Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nummy Island on a Blowout Tide: 309 Oystercatchers!

The extreme west winds of the past two days created a "blowout" low tide on the southern Atlantic Coast this afternoon, exposing mudflats and mussel beds in the vicinity of Stone Harbor to a far greater extent than normal. The most remarkable result of these conditions was a concentration of American Oystercatchers near the free bridge to Nummy Island. There have been many oystercatchers around for weeks, but during CMBO's birding workshop today we did an actual, careful count and came up with 309, which is perhaps the highest count from a single location ever for Cape May County.

Also on the flats were single Marbled Godwit, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Western Willet. An immature male Common Eider was in Great Channel north of the free bridge, probably the bird that summered in the area. A female Red-breasted Merganser flew past, and the sight and sound of Atlantic Brant emphasized that winter seems to have come, although temperatures and winds are supposed to moderate in the next two days.

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