Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Another crossbill pic and a seawatch note

[Red Crossbills at Cape May Point State Park New Year's Day. As many as 21 have been reported. Photo by Roger Horn. ]

I just spent some time reviewing the fall 2007 Avalon Seawatch results. With relatively little fanfare but a whole lot of import, the seawatch surpassed ONE MILLION birds this fall during the official count period, which runs from September 22 to December 22. Undoubtedly, in almost every "fall" - which, if you're talking about southbound migration in Cape May, runs from late June through the end of December - over a million seabirds migrate past the watch, but this is the first time that solely during the watch period over one million birds were recorded. Kudos to primary counter Ken Behrens and swing counter Chris Brown for a great effort, as well as Gail Dwyer and all the other folks who help at the sea watch.

As usual, the most abundant species were Double-crested Cormorant (214, 428), Black Scoter (205,601), Surf Scoter (200,587) and Northern Gannet (115, 291, a new record by about 25,000 birds). Count results are preliminary pending data review.

Single day count records were set for a number of species. On the incredible flight of October 25, both Black and Surf Scoter single day records were set, with 74,998 and 69,928 respectively. 7,685 gannets on December 5 was also a single day record.

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