On this day in 1956, W. Parker, Ed Bloor and Charles Rogers found a Black-throated Gray Warbler at Tuckerton in Ocean County.
September is the peak month in NJ and most nearby states for this dapper-looking Western stray. NJ has 19 records of the species at this writing, nine of which are September records. Two-thirds of these occur in the span between 20 September and the end of the month. Most of the rest of the state's records come from fall, going into December in two cases; there are a couple of "early" records for August as well. There are only two spring records. In other words, this species shows a temporal pattern typical of a Western vagrant, although its occurrence peaks earlier in the season than the many Western species that have made November a month to be reckoned with for rarity-chasers.
No fewer than four individuals have been banded at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, while there are seven accepted records from Cape May (and Sibley 1997 lists two more reports) (Hanson 2002-2003). Although at first glance, the species shows up in the expected coastal vagrant traps, there are also six inland records scattered across the state from Franklin in Sussex County to Mickleton in Gloucester County. One real oddity is that the species has never been recorded at Sandy Hook, which would seem like an obvious site for it to turn up.
Black-throated Gray Warbler is not quite annual in NJ, but it is a regular rarity, so most birders will get a chance to chase one sooner rather than later.
Hanson, Jennifer W. 2002-2003. The Status of Black-throated Gray and Townsend's Warblers in New Jersey. Records of New Jersey Birds 28:24-78.
Sibley, David. 1997. The Birds of Cape May. New Jersey Audubon Society, Bernardsville, NJ. Second edition.