Thursday, April 10, 2008

Belated Black-headed Gull report; WSB is coming; Cape May Point Report

[The first step in any World Series of Birding Plan - fight with your teammates while looking at a map. Click to enlarge.]

I neglected to report on Monday that Pete Dunne found a first winter Black-headed Gull with the Bonaparte's flock at the Concrete Ship after our Monday Cape May Meadows walk, always a nice find.

The 25th Annual World Series of Birding is exactly one month away. The Carl Zeiss Optical/CMBO team (consisting of Pete Dunne, Will Russell, Tom Reed, Evan Obercian, and me) has been planning hard. That mainly means arguing while looking at maps.

One thing we have discovered, to our great pleasure, is how the tides align on May 10 PERFECTLY for a team, like us, that prefers "the eastern run," i.e. heading south along the Atlantic side of the state. Only mavericks like us seem to choose to buck the Delaware River/Salem County trend, but following that eastern route will have us at South Amboy about 2 hours pre-high tide, at Brig at high, and (assuming we go striaght from Brig to Heislerville) at high again at Heislerville. Just right. Conversely, tides are low in Salem in the early afternoon, definitely not what one would prefer there for looking for things like Pectoral Sandpiper.

If you have never tried the WSB, well, you must - it's an essential birding experience. If you don't want to plunge in headfirst, consider joining the CMBO Century Run team, led by our stellar Associate Naturalists, which sets out at the relatively tame hour of 5 a.m. (or you can join it later still at 7 a.m.), birds mostly south of the Cape May Canal, and routinely exceeds 130 species on the day. Call the Center for Research and Education at 609.861.0700 to sign up. For more on the WSB, just click on the World Series of Birding button on this web site.

Finally, Chuck and MJ Slugg sent the following list from the Wednesday Cape May Point Walk, which begins every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Cape May Point State Park.

Location: Cape May Point
Observation date: 4/9/08
Notes: Wed. morning walk included the short loop at the state park, streets in Cape May Point, Lake Lily, and St. Peter's jetty.
Number of species: 43
Canada Goose 20
Mute Swan 4
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 24
Ring-necked Duck 2
Red-throated Loon 2
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Northern Gannet 50
Double-crested Cormorant 4
Great Egret 1
Cooper's Hawk 2
American Coot 8
Killdeer 1
Wilson's Snipe 1
Laughing Gull 3
Ring-billed Gull 2
Herring Gull 20
Great Black-backed Gull 8
Forster's Tern 1
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 20
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 20
Fish Crow 10
Tree Swallow 10
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 8
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 75
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 100
Cedar Waxwing 35
Eastern Towhee 2
Song Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 50
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Northern Cardinal 6
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 30
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 3

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