Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick spin around the State Park....

I had a short time for a walk this morning before I had to catch a flight. The morning started of quite slow and I was thinking that my walk would be very short. In fact, I hadn't even brought my scope along since I was trying to travel light. Typically I start my Cape May Point State Park walks to the right of the hawkwatch platform as I like to hit the dune crossovers for some sea watching. This morning I started down the boardwalk path and decided to look for owls first thing. Much to my dismay I did not come across any little eyes peering back at me from the cedars and pines. Not that this means there were no owls. I pretty much proved my inability to find owls when I worked for Braddock Bay Raptor Research. The "owl woods" are arguably one of the best places in the east to find migrating owls in the spring and in my three seasons there was lucky enough to find only a handful on my own.

Since I struck out on owls I walked the length of the board walk and was glad that I had not carried my scope as the ponds were pretty much devoid of ducks for some reason. I had noticed that Lake Lily seemed to have a decent number on the water, so the plan was to scope there after my walk but I ultimately ran out of time. Once I got to the back side of the state park things had really started to pick up. I am guessing that the fact that the sun was a good bit higher and hitting more of the vegetation helped to bring birds out of hiding in search of food.

All in all, the walk was very productive with 60 species recorded. Given that I had walked the trails for less than two hours this was a great start had I been conducting another big day for the month, though forty species is still a big leap.

There were a number of nice finds for the day. The bird that probably took the top billing for bird of the day, one YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT along the very back trail which boarders TNC's CMMBR. So, the question begs asking; is this the latest Chat I've ever had or......the earliest!? I supposes this would be considered Philosophical Birding. A pretty novel idea, Don, what do you think about a CMBO Philosophical Birding walk this spring?

I digress. Anyway, other species that stand out; 6 Ruby-crowned kinglets, 5 Baltimore orioles and 50 Snow buntings on the beach. Try as I may, I was unable to locate a Lapland longspur in the bunch. Fifteen Tree swallows, a handful of Fox Sparrows, 12 Purple finches (both fly overs and birds feeding in shrubs) and an Eastern phoebe round out the top birds.

There was a good number of Cedar waxwings flying about, especially at the back of the state park. Again, try as I may, there were no large waxwings in the mix. I did try to turn a flock of cedars into crossbills as I drove into the parking lot.....wishful thinking.

One adult Bald eagle came cruising in heading toward the ocean with noticeable determination. This bird seemed to be flapping as hard as it could, constantly, headed out as if it were racing itself in a time trail to the coast. Almost as a soon as it hit the beach it stopped flapping and set wings to soar. After a few minuets I finally realized why the eagle was moving with such determination. Ducks scattered, not many but the eagle must have thought that there was one...."lame duck" in the bunch. Then I saw something I didn't think I'd ever see. Two Mallards (a drake and hen) flew past and strafed the eagle. Not much in the way of interaction but the ducks did make a second pass. Then as if the adrenalin finally wore of and they realized who they were tangling with, they flew off the find the refuge of the thicker parts of the marsh.

So, I'd say that it was quite a nice day. Definitely one of my best counts for my "Flight Day" list. So why was headed to the airport to "leave on a jet plane"? I've come down to Birdwatch America (the nations largest birding trade show) so that I can continue to bring you great new innovative birding product in the Northwood Center Nature Store. Hopefully if you visit us this spring you'll find a few of the fruits of my labor here.

By the way, is now live, go and take a look even if you are not in the market for a new pair of binoculars. If you know someone who is, please send them our way, you know we'll take good care of them.

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 1/10/08
Notes: 5715 steps= 3.7 miles
Number of species: 60

Canada Goose 5
Mute Swan 6
Gadwall 6
American Wigeon 8
American Black Duck 1
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 1
Mallard 43
Greater Scaup 1
dark-winged scoter sp. 35
Long-tailed Duck 3
Hooded Merganser 1
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Red-throated Loon 1
Northern Gannet 5
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Bald Eagle 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Sanderling 3
Bonaparte's Gull 4
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 3
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Rock Pigeon 4
Mourning Dove 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
Downy Woodpecker 6
Northern Flicker 15
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 13
Tree Swallow 15
Carolina Chickadee 15
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 23
Winter Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6
Hermit Thrush 8
American Robin 37
Gray Catbird 15
Northern Mockingbird 3
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 250
Cedar Waxwing 145
Yellow-rumped Warbler 175
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Eastern Towhee 8
Fox Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 45
Snow Bunting 50
Northern Cardinal 15
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 25
Baltimore Oriole 5
Purple Finch 12
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 10

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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