Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Parasitic Jaegers and Least Tern off the Meadows

Bob Fogg and I birded the South Cape May Meadows a.k.a. TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge this very pleasant evening. The definite highlight came in the form of three spectacular Parasitic Jaegers pursuing Forster's Terns off the Meadow's beach, not exactly an expected sighting the day after Earth Day. One bird was a light adult, one was extremely dark based on the quite good views we had and sported an adult's tail streamers, and one bird appeared to be a light subadult. The ocean really layed down this evening, and with that plus the lack of heat waves the viewing from the Meadow's dune crossover was extraordinary.

We also saw a Least Tern foraging off the meadows, my first of the year and early at that. The Piping Plovers were very much in evidence vocally, issuing frequent "peep-lo"'s and occasionally their long display song, "fweeep - - fweeeep - -fweeep. . . " Six Gadwall flew from the Meadows out over the ocean and landed there a while, seeming somehow out of place as dabbling ducks in such a setting always do. Gannets, Surf Scoters, and Red-throated Loons passed, and the coots continue in the meadows, too - with World Series of Birding approaching, I hope they stick and are perhaps joined by a moorhen or two.

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