Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunset Back Bay Cruise Report, a few notes from here and there

No further word on the state park Eurasian Collared-dove.

On Saturday, CMBO's first Sunset Cruise for Fall Migrants on Dave Githen's boat, the Osprey, enjoyed light winds and featured MANY herons and egrets, including a number of juvenile Tri-colored Herons. We boated from Cape May harbor to Champagne Island and back. A bathing adult Clapper Rail provided stellar views near the Miss Chris Marina, and there were two Peregrines near the usual Peregrine haunt at the Coast Guard Water Tower. The tide was up a bit so we had fewer mudflats than we would have liked, but nonetheless saw many Black-bellied Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Ruddy Turnstones, and other shorebird species. Caspian Terns were scattered along the intracoastal waterway, as were a few Royals, though the bulk of them were roosting on Champagne Island in Hereford Inlet. A few Common Terns fed under the toll bridge to Nummy Island. The full list is below. Our next cruise is Saturday October 11, and we also offer bird-focused back bay cruises on the Osprey on Sundays and Mondays.

Conditions have not been good for landbird migration in recent days, to put it mildly. E.g.,
Karl Lukens et. al. report on the CMBO Saturday "Beanery" walk: "Kind of slow going although the Sharp-shinned Hawks and Kestrels were constantly over head. - Karl (Judy, Kathy & Roger Horn, Patty Rourke, Bill Smythe)". It looks like birding on the passerine front will improve for Monday and Tuesday, according to David La Puma's birding forecast.

The Saturday afternoon Hawks, Trails and Beach Walk fared well, according to Chuck and MJ Slugg. This walk begins at the hawk watch platform at 3:00 p.m. The list from yesterday is below.

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 9/27/08
Notes: A highlight of the Hawks, Trails, & Beach Walk was a Merlin sitting in a tree eating dinner. We also had great looks at the Common Nighthawks.
Number of species: 43
Canada Goose 15
Mute Swan 10
Gadwall 4
Mallard 30
Blue-winged Teal 10
Green-winged Teal 20
Ruddy Duck 1
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 8
Green Heron 1
Osprey 5
Merlin 2
Greater Yellowlegs 40
Lesser Yellowlegs 10
Least Sandpiper 4
Laughing Gull 16
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 6
Great Black-backed Gull 50
Forster's Tern 2
Black Skimmer 75
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 3
Common Nighthawk 5
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 40
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Wren 6
House Wren 1
Marsh Wren 1
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 6
Brown Thrasher 5
European Starling 20
Yellow Warbler 5
Palm Warbler 7
American Redstart 5
Savannah Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
American Goldfinch 2

Location: Grassy Sound
Observation date: 9/27/08
Notes: CMBO Sunset Cruise for fall Migrants, from Cape May Harbor to Champagne Island and back. A very few birds not seen by all participants (most were).
Number of species: 43
American Black Duck 5
Double-crested Cormorant 500
Great Blue Heron 15
Great Egret 30
Snowy Egret 80
Little Blue Heron 2
Tricolored Heron 8
Black-crowned Night-Heron 20
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 5
Northern Harrier 2
Peregrine Falcon 2
Clapper Rail 2
Black-bellied Plover 300
Semipalmated Plover 5
American Oystercatcher 140
Greater Yellowlegs 20
Willet 10
Ruddy Turnstone 20
Sanderling 10
Western Sandpiper 20
Least Sandpiper 10
White-rumped Sandpiper 2
Dunlin 5
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Caspian Tern 15
Common Tern 20
Forster's Tern X
Royal Tern 75
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher 1
American Crow X
Fish Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Marsh Wren 1
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Boat-tailed Grackle 25

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