Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Monday Morning Meadows - Sparrows, Wrens, Jaegers and Raptors

Monday's walk at the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge drew quite a crowd, of both people and birds. The Refuge, a.k.a. the South Cape May Meadows, gets better and better for sparrows as the ragweed seeds mature, and since Sunday night White-throated Sparrows and Savannah Sparrows were flying overhead in decent numbers, it follows that some of each of these species wound up in the Meadows. Savannah Sparrows have present for quite a while, but the scope-posing white-throat presented the first good view of this species I've had this fall, though I've been hearing them since late September. A Dickcissel also called overhead.

The Meadows are still very dry, so shorebirds were limited to Killdeer. We did track down at least two Marsh Wrens, though these were elusive and not seen by all. The offshore action compensated, with at least two adult light morph Parasitic Jaegers close enough they could be readily found with binoculars, especially when they picked out a gull to pursue and drove it high into the air, well above the horizon.

Raptors included several Peregrines, both flying and perched, plus the usual small ones - Merlin, Kestrel, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks. The group also observed a kettle of 30+ Broad-wingeds. This same kettle wandered over to the Point and apparently appeared and reappeared, plus or minus members, for much of the light-wind morning. 70 species overall, not bad for a two-hour outing on a summer-like autumn day. The full list follows.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 10/8/07
Notes: CMBO's Monday morning meadows walk
Number of species: 70
Canada Goose 25
Mute Swan 5
Wood Duck 3 flyovers, landed at state park
Gadwall 5
American Wigeon 10
American Black Duck 2 first in a long while in the meadows
Mallard 25
Northern Shoveler 20
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 5
Black Scoter 20
Northern Gannet 2
Double-crested Cormorant 50
Great Blue Heron 5
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 7
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 25
Osprey 10
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 2
Broad-winged Hawk 35
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 5
Merlin 5
Peregrine Falcon 3
Killdeer 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 5
Laughing Gull 50
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 30
Great Black-backed Gull 75
Royal Tern 10
Black Skimmer 20
Parasitic Jaeger 2 2 adults light
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 10
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 20
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 10
Fish Crow 5
Tree Swallow 30
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 5
Marsh Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 20
European Starling 40
Cedar Waxwing 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 50
Palm Warbler 10
Blackpoll Warbler 5
American Redstart 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Savannah Sparrow 20
Song Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 2
Dickcissel 1
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Eastern Meadowlark 2
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 20

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