Saturday, December 29, 2007

Osprey, 60 Tree Swallows, 25 Forster's Terns, Goshawk, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Snow Buntings - just where the hek are we, anyway?

[George Myers photographed the Ash-throated Flycatcher at Cape Island Preserve today. Click to enlarge.]

"Are those things flitting around over the water Tree Swallows?" I didn't know the gentleman asking the question, but I understood why he was puzzled - it was December 29, after all.

"Yes. Cape May is just weird sometimes." We were at the South Cape May Meadows, a.k.a. the TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, and, besides the Tree Swallows, 60 strong, we'd seen the latest Osprey I've ever had in NJ, plus 25 Forster's Terns foraging off the tip of Cape May, and 23 Snow Buntings on the dunes. Plus good numbers of ducks, including a solo female Common Goldeneye, and other fun stuff like Fox, Savannah and White-crowned Sparrows.

We also checked Lily Lake, where 60 American Wigeon pushed our afternoon total for this species over 100, and where the female Canvasback still lingers. Also on Lily Lake were a couple Hooded Mergansers, and on the perimeter, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Purple Finch. An adult Red-shouldered Hawk perched at the junction of New England Road and Broadway glared at cars passing.

George Myers & Karl Lukens report, "Some highlights from Cape Island Preserve this morning. The Ash-throated Flycatcher was again seen and heard in the field near the RR crossing sign and the Least Flycatcher was also vocalizing quite a bit, but giving only brief views. Also a House Wren and 30 American Pipts, several Fox and Field Sparrows, and a 'Western" Palm Warbler. George (and Karl)."

Chuck and Mary Jane Slugg and Marc and Lynne Breslow birded the Magnesite Plant, off Sunset Boulevard, yesterday, and report, "We started with a peregrine on the water tower and a merlin on a telephone pole. There were several red-tails, Northern harriers, sharpies, and coops. The icing on the cake was an immature goshawk perched in plain sight for several minutes."

Lists from today for the meadows and Lily Lake follow.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 12/29/07
Number of species: 38
Canada Goose 12
Mute Swan 7
Gadwall 42
American Wigeon 72
American Black Duck 20
Mallard 85
Northern Shoveler 4
Northern Pintail 14
Surf Scoter 20
Black Scoter 20
Long-tailed Duck 5
Common Goldeneye 1
Ruddy Duck 3
Red-throated Loon 5
Common Loon 3
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Forster's Tern 25
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 30
Northern Flicker 2
American Crow 15
Tree Swallow 60
Carolina Wren 5
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 50
Savannah Sparrow 3
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 10
White-throated Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 1
House Sparrow 5

Location: Cape May - Lily Lake
Observation date: 12/29/07
Number of species: 30
Canada Goose 7
Mute Swan 6
Gadwall 10
American Wigeon 60
Mallard 20
Canvasback 1
Hooded Merganser 2
Ruddy Duck 7
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Herring Gull 2
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 5
Blue Jay 5
Fish Crow 3
Tree Swallow 5
Carolina Chickadee 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 2
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 20
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 10
Northern Cardinal 2
Purple Finch 2
House Finch 10
House Sparrow 5

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