Monday, November 5, 2007

Pipits, Snow Buntings, and new Pond at the Meadows

Perhaps the most surprising thing to me on this morning's walk at the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, a.k.a. the meadows, came we when we crested the dune to find a new pond between the dune and the beach. Wind-driven waves apparently filled the area with water on Friday and/or Saturday.

The pond obliged us to pause in our walk, which turned out to be a good thing. Karl Lukens picked out a Snow Bunting, which turned out eventually to be 3 Snow Buntings, in with a group of American Pipits on the beach on the other side of the new pond and towards the bunker. Even rarer, we scrutinized a Piping Plover in hopes it might prove to be a Snowy Plover - it wasn't. As we walked the alternative trail to the east path, inside the dune, George Myers picked out a Baltimore Oriole flying over.

Thought the ocean was surprisingly devoid of life, dabbling duck numbers have grown substantially, as the list below indicates. Of particular note was the 75 (actual count) Gadwall in the plover pond.

The ragweed in the meadows is thick with sparrows now, thought the Spizella component has thinned out, replaced with the two common Melospizas, Song and Swamp Sparrows. At least 10 White-crowned Sparrows were in the hedge along Sunset Blvd.

In the lingering raptor department, two Broad-winged Hawks were up with the Turkey Vulture kettles. Anywhere else in NJ, or in the mid-Atlantic, two broadwings on November 5 would raise eyebrows. A late Osprey successfully fished in the center pond in the meadows. Interestingly, the fish population must have rebuilt fairly rapidly there, because besides the osprey there were 10 Great Blue Herons and a number of cormorants.

Winds were out of the west northwest still - if a person wanted to see a Golden Eagle, spending today on the hawk watch platform would be the thing to do.

This morning's list is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 11/5/07
Notes: CMBO Monday meadows walk. Interesting that apparently there are fish again in the meadows. water was ponded for the first time between the fore dune and back dune, due to strong winds last weekend.
Number of species: 58
Snow Goose 5
Canada Goose 75
Mute Swan 10
Gadwall 75
American Wigeon 30
American Black Duck 2
Mallard 50
Northern Shoveler 10
Northern Pintail 50
Green-winged Teal 100
Ruddy Duck 3
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Blue Heron 10
Black Vulture 15
Turkey Vulture 75
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 5
Broad-winged Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Piping Plover 1
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 50
Great Black-backed Gull 25
Rock Pigeon 10
Northern Flicker 1
American Crow 50
Fish Crow 20
Tree Swallow 2000
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 5
Eastern Bluebird 15
American Robin 500
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 75
American Pipit 15
Cedar Waxwing 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 300
Palm Warbler 2
Chipping Sparrow 5
Savannah Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 150
Swamp Sparrow 150
White-throated Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 5
Snow Bunting 3
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
Baltimore Oriole 1
Purple Finch 10
House Finch 25
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 10

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