Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cape May Point State Park

I decided to force myself out of bed this morning, rain or not, to get out and see what might be happening bird wise. There was after all some migration happening overnight. After looking at David LaPuma's post in Birding Forecast last night I figured that there at least had to be some movement apparent at the State Park in the morning. After stepping outside the house at about midnight and tallying Clapper Rail flying over as a new yard bird I made up my mind to test my hypothesis. Besides, looking at the weather channel seemed to indicate that there was a good probability of a rainless morning. You may be asking yourself why I was so excited to hear a Clapper Rail fly over the house given that I live in Cape May. Well, the house is at its closest about two miles from the nearest salt marsh.

Also, after yesterdays excitement of watching a young Sharp-shinned Hawk try to take down a Northern Flicker in the back yard I was itching to get back on the horse and try to get out for a walk before work every day I can. Watching the exchange between the flicker and sharpie was fascinating. The hawk ultimately was riding the back of the flicker as it struggled for life flapping and trying desperately to gain some advantage which would result in freedom. Ultimately the flicker won. It "swam" its way to a brush pile I put in the back for smaller birds to seek refuge from hawks hunting the feeders. Not that I mind hawks hunting my feeders at all. After all, I was and still am (even if in spirit) a hawk counter. I just never thought that something like a flicker would be using the wood pile to its' advantage.

At around 6:00 a.m. The Weather Channel indicated a SW wind but there was not much evidence of any real migration this morning, at least here in Cape May. All in all the birding was still excellent. Sixty-three species in an hour and fifteen minutes is pretty good if you ask me. Highlights would still be the numbers of Northern Gannets coupled with the good flight of scoter and numerous Red-throated Loons. I started out on the first dune crossing searching the fog/haze for signs of life on the watter to be rewarded with good numbers of birds moving around once the air cleared a bit. I was told that the show continued longer than I had time to watch.

I did notice that watching the scoter in flight with the fog/haze backdrop was a great way to study the head shape differences between Black and Surf Scoters at a distance. I guess the elongated blocky head of the surf stood out more in comparison to the blacks more diminutive head. I personally have struggled with gaining my search image in identifying dark winged scoter in flight. Not that I am ready to count full time at the sea watch but something in this mornings study really clicked in my brain.

There are still a handful of Pine Warblers at the back of the State Park along with the Cooper's Hawk who was diligently building it's nests this morning. I watched as the bird raced back and forth to gather nesting materials really seeming to care less that I was standing some what near by.

Like I say, it was all in all a good morning. As usual the eBird list is below.

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 4/5/08
Notes: 3258 steps = approx. 2.4 mi.
Number of species: 63

Canada Goose 9
Mute Swan 8
Gadwall 2
Mallard 12
Ring-necked Duck 4
Surf Scoter 145
Black Scoter 165
dark-winged scoter sp. 125
Long-tailed Duck 4
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Ruddy Duck 3
Red-throated Loon 20
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Northern Gannet 250
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 1
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 1
Cooper's Hawk 2
Killdeer 1
Willet 2
Least Sandpiper 1
Wilson's Snipe 4
Laughing Gull 8
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 25
Great Black-backed Gull 15
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 6
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 6
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay X
American Crow 4
Fish Crow 20
Purple Martin 1
Tree Swallow 4
Carolina Chickadee 4
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 28
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 20
Gray Catbird 4
Northern Mockingbird 4
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling X
American Pipit 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 100
Pine Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 1
Eastern Towhee 10
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 35
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 2
Northern Cardinal 20
Red-winged Blackbird 52
Common Grackle 45
Brown-headed Cowbird 8
House Finch 8
House Sparrow X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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