Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bald and Golden Tag Team; Saturday's Calm Before the Wind

The clear highlight of the third day of CMBO's Wintering Raptors on the Delaware Bayshore workshop came today (Sunday, February 10) in the form of a subadult Golden Eagle pursuing Snow Geese at Turkey Point/Beaver Dam (thanks to go to Karen Johnson and Karen Williams for an assist, since they gave us a cell phone call to tip us to the Golden's presence.) We watched the Golden perch, hunt, and perch again as the Snows went wild under both the Golden and several Bald Eagles, adults and immatures. Best viewing is from the end of Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County, or from Beaver Dam Boat Rental, also in Cumberland off Route 553 north of Dividing Creek, where a Bald Eagle nest is visible looking left from the boat launch (this is a private business tolerant of birders, please be respectful if you go). This Golden showed very little white, just a little along the base of the flight feathers and only from the upperwing view, as far as we could tell, and a muddied pale base to the tail.

Yesterday evening, before the winds came, our group assembled at the end of Jake's Landing road and watched roughly three Short-eared Owls hunt before and after sundown, along with a distant Bald Eagle. Last night's Jake's Landing favorites, for me, were the singing Eastern Meadowlarks which, with somewhat throttled efforts by Marsh Wrens, gave hope for a spring that tonight seems a bit distant. The wind coming off Delaware Bay right now is so stiff it's hard to breathe outside. A walk before sundown north of the Villas revealed American Robins exhibiting apparent zugenruhe (migration restlessness) and I wonder, will there be a southbound migration of passerines through Cape May tomorrow? Given this front, there could be.

Today's Turkey Point list follows:

Location: Turkey Point
Observation date: 2/10/08
Notes: CMBO's raptor workshop
Number of species: 33
Snow Goose X
Canada Goose 25
Mute Swan 20
Gadwall 2
American Black Duck X
Mallard X
Northern Pintail X
Green-winged Teal 25
Bufflehead 20
Hooded Merganser X
Great Blue Heron 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Bald Eagle 5
Northern Harrier 15
Red-tailed Hawk 4
Golden Eagle 1
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Dunlin 50
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Rock Pigeon 15
Mourning Dove X
Great Horned Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 10
American Robin X
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
Song Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 25
House Finch 10

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