Monday, November 19, 2007

Sandhill Cranes and Red-headed Woodpeckers

Two Sandhill Cranes spent most of the day yesterday at Bunker Pond, and a Cave Swallow and two more goshawks were recorded from the platform. Despite the "questionable origin" crane flock up Cumberland/Salem way, Sandhill Crane is still quite a rarity in NJ. I remember chasing my lifer in the South Cape May Meadows 20 years ago.

George Myers' report from CMBO's Sunday walk (below) indicates that Villas WMA is the place to go to tick your year Red-headed Woodpecker, if you haven't already. Villas WMA's habitat seems appropriate for RHWP nesting, here's hoping!

Another Villas bird of note is George's Yellow-billed Cuckoo, since the record late date in Sibley's The Birds of Cape May is November 8 - this bird was 10 days later than that! Global warming at work, perhaps. Although it is raining steadily in Cape May right now and that may finally put an end to this protracted fall color, Cumberland County yesterday was a stunning palette of red (maples, red oaks and scarlet oaks), yellow (hickories and tulips), and maroon (white oaks).

George's notes follow:

"Highlights from the Villas Walk Sunday 11/18/07: Lots of American Robins, as usual. There are now 4 immature Red-headed Woodpeckers in the area. It would be nice if they decide to winter here.

Also 35+ Rusty Blackbirds
2 Hairy Woodpeckers
1 Virginia Rail (heard calling from the marsh)
1 imm. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Brown Creeper.
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 very cooperative, imm Red-shouldered Hawk
A Merlin feasting on an unidentified songbird
Several Eastern Bluebirds and American Goldfinches

In the 'Gazebo' pond were 10 Ring-necked Ducks and a female Lesser Scaup."

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