Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flight after Front? Yes and No, plus a Black Tern and more on Merlins

That a front passed was completely evident this morning from the dike at Higbee - we could see the clear Canadian air coming in from the north, as visible in this sunrise shot, which points north east. Perhaps it passed too late in the night, perhaps it was too windy (winds were gusting to 20+ from the NW) - whatever the reason, the hoped for passerine flight did not materialize.

"We," by the way, consisted of me, Sam Galick, who will be CMBO's Morning Flight counter this fall, and a little later, Richard Crossley. Collectively we observed perhaps 100 Eastern Kingbirds, 50 Cedar Waxwings, and the barest smattering of warblers including a few redstarts, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow Warbler, and one Louisiana Waterthrush extracted by Richard. The dike's avian highlight was a pre-sunrise male Peregrine, sporting the narrow mustache and pale forehead of a tundra bird, which checked the spoil ponds for shorebirds before continuing north across the canal.

Shorebird numbers at Cape May Point State Park had indeed diminished from previous days, as Paul Lehman predicted in his Birding Forecast, but all the regular species that had been present this week were still available, including a couple Stilt Sandpipers and White-rumpeds. Semipalmted Plovers were definitely more abundant than of late there, while many of the long-legged birds like yellowlegs and Stilt s.p. seemed to have cleared out with the front.

A first year Bald Eagle came floating down the beach at the park, and turned inland well before reaching the lighthouse. Another highlight was this juvenile Black Tern (right, with a Common Tern) on one of the Bunker Pond mud islands.

Karl Lukens just emailed to report that CMBO's 7:30 Beanery walk was "Cool and breezy, but no large influx of warblers. Did find a handful of Redstarts, a Blue-wing, and Gnatcatcher, both orioles, and a spattering of raptors - Sharpie, Cooper's, Red-tail, both vultures and an Imm. Bald Eagle. " Likely the very seem eagle I saw at the park.

On Merlins, Tom Raub e-mailed to report that the PA Breeding Bird Atlas, just finishing its 4th year, confirmed Merlins nesting in 4 blocks, and they were "observed, possible or probable) in 6 others. Tom added, ". . . the original nesting was found in, I think, Bradford County in the extreme northwest corner of the state. . .Looking at the "view results" page as I did, it doesn't give exact locations, just blocks, but it looked to me like one of the confirmed nestings is roughly 40 miles west of Wilkes Barre! Edging closer to New Jersey!"

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