Insiders tip: The covered picnic area to the left of the hawkwatch platform can often be a great place to look for migrants (especially warblers) in the later morning and afternoon. Notice the enticing cedars and pines surrounding the pavilion. I have seen my fair share Cape May warblers in these cedars while I was the hawkcounter. In fact many times these bird will stick around for a day or two. Just this spring a Blackpoll warbler was in these cedars for at least three days.
The photos below were taken this morning during my walk and labeled "picture 3-6" and "picture 7" on my photo-shopped map. Sorry for any confusion I may have caused, I decided to throw in the lighthouse and martin house photo after I made up the map. To further confuse things the labels should read "picture 5-9" and "picture 10"
If you've been reading these posts long you know I am fond of the lighthouse shots. After all it is supposed to be the most photographed lighthouse in the country.
If you are interested in learning a bit more about Purple martin behavior, the state park is the place to go, as you can approach the martin nest boxes (with in a reasonable distance) and the birds really don't seem to care. They are 15 or so feet above you.
There is a nice little "sandbar", if you will, in Bunker pond which is attracting a nice variety of shorebirds and terns. Today while I was there: 15+ Short-billed dowitchers, a couple of Black skimmers flew in along with an American oystercatcher. A few least sandpipers, the above Pectoral sandpiper and a hand full of Lesser yellowlegs. The roosting tern flock, primarily consisting of Forster's terns, also held four Gull-billed terns.
Down along the trail (dirt road) between the ponds and the dune I had the good fortune to see a number of martins lined up along the rope fence. Not sure if it will show up in the photo but the bird in the middle is a bird hatched this year. The fleshy gape is still obvious in this bird.
Still numbers of Red admirals in the area. While the influx seems to have slowed down a bit, many can still be found pretty much anywhere on Cape Island that butterflies would typically be found.
Birds observed, in no particular order;
Great egret- many
Great blue heron- 15+
Mute swan- up to 50 total
Greater and Lesser yellowlegs
Spotted sandpiper- interestingly I had one in alternate and one in basic-ish plumage.
Great black-backed gull
Northern rough-winged swallow
Yellow warbler- calling as it flew over
Hooded warbler- heard in the woods across from the second observation platform on Lighthouse pond, Not the bird blind.