Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weak front looses morning flight and hawk flight

The weak dry cold front cleared Philadelphia around 2 a.m. this morning, and seemed to clear Cape May around dawn - it was difficult to tell exactly what the front was doing, but by sunrise the air was much cooler and less humid, and the winds were north - northwest - northeast.

A few birds were moving south along the Delaware Bayshore in the wee hours of the morning (as heard over Del Haven), but at Cape May Point near St. Peters an hour before dawn there was a significant northbound flight audible overhead, including a number of warblers and Swainson's Thrush, Veery, and a few Gray-cheeked type notes. These birds, as we assume for our morning flight passerines in general, were re-orienting after finding themselves over the ocean or bay as dawn approached.

Morning flight at the Higbee dike was strong, with Palm Warblers, Blackpolls, and redstarts dominant but a very full mix of other species, including at least 3 Connecticuts and at least 19 species. The list below is intentionally very low on the dominant species, since Sam Galick will be posting morning flight results to e-bird and we'll have his results up on this site soon. My sense was that morning flight exceeded one thousand birds but not five thousand. It should be noted that shorebirds are accumulating in the spoil ponds at the dike. Sam told me this morning that White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin were there, along with the other species listed below.

The general feeling among birders I met was that though there were lots of flyovers, few passerines pitched into the trees at Higbee or elsewhere. Glen Davis, one of our interpreters, did pick a Clay-colored Sparrow out from the morning flight platform at Higbee.

The front also launched an excellent flight of hawks - sharpies in particular peppered the sky at the state park, with plenty of Cooper's Hawks and kestrels thrown in, along with a few broad-wingeds and some of the less common species. Three adult Bald Eagles sailed over, with two providing a close-range show of chasing and clashing. The first big flock of skimmers I've seen at the point appeared as well, 75 strong, and a number of skimmer birds-of-the-year foraged in Bunker Pond. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper spiced the nice shorebird mix at Bunker Pond as well.

Lists for Higbee and the state park are below, again note that Sam and Jessie will be providing the full count results for morning flight and the hawk watch later on under "View From the Field." My hawk counts are only estimates for three hours I was at the state park, and are quite conservative.

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 9/23/07
Notes: Counts are intentionally VERY conservative for the abundant species since Sam Galick will be ebirding a full count for the morning.
Number of species: 67
Canada Goose 10
Green-winged Teal 20
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 15
Osprey 10
Bald Eagle 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 20
American Kestrel 5
Merlin 5
Semipalmated Plover 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 40
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 20
Least Sandpiper 5
Pectoral Sandpiper 5
Stilt Sandpiper 5
Laughing Gull 25
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Caspian Tern 3
Mourning Dove 10
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 35
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Eastern Kingbird 2
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 10
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 500
Carolina Chickadee 1
Tufted Titmouse 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 20
Carolina Wren 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
European Starling 10
Cedar Waxwing 25
Tennessee Warbler 2
Nashville Warbler 1
Northern Parula 10
Yellow Warbler 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 2
Cape May Warbler 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 5
Blackburnian Warbler 5
Pine Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 50
Blackpoll Warbler 50
Black-and-white Warbler 5
American Redstart 30
Northern Waterthrush 5
Connecticut Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 2
Scarlet Tanager 5
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 10
Bobolink 20
Red-winged Blackbird 5
American Goldfinch 10
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 9/23/07
Number of species: 62
Canada Goose 50
Mute Swan 2
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 25
Blue-winged Teal 10
Northern Shoveler 10
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 10
Double-crested Cormorant 25
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 10
Snowy Egret 5
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 25
Osprey 25
Bald Eagle 5
Northern Harrier 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 500
Cooper's Hawk 50
Broad-winged Hawk 25
Red-tailed Hawk 5
American Kestrel 50
Merlin 25
Peregrine Falcon 3
Semipalmated Plover 10
Killdeer 1
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 10
Semipalmated Sandpiper 20
Least Sandpiper 5
Pectoral Sandpiper 5
Stilt Sandpiper 2
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 2
Laughing Gull 50
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 20
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Common Tern 20
Forster's Tern 5
Royal Tern 10
Black Skimmer 75
Rock Pigeon 30
Mourning Dove 10
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Blue Jay 5
Fish Crow 10
Tree Swallow 50
Red-breasted Nuthatch 5
Carolina Wren 1
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 25
Cedar Waxwing 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Bobolink 5
Red-winged Blackbird 10
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 25
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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