Archive for Birding New Jersey
Hunn, one of the sadly many forgotten names in New Jersey birding, was also in on the discovery of the first western grebe and western meadowlark for the state, in 1939 and 1940, respectively. A founder of the Urner Club, Hunn died 60 years ago today, having witnessed
the rapid urbanization of farm and wilderness areas … the appearance of the Starling (1912) and the attempts to introduce the European Goldfinch.
I wonder what he would think of our fair Garden State today.
This charming black-throated green warbler — an adult female, I believe — was busily picking nearly invisible bugs from Alison’s aster bed this morning.
P[arus] viridis gutture nigro, the green black throated flycatcher.
In June 1756, the very young Bartram had sent skins of this species and of the black-and-white warbler from “the province of Pensilvania” to George Edwards, who described and painted them in the Gleanings of 1760.
Edwards called our bird the black-throated green flycatcher, and it was his account that Gmelin drew on to assign the species its formal Linnaean name, Motacilla [later Sylvia, then Dendroica, now Setophaga] virens.
Interestingly, it seems that in the later eighteenth century there was resistance to the unwieldy English name adopted by Edwards. In France, both Buffon and Brisson called this bird simply “black-throated,” while across the Channel Pennant, Turton, and Latham all preferred to emphasize the color of the upperparts by calling it the “green warbler.”
It was up to Alexander Wilson, Bartram’s grateful friend, to restore his master’s English name, which he did in only imperfect faithfulness to the original: the charming bird in the upper lefthand corner of Wilson’s plate 17 is labeled “Green black-throated Warbler,” as in Bartram, though his text reads — the first instance of the modern English name in print — “black-throated green warbler.”
Audubon, who was the first to depict the female of the species, followed Edwards and Wilson’s letterpress in using the sequence “black-throated green” rather than the more logical “green black-throated”:
And so it has remained ever since, a long name for a tiny bird.
Gellert and I are used to running into interesting birds on his walks: in just the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a fine peregrine falcon, a common raven, and a smattering of the commoner southbound warblers. This morning, though, we came across something totally unexpected.
We screeched to a halt when a tiny, short-tailed gray thing flushed from the roadside into a low tree, and were startled to see a little zebra finch looking back at us.
Yes, we arrived a day late for the whiskered tern and we left a day early for the zone-tailed hawk: but my latest tour had a great time at Cape May last week all the same. A few photos:
The view from the hotel balcony at dawn.
Sunrise over the beach.
Some autumn color in Atlantic County.
An eastern ribbon snake in the Meadows (or some Thamnophis or another).
One of many, many, many brown thrashers at Higbee Beach.
If you get a chance to bird with this genial gang, do it!
The beach scene across from our hotel.
Black skimmers and a nice variety of gulls and terns, there for the picking just steps from our door.
A great cormorant joins its smaller cousins on the concrete ship.
We’ll be back.
This pretty little black-throated blue warbler was a welcome but not unexpected guest at the bird bath this morning.
But — as they say on the internet — watch what she does next.
I think the house sparrow was as surprised as I was when the warbler flew up to the newly filled tray feeder.
She obviously liked what she found in there.
I should explain that she wasn’t sharing the house sparrow’s millet: I’d put the remnants of a chunk of suet in there earlier this morning. Still, this isn’t your everyday feeder bird, is it?