Bayonne Scrublands

Even along the I-95 corridor remain semi-wild places. This site is about two blocks from cruise ship  terminals, a shopping district, and a bustling strip mall. Bayonne Scrublands. Photo taken by Kathleen Farley on April 15, 2016. Edited with  Snapseed.

In most places, Bayonne is probably known for being associated with the Bayonne Bridge,  a very built up section of Riverfront in northern NJ, a terminal for cruise ships. At least that’s what I know of Bayonne. That, and in the birding community, Bayonne  has a cool  golf course that Snowy Owls like to visit when they winter here. (Golf course looks like Scotland.)  The good  views of the golf course and snowy owls come from  the other side of the water: the Bayonne Scrublands.  It was here I took  myself tonight at sunset.

After arrival, I wandered around a bit.  The habitat didn’t look especially  promising. The underbrush  was scruffy and scrubby enough, but there didn’t seem to  be enough forest. What little forest there was was behind a fence with a sign proclaiming “No Trespassing.  Keep out.”  I assume the sign meant little  to  woodcock as they can’t read.

I wandered away from the fenced off forest and found a comfortable rock, making myself at home. Before the light had faded and the other birds had settled in for the night I could just pick out faint peents from the bit of forest.

It was a busy night! I confirmed three calling woodcock and one mockingbird parading as a woodcock. The closest woodcock was in the clump of forest ~10m ahead of me, one was probably  in the forbidden forest, and the final one was probably  at my car. I crept closer, giving up my rock for a patch of ground.

Moving closer was a good call as  I could  see the closest woodcock landing and departing from his displays with the ambient light pollution.  He was pretty  consistent in his choice of landing sites. At one point he seemed so close that I should have been able to catch him with my bare hands, but being a cryptically colored species, I couldn’t even see him.

Two woodcock were active for the first hour after sunset and then they went silent at 59 minutes after sunset.  After the hour, the woodcock and I decided to call it a night.


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