Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tues. 2/26: Lesser Black-backed Gull and Palm Warbler...birding in the wind on Cape Island

With a little time to spare this afternoon, I made a quick tour around West Cape May and Cape May Point. The weather today has a decidedly March feel to it- a low overcast sky accompanied by a stiff breeze and the occasional rain shower. Tough weather to find passerines in, so I mainly stuck to seawatching.

My first stop was the fishermens' parking lot at the north end of Higbee Beach WMA... I'm still searching for that Black-headed Gull, which by the way, was seen yesterday at the Ferry Terminal, on the other side of the canal from the fishermens' lot. There was a ferry loading at the dock, but the only gulls I could find behind the boat were Ring-billed...not even a single Bonaparte's. And believe it or not, I wouldn't see a single Bonaparte's Gull for the entire hour I spent searching the sea this afternoon.

Driving past the Beanery, I noticed two perched Black Vultures, as well as the continuing American Kestrel. Sunset Beach was next, and it wasn't exactly hopping- a handful of Red-throated Loons here and there, as well as several fly-bys of Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead and Black Scoter. The highlight of the afternoon came from here in the form of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull flying south out of the bay.

I took a spin around Lily Lake, and couldn't locate a single Canada Goose, let alone Barnacle Bill. In all honesty, the only birds I saw on the lake were a handful of American Coots and Ruddy Ducks, and a couple pairs of Mallards. A check of the area around the Hawk Watch Platform at Cape May Pt. State Park produced a couple dozen Yellow-rumps and a single Palm Warbler, but the Yellow-breasted Chat once again eluded me...I think I might have to give up on this bird, it obviously has something against me.

Lastly, another session of seawatching from Coral Avenue didn't produce all that much, but there was a nice pair of Black Scoters sitting just offshore, and a few fly-bys of Gannet, Red-throated Loon and Surf Scoter to spice things up a bit.

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