Thursday, August 16, 2007

Early Merlin and where are the herons?

This morning's walk at Cape May Point State Park was "interrupted" by a dark Merlin that blew overhead and briefly scattered the shorebird flock on Bunker Pond. Unfortunately, it came and went before most of the folks on the walk were able to see it, as Merlins sometimes do. August 16 is early for a Merlin, but not precedent setting. The earliest date listed in Sibley's Birds of Cape May is August 5. Merlins nest as close as the Adirondacks and I seem to remember something about recent nesting in northern Pennsylvania. Wouldn't it be fine to have them nesting in New Jersey someday!

One of the park's young Cooper's Hawks perched and preened in the far treeline, and then made an obvious hunting pass at a crow. All these baby birds have to learn, and the Coop learned that crows are too big and agile and it had best stick to easier quarry.

Shorebirds were thin and herons and egrets were even thinner, with only a single Snowy Egret. I wonder if the Cape May Point ponds are being fished out - with the water so low from the drought, fish have a hard time hiding.

This morning's full list is below.
Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 8/16/07
Notes: CMBO Thursday walk.
Number of species: 34

Mute Swan 25
Mallard 3
Snowy Egret 1 General lack of herons - has the drought let herons fish the ponds down here out?
Glossy Ibis 3
Osprey 3
Cooper's Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Semipalmated Plover 10
Killdeer 5
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper 30
Western Sandpiper 1
Least Sandpiper 30
Stilt Sandpiper 3
Short-billed Dowitcher 7
Laughing Gull 50
Great Black-backed Gull 15
Royal Tern 40 incl. 3 recently fledged juvs
Common Tern 40
Forster's Tern 20
Least Tern 75
Black Skimmer 5
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
Fish Crow 1
Purple Martin 50 all out of the colonies now
Tree Swallow 20
Barn Swallow 5
Northern Mockingbird 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 5
House Sparrow 5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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