Thursday, September 20, 2007

A brief note on this "hawk-watching thing," reports from here and there, and a note on the Cape May Meadows closure

I've been in the north the past couple days, as in north of Cape May. Wednesday I had the pleasure of hawk-watching from Montclair much of the day, with the ace counter there, namely Bruce McWhorter, and the ace-est of counters and morale-boosters there, namely Else Greenstone, with her husband Wayne and a host of other NJAS'ers. The flight was, to put it politely, on the slow side, but we did observe passage Sharp-shinneds, Broad-wingeds, harriers, kestrels, and the local red-tails and coops. Montclair had a 4,000+ day Sunday, but the east winds have pushed the broad-winged flight to western sites.

Somebody asked me about the whole hawk-watching business - I guess it is a bit puzzling at times, getting excited about infrequent pin-dot views of migrating raptors. And then there are the micro-dots and nano-dots. . .

It either hooks you or it doesn't, I guess. Those dots are raptors, the kings and queens of the sky, and yeah they're far away, but they have also come from far away, and have far to go. To one high sharpie I called out for the benefit of the crowd, "Where'd you come from?" And then joked that it answered: "Northern Ontario." Which very well might be true.

Our current weather, with the stationary high, has produced somewhat stationary birds, and only good birding, rather than exceptional.

Karl Lukens reports from Hidden Valley:

"Slow land birding this morning with highlight being the Black-throated Blue Warbler, a couple of Red-eyed Vireos and Field Sparrows, and brief looks at 2 Green Herons. We do need another cold front."

Karl's Hidden Valley list:

to 9/20/2007 ~ in Hidden Valley ~ New Jersey Checklist ~ 34 seen

Great Egret 5
Green Heron 2
Canada Goose 100
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 6
American Herring Gull 1
Laughing Gull 3
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 10
Tree Swallow 8
Barn Swallow 2
Cedar Waxwing 6
Carolina Wren 4
House Wren 1
Gray Catbird 3
Northern Mockingbird 8
American Robin 8
Carolina Chickadee 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 10
European Starling 15
Red-eyed Vireo 3
American Goldfinch 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Field Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 4
Bobolink 8
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 2

Bert Hixon remarks of Cape May Point today:

"The highlight was a (possible American) Crow killing and decapitating a peep of undetermined species in Bunker Pond. Very few terns, both Teal, N. Shoveler, lots of A. Kestrels and Osprey about, though."

Finally, this just in from Brent Burke, one of our friends at The Nature Conservancy:

"The Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge will be closed at minimum through the end of the week and there is a possibility that the closure may last through a portion of next week."

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