Friday, September 5, 2008

George's Walk (Higbee Beach WMA) & storm birdin'

As many of you know, some of our birding friends to the south all to well at this point, tropical storm Hanna will be moving through the area in the next 36 hours or so. While many home owners don't like the idea of hurricanes or tropical storms, we birders relish the ability to see generally pelagic species from shore. Let's face it, these days you have to spend anywhere from $125-$200 for a pelagic trip out to see many of the birds which a storm may bring ashore.

In this area, in general, the day of and the day after the storms passage are the best times to look for these wayward species as they are making their way back to the ocean. As is referenced below, good birding was had during the day the storm (Hurricane Floyd) was moving through the area. In fact one of the best places to watch for storm birds is at Sunset Beach. There is limited cover in case of rain but the birds often are relatively close to land. You might also try watching from the covered pavilion at the Second Ave. jetty.

One thing I wanted to share with everyone were the thoughts of Research Associate, Bob Fogg who has been following the track of this storm with much anticipation. While I have had my doubts, especially when they initially forecast the storm to make landfall in Georgia, Bob has been quite optimistic and hopeful. Only time will tell what the storm brings of course, and we all are hoping for some good birds!

"keeping an eye on this storm track - and checking some previous storm tracks this seems to be most similar to Hurricane Floyd from 1999. (Almost identical and around the same time period - 9/16.)

Here's a quote from the RBA:
'Observers during Hurricane Floyd, on September 16th, sea watched from Cape May Point and saw: 40-50 SOOTY TERNS, 8-10 BRIDLED TERNS, 1 ADULT ARCTIC TERN, 2 BLACK TERNS, 25 SANDWICH TERNS, 1 WILSONS STORM PETREL, 35 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 1 POMARINE JAEGER, 1 shearwater, 17 RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, and 25 phalarope species.

The following day, Sept. 17, 2 ARCTIC TERNS, 4 SANDWICH TERNS, 1 BLACK TERN, and a GOLDEN PLOVER were enjoyed by seawatchers at Cape May Point.' "

Hurricane Floyd track 1999 (image from Wikipedia)

Forecast track of TS Hanna (image from

Below is the list from today's George's walk at Higbee Beach WMA. The species list is a little lean given the southerly flow but completely expected. Though, I'd say that a good time was had by all. And, as usual, the parking lot proves to be a productive birding spot on a slower day! Heck, the parking lots is always one of the more productive spots at Higbee!!

Location: Higbee Beach
Observation date: 9/5/08
Notes: This is the weekly CMBO walk, led today by Steve Weis, Karl Lukens, Patty Rourke, and Chuck and MaryJane Slugg. We had participants from New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia, in addition to the expected New Jerseyans. The birds were few and far between, with the largest number and variety seen at the beginning in the parking lot.
Number of species: 36
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Laughing Gull X
Herring Gull X
Mourning Dove X
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
White-eyed Vireo 3
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 3
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Carolina Wren 10
House Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing 25
Magnolia Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 5
American Redstart 5
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Northern Cardinal X
Indigo Bunting X
Common Grackle X
Baltimore Oriole 10
House Finch X
American Goldfinch X
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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