perhaps frightened by the fireworks or just moving between waterways but it started my year. The first bird on the year list before I actually made it to bed.

The next morning, I went for a run. By the time I got home I was already 29 species up. Running in my neighborhood, I was greeted by the songs of Carolina Wrens, House Finch and House Sparrows, while a Blue Jay called from the backyard. American Robins, Mourning Doves scooted in front of my feet.

At Newton Lake Park, more Canada geese were joined by mallards, double-crested cormorant and ring-billed gulls on the water. Dark-eyed Juncos, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Wrens followed me along the vegetation as I ran, each note of their calls or songs grabbing my attention as I tried to identify them. Running makes it harder to visually pick out species, but when a Song Sparrow flies in front of you and lands just off your shoulder, it makes it a tad easier.

There were no surprises – maybe some slightly less common species but nothing dramatic. Great Black-backed Gulls are hit-or-miss but a pair was resting along the Cooper River, along with a single Herring Gull. Carolina Chickadees “chick-a-deed” along the river as I did multiple loops on a personal record (PR) 11.11-mile run.

I looked for the previously seen Greater White-fronted Goose at both locations where it had been seen. I had seen it a week earlier, but would miss it this day, along with the redpolls and rusty blackbirds we had on our CBC count. Not totally unexpected as one actively passes by locations instead of meandering with their eyes to the sky.

Home, I quickly filled the feeders – anything to attract some other, new birds for the list. This was local birding – it was a tally more than a pastime – get the regulars out of the way. But those expectations are just as subject to surprise as a Christmas count – and a single Pine Siskin landed on one of my feeders, my first relative rarity and surprise of the year.

New Year, New Siskin

By the end of the day, I already had 33 species – but tomorrow was going to be a big day along the NJ coast.

11/1Canada Goose
21/1Blue Jay
31/1House Finch
41/1House Sparrow
51/1Mourning Dove
61/1European Starling
71/1Downy Woodpecker
81/1Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
91/1American Robin
101/1Carolina Wren
111/1White-breasted Nuthatch
121/1Tufted Titmouse
131/1White-throated Sparrow
141/1Carolina Chickadee
151/1Ring-billed Gull
171/1Domestic Mallard
181/1Song Sparrow
191/1American Crow
201/1Northern Cardinal
211/1Northern Mockingbird
221/1Double-crested Cormorant
231/1Red-bellied Woodpecker
241/1Great Blue Heron
251/1Great Black-backed Gull
261/1Herring Gull
271/1Red-breasted Nuthatch
291/1Belted Kingfisher
301/1Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
311/1Pine Siskin
321/1Red-winged Blackbird
331/1Common Grackle

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