Saturday, May 24, 2008

Contopus cooperi Update

We took a short walk around Higbee on the suspicion that one of the Olive-sided Flycatchers that was seen this morning might be more visible catching insects late in the day. Rather than run straight back to see if the bird was still around, we wanted to take a quick survey of what we could see or hear in the short time available.

There was some apparent activity this afternoon but not quite as much as I might have thought there would be after a good morning. Maybe it was still a little too much in the heat of the day. The general theory is that birds continue north during the day and thus leaving places like Higbee somewhat devoid of migrants in the later day. I can't say that I disagree with this idea. Though I do wish I had the time to be able to do a more exhaustive search during the afternoons during migration. I'd imagine that while not completely answering the questions that arise, having the ability to spend much of the day out taking note of species compositions and numbers, you might be able to draw some simple conclusions about the phenomena of migration on Cape Island. Ok, maybe I'm over simplifying a bit but given the time imagine the amounts of data that could be contributed. All in all we did gather some good data to support what we already know; birds quite down and slow their activities in the middle of the day! Profound right! If nothing else, with amount of effort accounted for, the sightings do get accounted for in my data entry to eBird.

Well, to cut a long story short, we did get to see the flycatcher. It ended up being back at the same location a couple of kind birders told us about this morning. The bird was fly-catching from the top of the line of trees between the overgrown field west of the back pond and the second tower field, seen from the overgrown field. For a better idea of the area I am talking about I have created a couple more maps to give you the general idea of where to look if you are out on Sunday morning.

I did happen to bump into Richard Crossley again and he told me of a couple of Black-billed Cuckoos that had been seen during the day (at various times) near the parking lot at Hidden Valley. I also forgot to mention previously, the seven (I think that was the total number) Black Terns he had yesterday at the TNC Migratory Bird Refuge. They were hanging on the "tern" island along the back side of the east trail.

I almost forgot to mention that I did not have the Wilson's Phalarope at the West Cape May impoundments after leaving Higbee. There was a group riding ATVs on the dike but there were still a few yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers.

I supposes that's enough for now. The short list for this afternoon is below.

(Higbee Beach WMA from above. Note New England Rd. at the top of the map, for getting your bearings. The star indicates the approximate location of the sighting this afternoon. click to enlarge)

(A more magnified view of the area. Again, the star indicates the approximate location the bird was seen fly-catching from. Both maps were made using Google Maps. click to enlarge)

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 5/24/08
Notes: 2521 steps = approx. 1.65 miles
Number of species: 36

Glossy Ibis 4
Turkey Vulture 1
Laughing Gull X
Herring Gull 1
Mourning Dove 6
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
Eastern Kingbird 6
Blue Jay X
Purple Martin 4
Tree Swallow X
Barn Swallow 6
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Carolina Wren X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Gray Catbird X
Cedar Waxwing X
Yellow Warbler X
Blackpoll Warbler 1
American Redstart X
Common Yellowthroat 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Field Sparrow X
Northern Cardinal X
Blue Grosbeak X
Indigo Bunting X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Orchard Oriole 2
House Finch X
American Goldfinch X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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