Sunday, March 28, 2010

Logistics Away!

Nikon will receive the application tomorrow morning.  I have also reserved a room for Zach at the Myer motel in Milford, PA.

Van is reserved.  If you want to change the type of vehicle now is the time to ask!

Need drivers license copies PLEASE :-)

Best of Luck to you guys once again!

Logistics Center
NIKON/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes Headquarters
1604 Woodland Rd
Green Lane, PA 18054

215.234.8557 home office
215.234.4517 fax

World Series of Birding Route Planning

It makes no difference if a team competes in one of the various "limited geographic area" categories or in the "state wide category", route planning is a major contributor to a team's success. Now is the time teams are reviewing past routes and considering what they will be doing this year. Every year presents new challenges.


This year the date for the World Series is a "late" date. That means many wintering birds will have left the state. Early breeding migrants will have established territories and become less vocal. Things will not be the same as last year.


The Lagerhead Shrikes have used the same general route for several years now. This route starts in the northern part of the state and comes down the western edge of the state to the Cape May area and has us at Brigantine at dusk. Is this the year to try something new? Maybe we should work our way down the eastern part of the state and hit Brigantine in the middle of the day.

What species would we miss? What new species could we get? What about the traffic? What about the timing?


Lots to think about! (Bert)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Birding in Northern Jersey

Typically at least two Lagerhead Shrikes will spend 5-7 days before the "Big Day" running around northern jersey locating territorial songbirds, raptor nests, and lingering waterfowl.  A considerable amount of time is spent in a narrow corridor of Sussex County between High Point State Park and the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.   It is along this corridor that we can find key species like Northern Waterthrush, Winter Wren, Ruffed Grouse, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  There are four main areas that we concentrate our scouting: Wantage Grasslands, High Point SP/ Stokes State Forest, Walpack Valley, and the Delaware Water Gap.

If you are thinking about visiting these areas here are a few suggested locations and species you can find around the middle of May – June. 

Wantage Grassland – This is area is located just north of the township of Wantage, NJ.  Take CR-23 north to Unionville rd and then make a right onto Wolfpit rd and a right on Sally Harden rd.  Most of the birding is done from the car since the majority of the grasslands are privately owned farms.  At the corner of Sally Harden and Beemer rd. is a good place to stop and hear Savannah Sparrow, Meadowlark, Pheasant and Bobolink.  Several grassland species will sing pre-dawn (grasshopper, vesper and savannah sparrow).  Knowing when each of these birds begins to sing is critical for planning out a big day route, say the vesper sparrow starts singing at 4:25 am and the savannah sparrow at 4:35 am, this allows us to order our stops efficiently.

High Point/Stokes – If you continue north on CR-23 you will hit High Point State Park.  Again most of the birding can be done from the small roads that run through the park, these are some of my favorite roads to bird on in the state of NJ.  As you enter High Point on CR-23 look for a left hand turn onto Sawmill Rd.  Less than a 0.1 mile down Sawmill intersects with Ridge Rd.  Now it is time to make a difficult decision (one which the Lagerhead Shrikes must make every year).  Continue down Sawmill Rd. listening for Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo, and Cerulean Warbler or take the longer Ridge Rd. in hopes of finding Northern Waterthrush, Ruffed Grouse, and Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Either road you choose should be full of the songs of territorial male passerines and constant drumming of woodpeckers (Sapsucker is now one of the most common woodpeckers along these roads while 10 years ago would have been one of the rarest!).  As you leave High Point make a right on Deckertown Turnpike and in approx. 0.5 miles make a left into Stokes State Forest.  One of my favorite places to bird in Stokes is around Ocquitunk Lake just off Grau Rd, the variety of species is amazing.  If you park by the restrooms look for Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Pileated Woodpecker and Broad-winged hawk; drive a 0.1 miles further and stop at the stone bridge for Louisiana Waterthrush, Magnolia, Black-throated Green and Blackburian Warblers; another hundred yards up the hill is the Tinsley Trail where you can find Hooded warbler, Cooper's hawk and Hairy woodpecker.

Walpack Valley – This area can be birded from Van Ness Rd. and the Blewitt Tract located just south of the Peters Valley Center on 615.  Both areas have fens (a shrubby wetland), providing habitat for Chestnut-sided Warbler, Alder and Willow Flycatcher, Black-billed Cuckoo and winged-warblers.  It is in these areas that the Lagerhead Shrikes must search each year for the evermore-elusive Golden-winged Warbler.  The Blewitt Tract also contains a spruce stand that can hold Golden-crowned Kinglet and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Delaware Water Gap – The Water Gap is the final area the Lagerhead Shrikes spend in the North before high tailing down to Southern Jersey.  Several of the locations contain birds that can be found in High Point, Stokes or the Walpack and act as back-ups on the Big Day.  Some areas to checkout include:  Pompey and Mountain roads.  The entrance to Pompey road is a great place to hear worm-eating warbler especially without even getting out of the car, making it appealing for a big day.  Further down the road has been a historical area to search for Nashville Warbler.  Mountain road can be accessed from Walpack Flatbrook Rd, you only need to travel a quarter-mile until you reach a blow down area on the right.  This location has held Winter Wren in the blow down area and Acadian Flycatcher can be found here as well.

Birding between these four areas and with a little bit of luck the Lagerhead Shrikes can tally over 140 species in just a few hours.  This has just as much to do with skill as the diversity and richness of the habitats that can be found in this amazing area of New Jersey.  The next time you want to do some spring birding in NJ remember to consider northwestern Sussex County and you won't be disappointed! (Zach)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The 2010 DVOC Conservation Grant



All funds raised by the DVOC's 2010 World Series of Birding Team will be awarded to John Heinz NWR. The DVOC will partner with John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and PA Audubon to stimulate public awareness of window strikes and create more demand for window solutions. This will be accomplished through a demonstration project at the Wildlife Center.


If necessary, the Refuge will match our funds up to $3,000 providing sufficient seed money for the project. The project will present visitors with a variety of effective solutions for window and building glass. The displays will demonstrate the use of different materials for different window applications. Additionally, graphics will demonstrate the dynamics of window strikes, benefits and limitations of specific solutions and relative costs. Visitors will be able to observe firsthand the look and feel of bird safe solutions. Printed literature will also be available for visitors to take home. The center receives 125,000 visitors per year, providing excellent opportunities for education of the public.


Further information and a pledge/donation form is available at

2010 Nikon/DVOC Team Members Announced!

                Captain Paul Guris ( has again assembled a strong team for this year's World Series of Birding. The 2010 Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes ( will have four team members. This is Paul's twenty-second year of participation on a DVOC team and his thirteenth year as the team captain. Mike Fritz (  brings 15 previous years experience on the Nikon/DVOC Team. Bert Filemyr ( will be participating in his sixth World Series. Zach Baer ( joined the team for 2009 but had 10 years experience on various youth teams before that. Paul stated that this year's team is a "nice mix of youth and age, combined with unprecedented experience."

                Anita Guris, assisted by Jeanne Fritz, will provide logistical support during the whole World Series of Birding adventure allowing the team to concentrate on scouting and preparation.

                All members of the team and the extended Nikon/DVOC World Series of Birding family thank Nikon Sports Optics for their continuing support and sponsorship of the Lagerhead Shrikes.