Monday, October 1, 2007

Birding Cape May Point

Well first and foremost, those of you wishing to come to Cape May to see Monarch butterflies, you should come soon. We are at about peak and if this morning was any evidence, there are plenty of monarchs around. The winds over the next few days will not be very conducive to much migration at all but hopefully the monarchs will stick around. In thinking back about the walk this morning, I should have been keeping track of the number of monarchs we saw.

Either way, a few good friends and I walked Cape May Point this morning. Ya know, that's one of the best things about fall in Cape May. Not only do the birds pour through, but friends migrate to the peninsula as well. It's always nice to become reacquainted with birds and friends alike at this time of year.

Since the winds were not ideal (though NNE is still ok for bringing migrants to Cape May) we had a leisurely walk around the point. In fact a good amount of our birding was done from the platform at the end of Coral Ave. While we were up on the platform terns danced around in the wind in front of us. Many seems to be Common terns but there were Forster's terns mixed about. I included these species as simply observed on my eBird checklist as I could not be sure of exact numbers per species without my scope. Suffice to say the rips (the turbulent waters at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, where it meets the Atlantic Ocean) were alive with terns and gulls. Literally hundreds upon hundreds. Defenitely, nearly impossible to count by species at the distances these birds are at. In the mix was two (possibly three) Parasitic jeagers chasing the terns and gulls, looking for a pirated bit of food for a morning snack.

There were also a few hawks up and about, we had three Peregrine falcons head out over the bay. Remember these birds (peregrines) don't mind the water at all. In fact I have seen a peregrine up to 60 miles out to sea. Given the time of year, (peak peregrine time is upon us) if the winds switch to the SE with a front moving through, the days before the front passage is when you want to be here for the peregrine show. It was a similar situation in 2002 when I had my record peregrine day on the hawk watch. Let's hope Jessie is just as lucky!

Other species of interest would be the imm. Little blue heron which is still at the south end of Lilly Lake. By still, I mean that the bird (or at least a imm. little blue) has been in the same area for a few weeks now. There were warblers flying over head but not many giving obliging views. One of our best birds of the day (don't roll your eyes) was a White-breasted nuthatch. The reason that this bird is "good", well they don't breed on Cape Island (that I know of) and are typically winter visitors. It's not that they are a rare bird by any means, just that they are not common. The best part was that the white-breasted was on the top of a limb and a Red-breasted nuthatch was working the underside of the same limb. Literally, right beneath the white-breasted. A neat view and one I am pretty sure I have never seen before.

So, there you have it. As usual, the list of species seen is below.

Location: Cape May Point
Observation date: 10/1/07
Number of species: 61

Canada Goose 65
Mute Swan 20
American Wigeon 75
Mallard 4
scoter sp. 4 (too far out to tell if they were surf or black with just bins)
Common Loon 1
Double-crested Cormorant 186
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 1
Osprey 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 7
Cooper's Hawk 3
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ruddy Turnstone 6
Sanderling 25
Ring-billed Gull 4
Herring Gull 12
Great Black-backed Gull 45
Common Tern X
Forster's Tern X
Royal Tern 12
Parasitic Jaeger 2
Rock Pigeon 12
Mourning Dove 16
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 13
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 16
American Crow 1
Fish Crow 35
Tree Swallow 25
Carolina Chickadee 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 7
American Robin 22
Gray Catbird 11
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 128
Cedar Waxwing 18
Northern Parula 2
Yellow Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15
Palm Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
American Redstart 1
Common Yellowthroat 3
Northern Cardinal 4
Bobolink 1
Red-winged Blackbird 33
House Finch 22
American Goldfinch 12
House Sparrow 5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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