Friday, October 12, 2007

Anhinga, Branta, Calliope (not) - unusual ABC's

An Anhinga soared over the Cape May Hawk Watch Platform on Thursday, spotted by "swing" counter Chris Brown. . .the male Calliope Hummingbird has not been seen since last Saturday, October 6. . . 4 species of geese came over the Hawkwatch this evening. . . and tonight there is going to be a hek of a landbird flight, followed by another hek of a flight, this one hawks, during the day tomorrow. There's the news in brief.

About the geese: a really fun little mixed group of Canadas and Snows came over the Hawkwatch late this afternoon, about 40 birds in all - "Geese celebrating diversity," I joked. When they reached Cape May Point, the flock split along color lines, with the Snows continuing southward towards Delaware and the Canadas turning westward seemingly looking for a place to set down.

Later, two sets of "Canadas" came along roughly the same track as the snows had, but in separate groups. I was eyeing the smaller group, five birds, with some degree of interest when Jessie Barry said, "Those are small geese." I agreed, "They are small geese," and with very short necks and long wings, too, I was thinking. Five Cackling Geese, probably a family group of the Richardson's race, flying characteristically apart from the Canadas migrating nearby. Chris Brown snapped some pictures, hopefully I'll be able to post them here soon.

The fourth goose species of the afternoon, and the third Branta, came in the form of Atlantic Brant flying eastward past the bunker, over the ocean.

In other news. . . I heard that Ken Behrens at the Avalon Seawatch spotted two Yellow-billed Cuckoos and a Connecticut Warbler flying in off the ocean this morning. Dick Walton reports that "A cold front passage on 10/13 brought a fresh push of monarchs through Cape May. Migrants should continue throughout the weekend." And ducks seemed to have increased today in Cape May. In fact, everything did - consider the following list from a half-hour's observation, 4:45-5:15 at the Hawkwatch platform:

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 10/12/07
Number of species: 48
Snow Goose 10
Brant 25
Cackling Goose 5
Canada Goose 50
Mute Swan 1
Wood Duck 3
Gadwall 5
American Wigeon 10
American Black Duck 2
Mallard 25
Blue-winged Teal 5
Northern Shoveler 15
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 25
Double-crested Cormorant 20
Great Blue Heron 10
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 10
Little Blue Heron 2
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 20
Osprey 10
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10
Cooper's Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 5
Merlin 15
Killdeer 1
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 20
Pectoral Sandpiper 2
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Laughing Gull 50
Herring Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Mourning Dove 5
Carolina Wren 1
European Starling 20
Cedar Waxwing 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
Palm Warbler 5
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 25
House Finch 5
House Sparrow 50

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