Sunday, October 28, 2007

When something's not wrong, it's right

[This Merlin, a male, arrived with a freshly killed Yellow-rumped Warbler on a telephone pole next to the CMBO Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 5:00 p.m. today (Sunday), delighting some of the staff and volunteers who were busy unloading the vans back from THE Bird Show at the Cape May Convention Center. Click to enlarge, and see below for more photos of this bird and its prey. All photos digiscoped by Don Freiday.]

Apologies to Bob Dylan [in You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go] on the title tonight, but things were certainly not wrong in Cape May, as a number of people predicted, including Paul Lehman and David LaPuma.
It was indeed an awesome day. Interestingly, I personally heard little in the way of night flight calls after listening at 10:00 p.m. in Cape May City and again at 5:30 a.m. along the Bayshore, 6:00 a.m. in Cape May City, and through 6:30 a.m. in Cape May Point. At 6:30 a.m. near the Lighthouse, however, I began hearing Yellow-rumpeds, Chipping Sparrows, robins, and others come in off the ocean. I hypothesized that the birds that left the northeastern region last night were pushed offshore, and would be returning to land at dawn.

[Merlin enjoying it's meal. Photo by Don Freiday, click to enlarge.]

This was born out in David LaPuma's post to the jerseybirds listserve at 12:10 a.m. this morning, and at Higbee Beach throughout the morning hours. Nothing much was happening at 7:30 a.m. at Higbee's when we met for the NJAS Autumn Weekend walk, but by 7:45 a.m. birds were everywhere - first flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, then robins, yellow-rumpeds, flickers, sharp-shinneds. . . the sky was full for the next two hours or more. Most birds were flying into the wind, i.e. headed northwest.

["Nature red in tooth and claw" - Alfred Lord Tennyson.]

Easy, close views of perched Yellow-rumpeds, Palms, Blackpolls, kinglets (both), Chipping Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Field Sparrows, phoebes, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Red-eyed Vireo, and even Clay-colored Sparrow (for at least 60 field trippers) were had by many participants during the two morning walks held at Higbee. Sharp-shinned's were constant, and apparently the "blue goose" in a flock of passing Snows turned out on closer inspection to be a Cackling Goose, according to Jeff Gordon. You couldn't swing a binocular without hitting a bird. The full list for Higbee's is below, but I'm leaving it to Sam Galick, CMBO Morning Flight counter, to put numbers to the flight on View from the Field - check it out on this web site.

[To my surprise, when I picked up the hastily removed eyecup from my scope, I found some of the warbler's feathers stuck to the lubricant on the eyepiece - they must have drifted down to it and adhered there . . .]

At the hawk watch today, sharpies were constant, Cooper's not far behind, several eagles passed, Red-shouldereds soared over, and American Wigeon called on the pond, but my favorite was the American Woodcock which flew past at around 2:00 p.m., headed out over the Bunker headed south, but saw what it was getting into and swung back north and dropped into the meadows.
[CMBO staff and volunteers enjoying the feeding Merlin. Left to right, Paul Guris, Carole Hughes, Amy Gaberlein, and Sheila Lego.]

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 10/28/07
Notes: CMBO Autumn Weekend Sunday Morning walks. Highlight was 1 field, 2 chippies, 1 Clay-colored, and Indigo Bunting. . .in same field of view.
Number of species: 76
Snow Goose X
Canada Goose X
Double-crested Cormorant X
Great Blue Heron X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Cooper's Hawk X
Red-shouldered Hawk X
American Kestrel X
Merlin X
Killdeer X
Lesser Yellowlegs X
American Woodcock X
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Downy Woodpecker X
Northern Flicker X
Eastern Phoebe X
Blue-headed Vireo X
Red-eyed Vireo X
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Red-breasted Nuthatch X
Brown Creeper X
Carolina Wren X
House Wren X
Winter Wren X
Golden-crowned Kinglet X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet X
Hermit Thrush X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird X
Brown Thrasher X
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing X
Northern Parula X
Black-throated Blue Warbler X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Pine Warbler X
Palm Warbler X
Blackpoll Warbler X
Black-and-white Warbler X
American Redstart X
Common Yellowthroat X
Eastern Towhee X
Chipping Sparrow X
Clay-colored Sparrow X
Field Sparrow X
Savannah Sparrow X
Song Sparrow X
Swamp Sparrow X
White-throated Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow X
Dark-eyed Junco X
Northern Cardinal X
Indigo Bunting X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Eastern Meadowlark X
Rusty Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Purple Finch X
House Finch X
Pine Siskin X
American Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

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