Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tues. 2/5: flyover Redpoll and Common Eiders in C.M. Point, displaying woodcock, more signs of spring

It was a great day to be outside in southern New Jersey, with temperatures topping out around 60 degrees, even though it felt much warmer than that when the sun occasionally poked through the generally overcast sky.

Upon arriving at Cape May Point this afternoon, the first bird I heard as I stepped out of my car near CMBO's Northwood Center was a Common Redpoll flying over. The adult Red-shouldered Hawk was perched along the north end of Lily Lake, and on the lake itself was the continuing Canvasback- however, there was no sign of the Barnacle Goose (only ~50 Canada Geese) or the Redheads. The American Kestrel that has been wintering around the Beanery was present this afternoon, perched on the telephone lines near the entrance. I once again struck out on the Yellow-breasted Chat at the State Park.

A walk along the beach from Alexander Avenue (the jetty south of Sunset Beach) to St. Mary's didn't turn up much overall, but each rock-groin hosted a single Ruddy Turnstone, and there were 5 Common Eiders on the water, a little south of Brainard Avenue (Brainard is the road leading west from the north end of the pavilion circle). A passing Coast Guard boat flushed at least two dozen Red-throated Loons off the water, a decent number, and likely augmented by newly-arrived birds from the south. Large numbers of Red-throated Loons stage in the mouth of Delaware Bay from February through April before returning to far northern Canada to breed, and numbers will increase every week from now through the end of March.

American Woodcock were displaying at Kimble's Beach Road and (fittingly) Woodcock Trail this evening. Three birds were displaying at Kimble's; two at Woodcock Trail. The birds along Kimble's Beach Road started displaying at exactly 5:45pm, and included one bird that was visible, and only about 15 feet away from me, on the Songbird Trail behind the former Cape May NWR headquarters. While I was waiting for the woodcock to start displaying, a single Red Bat flew by, and a few Spring Peepers called as well...not too shabby for the fifth day of February.

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