Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dickcissel at Goshen, Wind in Cape May

Wind peaked at a rather brisk 63 miles per hour in Cape May Tuesday, and continues to blow a steady 20-30 today. Tuesday morning, our CMBO workshop braved the wind at the Concrete Ship for the first hour and a half of the day, where we saw a rather diverse mix of things that surprisingly didn't include jaeger or Bonaparte's Gull (our targets), but did include flyby Snow Goose, Black Skimmer, numerous Northern Gannets and Royal Terns, a few Forster's Terns, my first Bufflehead of the season, both dark-winged scoters, and a delightfully brave Palm Warbler which hunkered in the lee of one of the wooden car stops for many minutes before suddenly taking it into its head to try to fly into the gale. It jumped up into the wind and flapped steadily for several seconds, barely holding its own as if in a wind tunnel, before giving up. In the afternoon yesterday we went indoors at the Center for Research and Education in Goshen, where we were graced with a Dickcissel at the feeders.

This morning the Beanery was. . .windy. A couple Winter Wrens and many Savannah Sparrows and Killdeer were most of what we could manage. An adult Bald Eagle did fly over, 3 "Blue" Snow Geese passed with 3 white ones. I also saw three Snow Buntings fly past, but in the high winds they were gone before I could call them out to the group.

In late morning, the meadows held the assortment of ducks that has been building in Cape May in recent days, including the persisting Hooded Merganser that has now nearly completed its molt into breeding plumage, and three hen Bufflehead that dropped in while we watched. Many dabbling ducks are now well along towards breeding plumage. Drake Green-winged Teal, for example, are showing a nifty mixture of the mottled brown eclipse feathers and new gray ones on their flanks. Land birds at the meadows included Hermit Thrush, Field Sparrows, and numerous Savannah, Swamp and Song Sparrows.

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