After his enforced hiatus during the snowstorm, Assateague was back on the prowl last night, cruising much of lower Barnegat Bay. He flew across Barnegat Inlet to Island Beach, then made a number of extensive overwater flights to the north, sometimes stopping (as has been his habit) on channel markers a mile or two offshore. How much of that was exploration, and how much was hunting, we can’t say.
By daylight he was sitting on the rooftop of a home in a waterside development between Forked River and Laurel Harbor, NJ. He stayed there until about 10:30 this morning, when he flew out into the salt marshes to the east — I can’t help but wonder if something spooked him, but he may also just have gotten restless. The last fix was 2:32 p.m., when his transmitter made its daily call-in with the past 24 hours’ worth of data.
We still haven’t gotten a report from Buena Vista’s transmitter in five days, but a birder reported seeing a snowy owl perched on hay bales at the intersection of two dirt section roads just where BV likes to hang out, so our assumption that the cloudy, snowy weather has curtailed the transmitter’s charge (and thus its ability to reach a cell tower) seems to be correct. I imagine a good sunny day, which the folks in Wisconsin would also enjoy, will bring it back on online with the stored data.
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