Monday, August 20, 2007

Cape May Meadows are HOT

Before this morning's CMBO walk at TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge even started, we were standing in the parking lot with the group and a sparrow with white in its tail dropped into the ragweed east of the lot. I told the group, "We'll start officially in a minute, but we have a bird to track down. It's a sparrow with white in the tail, and that means whatever it is, it's good."

It turned out to be a frustratingly shy immature Lark Sparrow with an unusual tail pattern apparently due to molt; the tail pattern resembled a Vesper's, but the face pattern certainly did not. It seemed to be missing some inner tail feathers, reducing the white-cornered tail effect.

Most of the folks on the walk did not get a good look at the sparrow, so the adult Bald Eagle that flew over chasing an Osprey while we waited for the sparrow to reappear was a nice consolation bird. We proceeded out the path leading east from the lot looking intently for the sparrow, and I heard a hard zzzt. While I was processing the sound and continuing to search for the Lark Sparrow, Karl Lukens called out, "Dickcissel! Female Dickcissel," and there it was perched up on the reeds to the right of the trail. We all got great scope looks at this bird, and as we watched, a second Dickcissel "zzzt-ed" overhead. Since I heard this morning of a second Lark Sparrow at a feeder in Cape May, we seem to have a bit of a western invasion going on.

Not exactly an invasion, but 8 Green Herons in one small area east of the east trail seems like a lot. Four Green-winged Teal in the plover pond are the first for fall in Cape May that I've heard of, and the swallow accumulation on and along the dunes was impressive.

The full list for the morning, which included a decent selection of shorebirds and enough juveniles thereof to indicate that the juveniles are solidly "in," is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 8/20/07
Notes: CMBO's Monday walk
Number of species: 61
Canada Goose 25
Mute Swan 2
Mallard 30
Green-winged Teal 4
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 8 Herons and egrets increased again - due to rain or???
Snowy Egret 2
Green Heron 8
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 3
Osprey 4
Bald Eagle 1 adult
Semipalmated Plover 15
Killdeer 1 where'd they all go?
American Oystercatcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 10
Solitary Sandpiper 2 heard only
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Ruddy Turnstone 3
Sanderling 100
Semipalmated Sandpiper 10
Least Sandpiper 30 many juvs
Pectoral Sandpiper 4
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Laughing Gull 50
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 15
Great Black-backed Gull 25
Common Tern 5
Least Tern 20
Black Skimmer 5
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Eastern Kingbird 10
White-eyed Vireo 1 heard
American Crow 1
Purple Martin 50
Tree Swallow 1000
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 10
Bank Swallow 10
Barn Swallow 20
Carolina Wren 1
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 2
Cedar Waxwing 10
Yellow Warbler 10
American Redstart 2 flyovers
Common Yellowthroat 2
Lark Sparrow 1 imm.; weird tail pattern looked like Vesper
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 5
Dickcissel 2 1 female, one called elsewhere while we were watching the female
Bobolink 20
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Brown-headed Cowbird 20
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 20
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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