Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Starting the New Year right - crossbills et. al. plus news of Ash-throated and Least Fly

[Michael O'Brien took this photo of a female Red Crossbill at the end of Whilden Avenue in Cape May Point yesterday. 16 Red Crossbills were at the state park today, New Year's day, and they were also seen again at Whilden.]

When the 16 Red Crossbills flew into the pines over the Cape May Point State park visitor center today, New Year's, I felt like buying a lottery ticket - CMBO's field trip today had 20 participants plus a half dozen leaders, and we had just been discussing these birds, which have been favoring the dunes especially at the end of Whilden, when they appeared. All sounded like type 4.

These were the only "rare" birds we located, but in a day spent at the state park, Cape Island Preserve, the magnesite plant, and finishing at Jake's Landing, we found about 70 species. Some of the highlights included a first year Bald Eagle flying in from Delaware, the female Canvasback (today on Lighthouse Pond), Merlin, Peregrine, a lovely adult Red-shouldered at Cape Island Preserve, and three Short-eareds at days end at Jake's Landing. Many Tree Swallows are still around, and the selection of ducks in the ponds and off Cape May is nothing to complain about. Complete lists for the day are below. We will definitely make this "Kick off your year list in Cape May" field trip an annual tradition.

We looked for but did not find the Ash-throated Flycatcher, Nashville Warbler, and Least Flycatcher at Cape Island Preserve, but I hear Vince Elia had the two flycatchers this morning. Wilson Avenue, which runs east off Broadway, dead-ends at the preserve. For the Ash-throated, cross the railroad tracks and the hedgerow and walk left (north) to the second field. For the Least, walk right (south) along the path at the end of Wilson about 100 yards. We also failed to locate the Common Eiders at the point, but they were seen near the jetties off St. Mary's yesterday.

I hear there was a Lapland Longspur with the Snow Buntings haunting the dunes off the State Park and the meadows yesterday. The Redhead and Red-headed Woodpeckers continue at Villas WMA, and a Northern Goshawk is wintering around Cape May Point, often seen at the State Park and, presumably the same bird, at the Magnesite Plant. This bird is banded and is likely the individual that was caught on November 30, the last day of the hawk watch.

Bill and Edie Schul had 2 Chipping Sparrows near Bunker Pond and two Baltimore Orioles on the State Park trails today. A Barred Owl appeared at the state park yesterday but apparently was not refound today.

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 1/1/08
Notes: CMBO's kick off your year list field trip. A few species were not seen by whole group - observed during lunch.
Number of species: 54
Mute Swan 6
Gadwall 25
American Wigeon 15
American Black Duck 4
Mallard 10
Northern Pintail 2
Canvasback 1
Ring-necked Duck 2
Greater Scaup 1
Lesser Scaup 1
Surf Scoter 1
Black Scoter 40
Long-tailed Duck 3
Bufflehead 5
Ruddy Duck 3
Red-throated Loon 5
Northern Gannet 30
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 10
Bald Eagle 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Purple Sandpiper 5
Bonaparte's Gull 2
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 25
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Rock Pigeon 25
Mourning Dove 10
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
American Crow 10
Tree Swallow 35
Carolina Wren 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
American Robin 5
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 200
American Pipit 15
Cedar Waxwing 50
Yellow-rumped Warbler 25
Palm Warbler 1
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
House Finch 15
Red Crossbill 16
House Sparrow 10

Location: Cape Island Preserve
Observation date: 1/1/08
Notes: CMBO's kick off your year list field trip.
Number of species: 23
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 5
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 15
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 5
Carolina Wren 5
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
Palm Warbler 1
Field Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 5
White-throated Sparrow 10
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Eastern Meadowlark 10
House Finch 20
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 40

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 1/1/08
Notes: Magnesite plant & pond creek. CMBO kick off your year list field trip.
Number of species: 22
Mute Swan 1
American Black Duck 2
Great Blue Heron 2
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Northern Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Merlin 1
Black-bellied Plover 1
Greater Yellowlegs 35
Wilson's Snipe 1
Rock Pigeon 10
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 2
American Crow 10
Carolina Wren 3
European Starling 50
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Song Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 20

Location: Jake's Landing
Observation date: 1/1/08
Notes: CMBO kick off your year list field trip.
Number of species: 15
American Black Duck 5
Northern Pintail 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Black Vulture 20
Turkey Vulture 30
Northern Harrier 10
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Clapper Rail 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 5
Short-eared Owl 3
Northern Flicker 2
Song Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 20

[Another image of the crossbills, by Michael O'Brien. Both red and green birds are in this flock. Best bet for finding them is probably to start at the state park, checking the edge of the parking lot, and then follow the road side of the dunes around Cape May Point, listening carefully.]

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