Monday, October 29, 2007

Sandhill Crane, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk. . .

I'm almost ashamed to say it, but I was mildly underwhelmed by the flight that greeted the dawn here in Cape May, given the recent cold front and attending wnw winds and cool temps. It was still an AWESOME morning of birding. I hear that Morning Flight counted about 15,000 birds - robins, yellow-rumps, blackbirds and flickers predominating, the usual suspects.

The raptor flight is very diverse (though sky high) and my goodness there's some quality stuff flying around. A Sandhill Crane, for starters, seen by various people in various places at various times, including by CMBO's "Cape May with Everything On It" workshop, from the Beanery as the bird flew over Cape May Point to our south.

Not only do rare birds stand little chance of passing through Cape May without being seen, they're almost surely going to be seen multiple times. We ran into Stu and Wendy Malmid at the Beanery - they'd seen the crane from Hidden Valley. I ran into Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis and friends - they'd seen it too.

The Beanery held a Baltimore Oriole, and a few Rusty Blackbirds flew over, but otherwise it was the usual good suspects.

Golden Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk wowed the crowd at the hawk watch platform at about 11:45 a.m., simultaneously. Not a falcon was to be seen, but plenty of sharpies, coops, red-taileds, red-shouldereds, harriers, and a few broad-wingeds were in the air, most way way up. I'm glad I'm not the hawk counter today! A Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew over the state park parking lot - perhaps another one dared it to do it, because it takes one brave cuckoo to expose itself that long under all those raptors. Jessie called out a Short-eared Owl flying out towards the meadows, and a few people got on it before it dropped. Something to look for tonight, as are Saw-whets - Michael reported one in his yard at 5:30 this morning, and Pete Dunne had three in the dark up in Cumberland County this morning, too.

Among the ducks were 7 flyby Wood Ducks and a quartet of Gadwall, three drakes and a single hen that really probably wished they'd leave her alone. The Gadwall flew round and round the state park, for at least 5 minutes, the drakes following the hen and calling to her with their low, nasal "quenk" persistently. Ducks start to pair around now, and seal the deal in winter before leaving for the nesting grounds.

Lists for the Beanery and the hawkwatch platform are below.

Location: The Beanery
Observation date: 10/29/07
Notes: CMBO's Cape May with Everything on It workshop.
Number of species: 53
Snow Goose 15
Canada Goose 4
American Black Duck 3
Mallard 10
Common Loon 5
Double-crested Cormorant 25
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 2
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Harrier 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10
Cooper's Hawk 5
Red-shouldered Hawk 5
Broad-winged Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 10
Sandhill Crane 1 flying over Cape May Point
Herring Gull 5
Mourning Dove 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 5
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 25
Fish Crow 2
Tree Swallow 50
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 5
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 15
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 500
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 5
European Starling 10
American Pipit 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 50
Chipping Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 10
Swamp Sparrow 10
White-throated Sparrow 10
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 500
Eastern Meadowlark 10
Rusty Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 10
Baltimore Oriole 1
Purple Finch 15
Pine Siskin 5
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 5

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 10/29/07
Notes: CMBO's Cape May with Everything on It workshop.
Number of species: 53
Snow Goose 15
Canada Goose 25
Wood Duck 7
Gadwall 5
American Wigeon 10
American Black Duck 5
Mallard 20
Green-winged Teal 10
Ruddy Duck 10
Common Loon 20
Double-crested Cormorant 100
Great Blue Heron 1
Snowy Egret 1
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Northern Harrier X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Cooper's Hawk X
Red-shouldered Hawk X
Broad-winged Hawk X
Red-tailed Hawk X
Rough-legged Hawk X
Golden Eagle X
American Coot 2
Killdeer 1
Herring Gull 10
Royal Tern 5
Rock Pigeon 50
Mourning Dove 10
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 5
Tree Swallow 500
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 10
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 10
American Pipit 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 20
Palm Warbler 2
Song Sparrow 5
White-crowned Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Purple Finch 5
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 50

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