[Above center-front, one of four Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach off South Cape May on Monday night, a first year here with three Great Black-backeds. Digiscoped by Don Freiday, click to enlarge. Check out Michael O'Brien's field i.d. article on lessbacks.]
Bob Fogg and I spent some time photographing Lesser Black-backed Gulls and other birds at the Cape May Meadows yesterday evening. We found at least four different individuals including one with adult-like bare part colors and an entirely dark gray back (see photo at bottom of this post.) The Hooded Merganser continues at the meadows, 2 Willets were there, and I hear from Tom Magarian that a Least Bittern was heard there this morning. Vince Elia reported that a small flight of shorebirds occurred this morning, too, featuring 10 Lesser Yellowlegs, 6 Least Sandpipers, and 2 dowitchers. The male Ruddy Duck continues on Lighthouse Pond, repored by several people, and a Black-billed Cuckoo was heard at the Beanery today by Tom Magarian.
I birded the woods and edges along Indian Trail Road (which runs from Route 47, north of Green Creek, across the peninsula to Route 9 ) early this morning, trying to beat the traffic on this birdy but heavily traveled road. A full dozen Chuck-will's-Widows sang through about 5:10 a.m. Two of the 'chucks pursued each other through the woods giving their low, growl-type calls - these are big birds, with a wingspread over two feet wide. The Kentucky and Prothonotary Warblers I was hoping for at Indian Trail were silent, as was almost everything else - a Scarlet Tanager Sang only once, as did an Ovenbird. I did hear two Black-and-white Warblers and one Blue-winged at the Indian Trail powerline. A Barred Owl hooted once before dawn, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo sang regularly. Three Yellow-breasted Chats were enthusiastic singers at the Bayshore tract of the Cape May NWR.
[Below, another Lesser Black-backed Gull on the beach at the Cape May Meadows Monday night.]