Ever since part of assignment at work has involved me spending time in Bayonne, New Jersey, I have found time before or after meetings to get out for short birding outings in a couple of the parks with better habitat in Bayonne. My favorite birding thus far is the combination of Stephen R. Craig County Park and Richard A. Rutkowski Park, both on the east shore of Newark Bay, with the hum of traffic from the turnpike bridge over the bay always in the background. (Back in the spring I called the two parks by what is apparently their unofficial name, Bayonne Park.)

Those two parks, combined with some nice birding from the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway along the edge of Bayonne Golf Course on the east side of Bayonne, have gradually increased my Hudson County bird list to 124 species, good for a tie for twelfth all-time on eBird for those keeping score at home.

My most recent outing netted me three new species for my Hudson County list – Nelson’s Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, and Golden-crowned Kinglet. One of the joys of county listing in a county that you haven’t birded too terribly much is that even relatively common birds are good for an addition to the checklist.

a Blackpoll Warbler doing its best roadrunner impersonation

I started my morning outing with a walk on the boardwalk through the small salt marsh. I was pleased with the numbers of Pine Siskins that were feeding in the weeds on the margins of the marsh and more pleased when a Marsh Wren responded to my spishing by popping up briefly to see what was making all that noise. Further down the boardwalk I watched a Green Heron do pretty much nothing for a bit.

the most boring Green Heron ever

The next big patch of marsh inspired me to spish some more and I was very happy with the result, a new addition to my year list! Nelson’s Sparrow – two of them!

Nelson’s Sparrow is a worthy addition to any county list.

After that experience it would be difficult to find much better and, sure enough, I didn’t. Sure, I spotted a bunch more common birds but nothing to compare to a couple of Ammodramus sparrows that I had been hoping would show up in the marsh since I first laid eyes on it back in the spring. I did appreciate this Song Sparrow though.

a little brown job on a pretty cool perch

Bizarrely, I now have eleven species of sparrow on my Hudson County list, which matches my number of wood-warblers for the county. That just shouldn’t be but I might as well go with it I guess.

yes, juncos count as sparrows

What counties do you have somewhat of a list in but nothing terribly impressive? Or is county listing not your thing?

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.