Bird activity is beginning to pick up around the Garden State with increasing varieties and numbers of newly arriving migrant species are being reported every day. I was able to get out for a relaxing walk through the park a couple weekends ago and captured some photos of early arriving warblers and sparrows. Some of these little fellows are headed much farther north, like this Palm Warbler which breeds in extreme northern New England (US) and throughout eastern and central Canada. These attractive warblers winter throughout the southern US and will pass through New Jersey before most other warblers even begin to arrive.
Chipping Sparrows, or Chippies, also arrive early but they are here to stay for the summer. Chippies are one of the first sparrows I learned to identify when I started birding, and I’m always happy to see them come back in the spring. They’re song, an insect-like trill, can be heard throughout New Jersey and especially in the Pine Barrens (where I spend a good amount of time hiking in the summer).
Pine Warblers show up at about the same time as Palm Warblers but, like the Chipping Sparrow, they are here to stay. Pine Warblers are the best named bird that I know as they are almost always found in or very near pine trees. Their song is similar to but a little slower and a bit more muscial than the Chippies, and is another one that I enjoy while hiking in the Pine Barrens.
I found all these little guys at Allaire State Park near Howell, New Jersey. Allaire is a great spring birding location, mainly because it offers an island of great habitat for the birds to rest and feed in while they continue their migration north through the highly developed eastern seaboard. It is one of my favorite places.