For many years the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission has gone birding in early January to search for as many different species of birds as we can find in town. It is what is called a "BIG DAY" by birders and is basically a day-long avian treasure hunt. This year the BIG DAY will be on Saturday January 19th. Over the years we have found all kinds of great birds, from diving ducks, to sparrows to Bald eagles. No BIG DAY is ever the same and we just never know what we might find.
This year we are encouraging anyone that wants to join us to come along. We will be visiting all kinds of different habitats, including Duhernal Lake (great for waterfowl and herons), Farrington Lake (great for ducks), the Pig Farm (great for sparrows and other skulking songbirds), Heavenly Farms (hopefully bluebirds, pippits and who knows what else), woodlands like Jamesburg Woods (for winter songbirds), farmfields (horned lark?), Edgeboro Landfill (raptors) and anywhere else we think we will find some cool birds. Regardless of the birds we find, it will be an opportunity to explore some areas around town that many people don't regularly visit.
The only requirements are an interest in birds and having your own binoculars. Boy Scouts might find the Big Day useful for Birding Merit Badge too. We will have a spotting scope for distant birds and field guides to help with ID's. We will caravan around town but will not be providing transportation, so consider carpooling with a friend.
We will probably meet about 8 a.m. in a parking lot somewhere in East Brunswick but we haven't worked out those details yet. Check the Friends website for any weather issues and meeting details on Friday January 18th. We are also working out details on how people can join us during the day if they can't make it in the morning.
Last year the Friends also developed an online field guide to common birds around town. It is a good resource for many of the birds we will likely find and a great guide for birds at your backyard feeders. It features photos and ecological notes about each species.
As with all Friends events and programs, the BIG DAY is free. Consider joining the Friends too, it's also FREE! Membership takes only seconds on the Friends website which also features loads of information about nature in and around East Brunswick.