|Harlequin Ducks at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Harlequin Ducks was named after their beautiful plumage with almost comical white markings on heads and wings. They are agile swimmers and
divers. They love rough currents, both in their breeding sites in the north Canada and at their wintering places. Barnegat Inlet is the only inlet in the
40 mile stretch of the New Jersey coast, and the out let of Metedeconk River, Tom's River, Cedar Creek, Forked River and Cedar River. I t has been
reported that several Harleguin Ducks has been returning to Branegat inlet in the recent winters. Last February I visited and saw no Harlequin ducks.
This time I decide to go before it gets too cold. So on December 30th, 2007 I paid another visit. In the parking lot, I overheard people talked about
how pretty the duck was. They even showed me the picture of one near the south end of the park. I rushed over, there was a lone Harlequin
protected by half a dozen of Brants, flipping, ducking having a loveliest time. Further north down the jetty, another group of seven Harlequin ducks
were spotted and followed as they swam their way south then flu back to the north end of the jetty again.
The total north America Harlequin duck population is less than 2000 now. The reason for the dwindling initially was hunting, more recently other
reasons such as diminished habitat, are the cause. I sure hate to see them extinct. Such lively and pretty birds.
The female is mostly brown with
two or three white spots on the
A common Loon floats and dives
alone along the jetty.
A common merganser flu in and
landed near the lighthouse.
To the west of the
lighthouse, the state
park owns another
peninsula. As I first got
in the peninsula and to
the east is what I
thought being Brant,
The photo showed me
that they were common
On January 9th, 2008, a nice and warm day, I visited the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park again, and
this group of Brant having some disputes.
The two females in the front and the two males in the back seemed to have been enjoying themselves. All of a sudden, they took off, seems hard to
believe that these small wings can support those fat bodies. At the same time, they made chirps like mice. No wonder they were also called "sea
Ain't she a beauty?
Purple Sandpipers stay near the rocky coast only. They fly in groups and feed on rocks covered with mollusks. They live in Arctic and subarctic
Canada and fly south to S. Carolina on the Atlantic coast.