Sunday, October 5, 2008

A quick walk at the State Park, migration weather and an eBird "Thank You"

Some good friends were in town over the weekend (a WSB team mate and his better half to be precise) so Laura and I met up for a nice morning of conversation and birding before they had to head back over on the ferry for home.  As it goes with seeing old friend the focus was really more on good conversation and catching up than serious birding but we had a few good sightings. 

There were many birds (including many passerines) flying over head, even as late as about 9 a.m.  Like tends to happen many times, most birds were aloft and relatively unidentifiable.  Yellow-rumped Warblers are certainly "in" these days and we heard, the first of the fall for me at least, White-throated Sparrow at the back portion of the trails system. Not many birds flitting in the back stands of pines.  This is actually a great area to look for migrants on slower days, for some reason they tend to like this area of the park (probably the habitat!) and the pines seem to be quite magnetic at times.

There were a good number of hawks up and about early.  Though, I do not relish the job the Seth (the official hawk counter) has as counting on the "mill about" days as I call them, can be quite tedious in terms of figuring out which birds might actually be moving.  Trust me I speak from experience.  Having been privileged enough to have been the hawk counter for CMBO for two seasons, there are a number of days that the counting is some what simple but that is well overshadowed, in my opinion, by the days where the birds just seem to be hanging out.

A number (hundreds it seemed) of terns and gulls out on the rips this morning should prove to be a great magnet themselves for hungry jaegers.  I thought I had spotted one (at quite a distance) but as it went below the horizon and never reappeared I could not say for sure.

One quick correction to one of yesterdays post.  I indicated that my friends from Braddock Bay had seen the Mississippi Kite from Hidden Valley yesterday morning.  As it turns out the bird could have been seen from the hawk watch area.  Looking at the eBird Google Gadget it actually looks like many were lucky enough to be a part of the rare occurrence here in Cape May.  I have to say I am quite jealous, I'd love to have had a two kite day here in Cape May.  Spring certainly gives better chances for this type of sighting but as I say, a pretty rare occurrence for the fall.  As Tom Reed pointed out this is only the 3rd autumnal record (a quick search of the NJ records for this species, up to date as of '05, confirms this to be the case) for Swallow-tailed Kite in Cape May. 

As for the migration weather.  Make sure to keep tabs on David La Puma's continued excellent forecasts as the fall progresses.  I know he is very busy these days but he continues to help keep the birding community at large well informed on what the weather may bring us.  In terms of up coming days, I wanted to put out there that it looks like Monday night could bring about another round of excellent migration.  David's forecast cuts off at Monday a.m. at this point but currently winds are forecast to be out of the North at 10+ Monday night.  Stay tuned to the Mid-Atlantic Forecast for further updates as time progresses.

Lastly, one thing I have been wanting to mention is a note from Team eBird.  Many of you may remember a post I wrote about making your sightings information sent to eBird more robust ("Make your checklists more meaningful"- 6/23/08) in which I discuss that the eBird team was encouraging observes to try and submit observations with greater effort based information.  Well, recently they posted a brief article which indicates that they are indeed receiving fewer "casual observation" reports.  I'm very glad to hear that eBird is receiving more robust data from observers and would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of you out there utilizing eBird, especially if you are taking the extra time necessary to make your observations count!  As I have said many times and will continue to say, this minor effort it takes to use this fantastic personal database (meaning eBird) can and will make a world of difference in the long run for helping conservation and migratory birds.  For more information on the "Effort-based Observations--An eBird Thank You!" article, visit the eBird site.  If you have yet to give the eBird progam a try you definitely should!

Below, as usual, is the list from today short walk.

Location:     Cape May Point SP
Observation date:     10/5/08
Notes:     4853 steps = approx 2.85 miles
Number of species:     45

Canada Goose     X
Mute Swan     X
Mallard     X
Blue-winged Teal     2
Northern Shoveler     12
Green-winged Teal     10
Great Egret     1
Snowy Egret     4
Osprey     4
Sharp-shinned Hawk     25
Cooper's Hawk     10
Merlin     5
Laughing Gull     X
Ring-billed Gull     X
Herring Gull     X
Great Black-backed Gull     X
Forster's Tern     X
Royal Tern     X
Rock Pigeon     X
Mourning Dove     X
Belted Kingfisher     2
Northern Flicker     12
Blue Jay     X
American Crow     X
Fish Crow     X
Carolina Chickadee     X
Tufted Titmouse     X
Carolina Wren     X
American Robin     X
Gray Catbird     X
Northern Mockingbird     X
European Starling     X
Cedar Waxwing     X
Black-throated Blue Warbler     X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)     X
Palm Warbler     25
Blackpoll Warbler     X
Black-and-white Warbler     X
Common Yellowthroat     X
Savannah Sparrow     X
Song Sparrow     X
White-throated Sparrow     X
Northern Cardinal     X
Red-winged Blackbird     X
House Sparrow     X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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