Middletown, New Jersey

David Saidnawey

David Saidnawey

We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.

Middletown, New Jersey

844 Route 35
Middletown, NJ 07748

Phone: (732) 671-3155
Fax: (732) 671-3177
Email: Send Message

Store Hours:
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs - Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Wild Birds Unlimited
Bird Walk at Sandy Hook
Saturday January 21, 2017 

Note: This article was written by our employee Joanne!

A small group of eight enthusiastic birders met at Sandy Hook on Saturday, January 21. The weather was mild for January. It was in the forties on this cloudy and somewhat foggy morning. We heard a Mockingbird greet us as we gathered. Mark and Karen Silva led us across the street to the bay side across from Parking Lot B.  We saw a variety of ducks wintering in the coves. There were a small number of Buffleheads diving. The cove was predominantly filled with Brant. In amongst the Brant were Red-breasted Mergansers. Resting along the beach were some Canada Geese. When we looked northward we saw what looked like a possibility of seals resting on a small island so we thought we would check that out. First we crossed back over to look along the ocean side.  We saw large flocks of Scoters forming what appeared as dark islands out in the distant waters. There was a single Black duck bobbing along the shoreline near some surfers.

We traveled north by car to Area C. First we checked out the ocean side and saw Long-tailed Ducks, a Ruddy duck, Red-throated Loons and Gannets flying overhead. We crossed over to the Bay side where we could see that they were in fact at least thirty seals resting on an island. Other visitors to the park were also there with Spotting Scopes to watch the Atlantic Harbor, Harp and Grey Seals.  We walked northward to get a closer look. We didn’t see or hear any other birds in the shrubs but there were Brant gathered along pilings that were jutting out of the water by the shoreline. In amongst the Brant were more Red-breasted Mergansers diving in small groups, some Buffleheads and Black Ducks in the adjacent inlet.  On our walk back from viewing the seals we were excited to see Common Goldeneyes! There was one male and several females.  We saw a Common Loon fly by then saw a males and three females diving along the sunken pilings.

We decided to go to the Hawk Platform down by Fort Hancock.  We heard a White-throated Sparrow on the walk to the platform but saw little else.  People were there looking for Snowy Owls but we did not see them.  We saw Gannets flying in the distance and watched a flock of geese land in a nearby pond.  There was a Mute Swan in a pond and some Grackles perched in a tree. Some Crows were perched in an Osprey nest.  As we walked back to the cars we heard a Song Sparrow in the brush.  All in all it was a great day spent with very nice people!

Bird Walks From 2016: 

Wild Birds Unlimited
Bird Walk at Lake Takanassee
Saturday November 12, 2016

Note: This article was written by our employee Ed!

It was a bright sunny morning with temperature around 42 with a light breeze coming out of the west. Seven brave bird watchers (including our naturalists, Mark and Karen Silva) all met at the railroad overpass at the end of North Lake Drive (next to St. Michaels Church) in Long Branch. As we gathered a few Song Sparrows greeted us with some nice chatter. In the main Lake Takanassee area we saw Canada Geese, Herring Gulls, Northern Gannet and a Mute Swan.

We then traveled under the railroad overpass to a series of small and large ponds which stretch all the way to Monmouth University. At the first small secluded pond we saw a pair of Pied-billed Grebe, some Mallard Ducks and a lone American Widgeon.

While walking through the small path around the first two small ponds we were greeted by several Mockingbirds and Blue Jays.

The third pond was long and ran through a residential neighborhood. The pond had dense bushes running along the pond which housed White-throated Sparrows, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Cardinals. In the surrounding area we also saw Mourning Doves, European Starlings, Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Turkey Vulture and a Catbird. While walking along the pond we saw a Red-tailed Hawk and a Sharp-shinned Hawk flying overhead.

In the remaining ponds we saw one Great Blue Heron and American Coot. Then several Hooded Mergansers, Gadwalls, more Canada Geese and Mute Swans. We also did not see but heard a White-breasted Nuthatch chattering in a tree.

Upon returning to our cars around 12 noon we witnessed an American Crow make numerous dive bombing attacks on a Sharp-shinned Hawk. What made this scene so interesting was that this interaction was carefully being watched by a Red-tailed Hawk flying higher up from the action.

At the start of the walk we all didn’t feel that we would see very many different types of birds but with the expert help from Mark and Karen Silva everyone left with a smile on their face.  

 

Wild Birds Unlimited
Bird Walk at Sandy Hook
Saturday September 17, 2016

Note:  This article was written by our employee Joanne!

It was a beautiful sunny, cool morning in September. A perfect day for a bird walk at Sandy Hook. The sun was bright, the winds were light.  The  eleven of us met at Guardian Park.  In the parking lot we saw Goldfinches fly by and a Herring Gull had landed on the grassy field near the bay. Double-crested Cormorants and a juvenile Double-crested Cormorant flew overhead. Two young girls with their mom were eagerly awaiting their first birding experience!

We started down the bike path and began seeing Cedar Waxwings darting back and forth across the path. Flocks of them were perched high in the trees and we got a good view of a smaller group perched in a dead tree.  There were many Catbirds making their catlike calls as we continued down the path. We caught site of them in the brush along the path. The familiar calls of the Carolina Wrens and Towees were in the distance but we did not spot them. We did see a Downy Woodpecker along the path and a Flicker deeper in the woods. The girls seemed to enjoy the challenge of spotting the birds with the binoculars before they had to head off to a soccer game.  As we continued down the path  it was very quiet. Occasionally we would see another Catbird or a few Cedar Waxwings. There was the call of the White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireo but we did not catch a glimpse. We wound our way around to the bay. The tide was high so there was no bird activity that we could see along the marshes. Shore birds like to feed at low tide.

On the way back along the bike path we saw a Mourning Dove perched in a tree and a Turkey Vulture soaring overhead. Soon after we spotted a Merlin in a tree and a Sharp-shinned Hawk soaring. As we got closer to the end of the path we spotted several Osprey flying, one with a fish in his talons. In the brush at the end of the walk we saw Song Sparrows and a House Sparrow. Although it was a quiet birding day we enjoyed each other's company.  Mark and Karen make the experience interesting and never mind answering all of our questions. We are looking forward to the next walk here at Sandy Hook on October 22. I wonder what we'll see!

 

 

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Thompson Park

Saturday June 11, 2016

Note:  This article was written by our employee Joanne because David couldn't make the walk.  Great job on the write-up!

It was a beautiful cool morning in June when 16 of us met at the Activity Center in Thompson Park for a bird walk.  Mark and Karen Silva led us first to the Purple Martin houses where we observed a lot of activity.  We then walked down the path behind the activity center towards the small pond. We saw Canada Geese and Mark explained that they were brought to New Jersey to hunt, not knowing that the young would not be able to migrate back to Canada without being taught by their parents.

Across the path we saw Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats.  All of a sudden Mark realized in the stream below there was a juvenile Red-winged Blackbird that appeared to be stuck in the mud. He watched for a while then realized it was not able to get out so he proceeded down the rocky bank to help the bird. When he attempted to free the bird he realized that a snapping turtle had hold of its wing!  Mark reached for a heavier branch and freed the bird. We continued to watch the Yellow Warblers and Mark found a nest in the brambles.

As we walked back toward the main road we saw a Northern Rough-winged Swallow, a Baltimore Oriole and a Chimney Swift. We observed a Song Sparrow catching an insect in flight and landing on the power line. We saw Turkey Vultures across the field and a Red-tailed Hawk being chased by Red-winged Black birds. The Red-tailed Hawk was missing some feathers from its wing.

As we got closer to Marlu Lake we saw a Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse and saw a Mute Swan on the lake. There were a lot of fishermen kayaking on the lake. We headed up the hill and wound our way around to the wooded path behind the lake. We heard a White-eyed Vireo Cedar Waxwingbut didn't see it. Then we caught sight of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. As we were watching Mark looked up and spotted a Baltimore Oriole nest hanging in the branch of a tall tree along the edge of the lake! We all got a good look at that. Walking back we saw Cedar Waxwings in a clump of trees. 

As we walked past the lake we saw a Downy Woodpecker.  Landing on the ground along the grass line was a female Baltimore Oriole. We got to look at her for a while.  On our way down the gravel road we saw a female and male bluebird perched on the speed limit sign!

It was getting warmer by this time and it was 12 noon. We said our goodbyes and look forward to the next walk in September at Sandy Hook! Thank you Mark and Karen for a wonderful day!

Wild Birds Unlimited
Bird Walk at Sandy Hook
Saturday May 14, 2016

Yellow WarblerNineteen of us gathered at Sandy Hook on a sunny Spring morning for a walk led by Mark and Karen Silva.  From the parking lot, we were able to see Double-crested Cormorants and Turkey Vultures flying by. Red-winged Blackbirds were calling, as were lots of Laughing Gulls.  Several Chimney Swifts flew over us as well.

The open area right across from the parking lot was a bit quiet, although we heard SongChipping and White-throated Sparrows calling.Common Yellowthroat
Sightings started picking up dramatically as we started down the bike path.  A Scarlet Tanager was perched high in a tree in the distance.  A Black-billed Cuckoo was visible right off the path.  A female Baltimore Oriole was picking at the caterpillars in a tent caterpillar nest.  Further down the path, a male Baltimore Oriole gave us a great view.  We saw three types of Vireo (White-eyedWarbling and Red-eyed).  Catbirds, Robins, Towhees, Cardinals and House Wrens serenaded us as we walked the path.  We got a brief glimpse of a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Several Cedar Waxwings were feeding high in a tree.  An Osprey flew low overhead, with a fish in its talons.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk also flew by the path.

Bird BandingWe saw several Warblers on the path.  There were lots of American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers.  We also saw a Northern Parula, Canada Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Magnolia Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warblers. We stopped by the bird banding Willetstation, which was quite active.  We saw them banding a Magnolia Warbler, American Redstart, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird and a Catbird. We crossed the street to look at the cove.  We saw Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and a Willet. We called it quits at noon, exhausted but excited at all the great birds we saw. (Note: all pictures are stock photos courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited.) 

Wild Birds Unlimited
Walk at Sandy Hook
Saturday April 23, 2016

Thirteen of us gathered at Sandy Hook on a grey, windy early Spring day for a walk led by Mark and Karen Silva. We were immediately treated to a Merlin perched on Red-winged Blackbirda tree near us. The Merlin flew by and landed on another tree in the distance. This went on for 2-3 more times during the course of the walk. From the parking lot, we were able to see Double-crested Cormorants flying by, as well as Black Vultures and Turkey Vultures. We crossed the street and looked into the bay, where two pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers in breeding plumage gave us a good viewing. Tree Swallows flew overhead. Red-winged Blackbirds sang and called all morning long.
 
White-throated SparrowWe crossed the street and looked in the open area right across from the parking lot. There are usually lots of sparrows there, but we only saw (and heard) White-throated Sparrows and Song Sparrows on this walk. As we started down the path towards the bicycle path, we saw lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Towhees. Towhees were singing all day, providing good examples of their call. An Osprey circled low to the ground over our head. The only warblers we saw were Yellow-rumped Warblers. We heard the first House Wrens of the season, but we didn't see any of them. OspreyCardinals, Robins, and a Hairy Woodpecker were all present. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew by the path. We stopped by the bird banding station, but it was a very quiet day there. There were some Fish Crows and American Crows in the area, and they provided good examples of their distinctive calls.
 
We crossed the street again to look at the cove. There were lots of Brant there, and a few of us saw (and heard) American Oystercatchers. It started raining at 11:30, so we called it an early day. We didn t see a huge amount of migrants, but it was still another enjoyable day on Sandy Hook watching birds. 

Bird Walks From 2015:

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Lake Takanassee

Saturday November 14, 2015

Twelve of us gathered at Lake Takanassee on a windy, chilly day as Mark and Karen Silva led us on a winter waterfowl walk. 

We met at the  main lake on Lake Drive and were immediately rewarded with a Peregrine Falcon gliding over the lake and landing in a tree nearby.  A Pied-billed Grebe was seen close to the shore.  In the distance, we saw American Coots, Canada GeeseBlack-backed Gulls and Mute Swans.

We walked under the trestle bridge to the next lake and got good views of American WigeonsMallards and a pair of Wood Ducks.

Moving onto the next lake, we saw more Wood Ducks.  Gadwalls and Hooded Mergansers also gave us a great show.  A Double-crested Cormorant was on the lake and then flew away.  Along the shore, we saw a Downy Woodpecker up close.  We heard and saw lots of White-throated Sparrows and House Sparrows in the bushes.

By this point we were all really cold, so some of the group left.  A few of us took a ride to the ocean a few blocks south of Lake Takannassee.  There were lots of Northern Gannets flying over the water.  Their long wing span and black-tipped wings were a great way to end the walk.

All in all, a  very enjoyable way to spend a chilly, windy November morning.

Wood Ducks (stock photo)

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Sandy Hook

Saturday October 17, 2015

Twelve of us gathered at Guardian Park on a sunny, windy day as Mark Silva led us on our second Fall Bird Walk.  Bird activity started off slow, but we saw some very nice birds by the end of the walk.

White ThroatOur first stop was a grassy, open area across the street from the parking lot.  We were treated to Song Sparrows and (for most of us), our first glimpse of returning White-throated Sparrows (left photo).  As we headed south along the bicycle path, we saw lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers (right photo) - by far, the most populous bird of the walk.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew low and gave us a great view.  A Merlin also flew by.  Continuing along the path, we saw a Wood Pewee.  A lingering Osprey flew by.  A few of us got to see a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; it was calling too, so some of us got to hear the call.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker (pictured below) also gave us a good view.  Several Gray Catbirds called and appeared along the path.

We crossed the street to look at the Bay.  What a smart decision!  We were simultaneously treated to a Harrier and a Merlin flying by us.  A Belted Kingfisher was chattering noisily and gave us a great view.  And right in front of us in the reeds was a Green Heron (photo below) so close that you didn’t need binoculars to appreciate it.

Lots of great birds came out as we took the path back to the parking lot.  Ruby-crowned Kinglets were everywhere.  An Eastern Phoebe perched in the trees.  Several Warblers were also present, including Black and White, Black-throated Blue, Common Yellowthroat, and of course lots of Yellow-rumps.  One of our last sightings along the path was a Hermit Thrush (pictured below) in the brush along the path.

We parted around noon after another successful Fall Bird Walk at Sandy Hook.

Please note:  Photos are stock photos, and not from our walk.

 Hermit Thrush
1. Hermit Thrush
 Green Heron
  2. Green Heron
 Red-bellied Woodpecker
3. Red-bellied Woodpecker

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Sandy Hook

Saturday September 19, 2015

For the first of three walks planned for the 2015 fall migration season, about 12 of us, along with naturalists Mark and Karen Silva, met at the Guardian Park parking lot at Sandy Hook, NJ, on the northern-most tip of the Jersey Shore.  While the weather started off with moderate fog and an overcast sky, it began clearing up around 9:30; by 10 am it had turned into a rather warm and sunny day.  While bird activity started off slow, it soon picked up, and we were treated to a wide variety of sightings. In addition to us bird watchers, a large number of bike riders were out this day.

Mourning DoveAt the parking lot, two Herring Gulls were on the ground posing for us, as were a few Pigeons. As we headed south along the bicycle path, we saw some House Sparrows flying in and out of the brush. Continuing along the path, there was at first rather little bird activity, however we did hear numerous Gray Catbird calls and heard and saw a Mourning Dove. Mark pointed out a Wren nest constructed inside the glass portion of a street lamp, but it had been abandoned a while back and no Wrens were observed this day. Catbirds calls continued, some clearly nearby while others more distant; after a while, one or two of Gray Catbirds finally revealed themselves to us.

At the fork in the bike path, finally things began to pick up. On the left side of the path were two dead trees hosting over 50 adult and juvenile Cedar Waxwings.  What a beautiful sight to behold!  Initially, due to the placement of the sun, it was difficult for us to easily view the waxwings' mask-like faces, however after a while, a few of them began shifting position, giving us some excellent views. After about 20 minutes observing the waxwings, we continued down the path and were treated to an excellent view of a Black-and-white Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Red-eyed Vireo, in rapid succession. This was followed by a view of a Downy Woodpecker.

We then headed west, towards the bay. A Robin was seen in the clearing. Then a real treat: looking out at the water, a Belted Kingfisher flew by and landed on the end of a branch of a dead tree, providing us with a fantastic view! The bird sat there for a while, flew off somewhere for a few minutes, then returned again to show off some more. We all got a chance to view this most beautiful bird. Then we observed a Clapper Rail standing on a grassy area.    

We next took a sandy path right by the water. Many people were on the beach that day, with quite a few dogs in the water, and a number of people were net-fishing or rod-fishing.  OspreyAn Osprey was seen flying overhead while a warbler was jumping around in the brush.

As we headed back along the bike path, toward the parking lot, we again passed the dead trees hosting the Waxwings. After about 5 minutes of watching them again, a Merlin flew by and landed in the dead tree, giving us a great view of itself while scaring off  the waxwings.  As we continued north, a juvenile Cedar Waxwing, perched on a low branch, permitted many of us to approach to within about 6 feet; it was as interested in us as we were about him.  A Red-winged Blackbird was next seen, as was a Song Sparrow.  As we approached the parking area, many Tree Swallows were seen flying over the brush, feeding on insects. We parted around noon following this most enjoyable walk.

Please note:  Photos are stock photos, and not from our walk.

 Red-winged Blackbird
1. Red-winged Blackbird
 Common Yellowthroat
  2. Common Yellowthroat
 Song Sparrow
3. Song Sparrow

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Thompson Park, Lincroft, NJ

Saturday June 13, 2015

Twelve people joined Mark and Karen Silva for a Spring Bird Walk in Thompson Park.  It was a beautiful, albeit hot, late Spring morning. We saw a great variety of birds. 

While we were gathering at the parking lot of the Activity Center, we got a great view of Cedar Waxwings  on a dead branch. Behind the Activity Center we got to see Yellow Warblers, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Downy Woodpecker feeding its baby in a nest hole of a dead tree. Along the path towards the Purple Martin house we saw Tree Swallows swooping by and feeding on flying insects. The Purple Martin house was full this morning, with at least 20 of them perched by the house or nearby. 

Downy WoodpeckerAlong the path heading towards Marlu Lake, we got to view more Cedar Waxwings and we heard and saw Song Sparrows.  At the lake there were a couple of dogs cooling off in the water and lots of swallows: Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows and Rough-winged Swallows 

We continued along the path behind Marlu Lake where we were treated to excellent views of a male and female Indigo Bunting.  We saw a female Baltimore Oriole flying off in the distance and then stumbled across a closely woven, hanging Oriole nest in a tree by the lake. We also heard Field Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, and Yellow Warblers.

Finally, we took the path back to the lake, where we saw a Gray Catbird, a Willow Flycatcher, a male Oriole, and a Great-crested Flycatcher. By around 11:30, it was getting very hot, so we said our good-byes for the day.

Please note:  Photos are stock photos, and not from our walk.

 Indigo Bunting
1. Indigo Bunting
 Gray Catbird
2. Gray Catbird
 Yellow Warbler
 3. Yellow Warbler

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Thompson Park

Saturday May 23, 2015

 Eighteen people joined Mark and Karen Silva for a Spring Bird Walk in Thompson Park.  It was a gorgeous, slightly cool Spring morning.  Lots of great birds made for an interesting walk.

We met in the Activity Center parking lot.  Purple Martins soared overhead and perched on the gourd houses next to the parking lot.  Bluebirds perched in the trees nearby.  Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts flew all around us all morning long.

We started walking the path behind the dog park, where we saw and heard Song Sparrows and Chipping SparrowsCedar Waxwings were sighted at several stops along the way.  Our three warbler sightings were along this path - Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and a Blackpoll Warbler.  A White-breasted Nuthatch was working its way down a tree trunk.

We next took the road to Marlu Lake.  Along the way, we saw several Baltimore Orioles.  An Indigo Bunting gave us a great view.  Catbirds, Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds and Carolina Wrens called all around us.

We took the  loop trail by Marlu Lake, where we heard and saw Field Sparrows.  We also saw Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Least Flycatcher and a Willow Flycatcher.  An Orchard Oriole gave us a great view for a while.  As we  returned to Marlu Lake, we heard and saw a Belted Kingfisher.

All in all, it was a great walk on a sunny, Spring day.

Please note:  Photos are stock photos, and not from our walk.

 Eastern Bluebird
1. Eastern Bluebird
 White-breasted Nuthatch
2. White-breasted Nuthatch
 Baltimore Oriole
 3. Baltimore Oriole

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird Walk at Sandy Hook

Saturday April 11, 2015

Twelve people joined birding leaders Mark and Karen Silva for our first Bird Walk of 2015 at Sandy Hook. The sun was out, the moon was setting, the sky was clear, the weather was moderate, and the wind was blowing.

Cedar WaxwingOur walk began in the parking lot at Gardian Park, where we had an excellent view of five Double-crested Cormorant flying overhead. We started walking south, down the bike path, which cut down on the wind and gave us a great look at a Brown Creeper heading up a tree trunk. A Red-winged Blackbird was heard calling. On the ground we saw a Hermit Thrush and a few American Robins while overhead flew several Turkey Vultures. Two Osprey flew by, as did a Merlin. As we approached a team of bird banders, we saw an Eastern Phoebe. Since the bird banding activity was rather slow this day, we continued down the path, turning right towards the bay. Before we got to the road, we were treated to an excellent view of a group of 4 or 5 beautiful Cedar Waxwings huddled together on a tree branch. A Chipping Sparrow was hopping around on a fence and a Northern Flicker flew by. 

Osprey

We crossed the road to the bay and observed two American Oystercatcher on the sand and wadding into the water; we also saw a Laughing Gull.  As we continued down the sandy path, we saw a Red-breasted Merganser and an Eared Grebe bobbing in the water, out in the distance. As we turned around and headed back to the road, we again saw two Osprey, only this time we watched them both land on their nest in the bay. 
As we headed back along the bike path towards the parking lot, some of us saw a Tree Swallow and an American Kestrel.  Several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were actively hopping and flying around in tree and an Eastern Towhee was heard calling.
While it seemed slow at at the beginning of the walk, we were treated to quite a few good sightings this day.

Please note:  Photos are stock photos, and not from our walk.  We wish our photography skills were that good!

 American Kestrel
1. American Kestrel
 Chipping Sparrow
2. Chipping Sparrow
 Turkey Vulture
 3. Turkey Vulture