Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peregrine headed our way; Wilson's Phalarope, Coot, and you better take tomorrow off!

In October, Peregrines are always headed our way - towards Cape May - but we have a special one approaching. One of the Falcon Research Group's telemetered peregrines, Elizabetha, is due to be in Maine tomorrow, or perhaps today. Elizabetha was tagged on January 22, 2008 in La Trinchera, Chile, with a transmitter and a band numbered 1687-02756 . She migrated north through the middle of North America, and summered northeast of Hudson's Bay at her presumed nesting site in the Canadian Arctic. Now southbound, she may be headed along the coast. Given the weather forecast, she could wind up in Cape May in the next few days.

The Falcon Research Group's Southern Cross Project is investigating the movements and breeding locations of "deep" Peregrines, those birds that winter well into southern South America. These birds, Peregrines of the tundrius subspecies, may travel 9,000 miles in both spring and fall, the longest migration of any raptor in the world! Many of Cape May's Peregrines fall into the "deep" category - something to marvel at the next time you see one from the hawk watch platform!!

It's anti-climatic to switch from such a bird to American Coots or even Wilson's Phalaropes, but. . . A Wilson's Phal with an injured leg appeared at the South Cape May Meadows last night, and was there this morning - Jon Kauffman tipped me off about it, and I watched it get up with a bunch of yellowlegs and head towards the state park around 8:30 this morning.

Our Bird Walk for All People today found the first American Coot I've seen this fall at Bunker Pond - it apparently was there at least since yesterday. A Winter Wren chimp-chimped along the red trail. And, we saw a Peregrine.

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