Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wilson's Storm-Petrel- First of the summer!

Bob Fogg just called Laura to let her know he was watching the first storm-petrel of the summer flying around over the ocean. He was viewing the bird from one of the dune crossovers at the TNC Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge.

While this species is theorized to be the most numerous species (in terms of individuals) in the world, they are not extremely common here in the near shore waters of Cape May. Though, they are often observed (usually individually or sometimes in smallish groups) through the summer when sea watching for more than a few moments. The best places, in general, to look for this species is flying over the Delaware Bay, seen from the jetties of Cape May Point. Though, obviously, they can bee seen from the TNC property or the Cape May Point State Park, flying over the ocean. Be careful though, as you can easily confuse a distant Barn Swallow or Purple Martin for a storm-petrel. It is best to try and observe the flight style to clue yourself in to an identification. Swallows and Martins never stop and hover over the water and generally fly in sweeping motions. Storm-Petrels flight is more erratic and they often hover (pattering their feet on the surface of the watter) when foraging for food.

Bob also has (at approx. 11:40 a.m.) three Pectoral Sandpipers at the TNC property.

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