Monday, July 16, 2007

Migrant Shorebirds and Bobolinks, Least Tern First Flights

This morning's walk at the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, a.k.a. the Meadows, produced many flyby shorebirds and some on the ground (complete list below.) The highlight was a breeding plumage Stilt Sandpiper, which could be the same individual found at Bunker Pond last Thursday. If it was, it seemed to have less red-orange on the ear coverts than it did only 4 days ago, so I'm not sure.

The fledgling Least Terns were another highlight. They are beginning to take their maiden flights, stretching to 20 yards or so before they crash-land, still staying within the roped-off colony. The adults entice their offspring to fly by carrying fish nearly to the barred-backed young, then flying up and away again. We saw both spearing and sand eels brought to the colony.

Of note were two recently fledged juvenile Herring Gulls, very fresh and neat on the back and with noticeably shorter bills than the adults. I've heard that Herring Gulls have been nesting on top of some of the buildings along Ocean Drive, this could be the closest place they are nesting to Cape May Point and the origin of these birds, but there is no way to be sure.

Today's list:

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 7/16/07
Notes: CMBO's Monday walk. Counts ending in 5 or 0 are estimates, not actual. Not all birds were seen by all people.
Number of species: 55
Canada Goose 30
Gadwall 2
Mallard 40
Northern Bobwhite 1
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 10 Increased from previous weeks, have more fish moved into the meadows?
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 3
Semipalmated Plover 1
Piping Plover 3
Killdeer 5
American Oystercatcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 12
Lesser Yellowlegs 7
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Sanderling 8
Least Sandpiper 15
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 20 Many flybys, 3 on ground
Laughing Gull 200
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 1st summer
Great Black-backed Gull 50
Common Tern 10
Forster's Tern 20
Least Tern 40 We observed some of the chicks making their first flights, crash-landing again within the colony.
Black Skimmer 3
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Fish Crow 4
Purple Martin 10
Tree Swallow 3
Barn Swallow 15
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling 60
Yellow Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 4
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Bobolink 14 mostly high overhead
Red-winged Blackbird 8
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
House Finch 2
House Sparrow 4
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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