Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (CMMBR)

Well this morning I wanted to finally see what the new and improved Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge was all about. Those of you who have visited Cape May in the last 6-8 months will remember that this area had been closed off due to a habitat restoration project that was taking place. Many of you know this area as the South Cape May Meadows or simply the "Meadows."
Well the area has been re-opened for about a month now and I was ashamed to say that I had yet to visit the site. In fact along with the new look they have re-branded the property as the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge.

All I can say is that they have done one heck of a job. Only time will tell how effective the restoration truly was, as is the case with all restoration projects. But from the start it looks like this could bring back the shorebird shows that I always hear everyone talking about. With a bit more water we have the making for a fall shorebird wonderland. If you'd like to read a little more about this site check out the link I found to TNC's website.

One note about the "new" refuge is that there is now an access fee. You are able to purchase daily or yearly passes. Daily is $3 for member of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and $5 for nonmembers or yearly for $10 members of TNC and $15 for non-members. For further info contact TNC at (609) 861-0600.

My intention with this post is to provide a pictorial highlight of my two or so hours birding there. I tried my hand at some digiscoping again after years of not bothering and I didn't want to carry my other equipment around. It is way tougher than I remembered to hold the camera up at the right angle to the eyepiece. Guess I'll have to look into one of those digital camera adapter we sell here at Northwood.

Anyway, I don't profess to be a Kevin Karlson or Lloyd Spitalnick but the photos get my point across. And that point is......when you come to Cape May you have to bird CMMBR.


This is a looking S-SSE from the east trail up near the bend in the trail turning away from Sunset Blvd. In other words I am walking toward the beach at this point. Still needs some water.
You have to get a shot of the Cape May Lighthouse.

Here's a view from atop the new raised platform which is nice and high, gives a great 360 view of the property. This is looking in the same direction as two pictures back- SSE.

This shot is looking, again from atop the platform, east to northeast. There were good numbers of egrets and herons in the area today. Birds noted will be listed below but let me say first that I counted up to 90 Snowy egrets this morning. Try as I might I was not able to turn any into a Little egret!

Here's a group of those snowys with a Glossy ibis mixed in for good measure.

A couple of Black-crowned night-herons joined the group looking for a few morsels.

This is by far one of my worst digiscoping attempts. But see if you can find the Short-billed dowicthers in the photo. They are not evident here but Least sandpiper, Great and Lesser yellowlegs, Killdeer and Solitary sandpiper were also near by.

Headed out to the beach to see what was out on the sand. Another view of the lighthouse.

Pretty much all of the Piping plover nests that will hatch, have. While I didn't spy any little fluff balls running around I did happen to find this bird relaxing in the sun.

That doesn't mean that the beach was devoid of chicks. While I didn't see any piping plover chicks I did find these. Can you guess what species these are?

Give up? Ok, I'll take it easy on you. After all this isn't the photo quiz section but you should still check that part of the site out as well.

Ok, here's the adult but I'm still going to make you identify the bird on your own.

Heading back up toward Sunset Blvd. on the west trail side, view looking north-westish.

There were a couple of passerine migrants in evidence, a couple of Yellow warblers flew over at about 8:45 along the dunes. I also have it on good authority that there was an adult and imm. Redheaded woodpecker at the Cape May Point State Park this morning.

Some of the last birds I found were a Green heron and another snowy on the west trail.

Birds observed at the CMMBR this morning in no particular order;

Snowy egret- approx. 90

Great egret- approx 10

Great blue heron- approx. 4-5

Green heron

Glossy ibis- 2

Black-crowned night-heron -2

Least Sandpiper- a few

Short-billed dowitcher- approx. 10

Solitary sandpiper- at least one

Killdeer- many

Greater yellowlegs

Lesser yellowlegs

Common tern

Forster's tern

Least tern

Piping plover

Laughing gull

Herring gull

Great black-backed gull

Yellow warbler

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