Monday, October 15, 2007

Pipits, Jaegers and Blue-headed Vireo

This morning's Meadows walk highlight for me was a White-breasted Nuthatch, rather unexpected in the dune scrub near the beach. The crowd pleasers, though, were reasonably close views of an adult light morph Parasitic Jaeger pursuing gulls in the relentless jaeger way, as well as six American Pipits which dropped onto the island east of the east path for scope views. A few of us saw Lincoln's Sparrow amidst the swarms of Savannahs, Swamps and Songs, and most people got good views of immature White-crowned Sparrow on the path that runs next to the road.

After the walk I wandered over to the Hawk Watch Platform, where a Blue-headed Vireo put on a good show in the shrubs out front. A flock of five Red-breasted Nuthatches flew out of the cedars and over the platform briefly before changing their mind and returning to the cedars. Five in a flock (and others left behind calling) gives a sense of what a flight year it is for r.b. nuts. Tree Swallows did a little tornado-ing over the pond, and a Rough-winged revealed itself with a brrrt.

There were a couple Blue-winged Teal on Bunker Pond - we had missed them in the Meadows. Blue-wingeds start to thin out in mid October, not surprising considering the majority of this species winters south of the U.S. border, and many of them find their way to South America.

Another bird in the thinning-out department is Chimney Swift, so the one foraging over the pond was worth noting. The last Chimney Swifts in Cape May normally disappear the first week in November, off to their wintering grounds in Brazil, Peru and Chile.

A quick e-bird entry for my 20 minutes at the platform revealed I'd seen 47 species, and that was spending more time talking with folks than birding. Both of this morning's lists follow.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 10/15/07
Notes: CMBO's Monday walk.
Number of species: 57
Canada Goose 25
Mute Swan 8
Gadwall 8
American Wigeon 20
American Black Duck 3
Mallard 25
Northern Shoveler 10
Northern Pintail 3
Green-winged Teal 15
Double-crested Cormorant 50
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10
Cooper's Hawk 2
American Kestrel 1
Greater Yellowlegs 6
Sanderling 10
Laughing Gull 150
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 25
Great Black-backed Gull 75
Forster's Tern 15
Royal Tern 10
Parasitic Jaeger 2 1 adult light morph, one dark ad or juv
Rock Pigeon 35
Mourning Dove 5
Northern Flicker 25
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 10
Tree Swallow 200
Red-breasted Nuthatch 5
White-breasted Nuthatch 1 in scrub on dune, really unusual
American Robin 150
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 50
American Pipit 8 6 landed on island east of east path
Cedar Waxwing 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 500
Palm Warbler 25
Savannah Sparrow 25
Song Sparrow 10
Lincoln's Sparrow 2 not seen by all
Swamp Sparrow 20
White-throated Sparrow 5
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Boat-tailed Grackle 6
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 20

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 10/15/07
Number of species: 47
Canada Goose X
Mute Swan X
Gadwall X
American Wigeon X
American Black Duck X
Mallard X
Blue-winged Teal X
Northern Shoveler X
Green-winged Teal X
Double-crested Cormorant X
Great Egret X
Snowy Egret X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle X
Northern Harrier X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Cooper's Hawk X
American Kestrel X
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Royal Tern X
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Chimney Swift 1
Northern Flicker X
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Carolina Chickadee X
Red-breasted Nuthatch 10
Golden-crowned Kinglet X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird X
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Palm Warbler X
White-throated Sparrow X
House Finch X
House Sparrow X

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