Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wigeon Washing Food, Red Crossbill, Salt Sparrows, and Hidden Valley Report

A remarkably balmy morning walk at Cape May Point State Park yielded a few raptors, a late Yellow Warbler (why not stay when it's going to be 80 degrees), and the usual selection of dabbling ducks, males getting prettier by the day. One male American Wigeon feeding on the shore of Bunker Pond repeatedly exibited some interesting behavior: It would pull a tuft of grass from the shore, turn and step to the water and rinse the grass off before eating it. He was getting some dirt when he pulled the grass up by the roots, and was clearly and purposefully washing his food!

You can pretty much always find a Peregrine and a Merlin in Cape May in October, and both species did appear for us on an otherwise fairly quiet morning.

The walk at Hidden Valley fared well, with a nice selection of typical short-distance migrants, including both kinglets, thrashers, 45 Eastern Meadowlarks and a pipit. Full lists for both walks are below.

Someone from Ohio asked where to find Seaside Sparrows. One of the best spots for salt sparrows generally is Two Mile Landing, off Ocean Drive (the rode leading to Wildwood). Another good spot is Jake's Landing.

Among the gems in the Northwood Center's sighting log was a one-day Red Crossbill in Cumberland County on Tuesday. Since siskins and Purple Finches are also being detected, crossbill is something to keep an ear out for.

This morning's Cape May Point State Park and Hidden Valley lists are below.

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 10/18/07
Notes: CMBO Thursday "Bird Walk for All People."
Number of species: 40
Canada Goose 50
Mute Swan 6
Gadwall 8
American Wigeon 10
Mallard 25
Blue-winged Teal 1
Northern Shoveler 15
Green-winged Teal 35
Double-crested Cormorant 50
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 5
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 10
Cooper's Hawk 3
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Least Sandpiper 6
Laughing Gull 20
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Royal Tern 2
Rock Pigeon 50
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 2
Tree Swallow 10
Carolina Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
European Starling 5
Yellow Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 20
Palm Warbler 5
Savannah Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 5
House Finch 5
House Sparrow 25

Location: Cape May - Hidden Valley Ranch
Observation date: 10/18/07
Number of species: 45
Canada Goose 200
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 16
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Herring Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 1
Mourning Dove 25
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 8
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 20
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 30
American Crow 50
Red-breasted Nuthatch 3
Carolina Wren 25
Golden-crowned Kinglet 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
American Robin 150
Gray Catbird 20
Northern Mockingbird 10
Brown Thrasher 20
European Starling 25
American Pipit 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 100
Palm Warbler 20
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 10
Eastern Towhee 5
Field Sparrow 6
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 20
White-throated Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 5
Indigo Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Eastern Meadowlark 45
Purple Finch 3

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