Every species the Lagerhead Shrikes see on the big day counts equally towards our overall total. However, certain species get extra attention during the week of scouting. In particular are the species I have claimed to be the 5 hardest birds in northern Jersey. The criteria for selecting these species are that they must nest in the state almost every year and be considered a north Jersey specialty.
At number 5 I have chosen Ruffed Grouse. This species has become more and more elusive each year the Shrikes do the event. Local hunters have been quoted saying that “there are no grouse in the High Point/Stokes area and if you find one don’t tell us!”
Coming in at number 4 is Winter Wren. The number of winter wrens on the Lagerhead Shrikes route each year varies from 3 to none. By the middle of May most of the territorial males singing becomes irregular and hard to predict or decide to completely vacate their original territory. It is not uncommon to spend 30 minutes to an hour listening unsuccessfully for a winter wren and then later hear the bird sang 10 minutes later.
[ Photo provided by Bill Hubick]
See if you can guess what the top three species are going to be in the postings to come!