Thursday, November 13, 2008

Birding Cape May and sharing your eBird checklists

For those wondering, the "test" message that was affixed to this section, well,was of course a test. But, it also represents an effort to integrate features into the site to make for a more user friendly informational section. Please pardon any further "tests" that may show up from time to time in our efforts to work the bugs out.

Below I have included our eBird list from this past Tuesday. While not the main focus of my post I figured that I'd include the list for reference more than anything. But just one note on the day's birding. We started off a little later but we well rewarded when we walked the north edge of the second tower field at Higbee. Laura, another observer and I were walking along when I saw what I thought was a Snow Bunting in the grass along with the numerous Swamp and Song Sparrows at the edge of the trail. I was thinking the same thing that you are right now. A Snow Bunting!?! In the grass, in a field at Higbee!?! We walked a little closer and the bird popped up to reveal that it was actually a leucistic sparrow. After tracking the bird down a few times we, along with Richard Crossley, decided that this bird was a Swamp Sparrow. It's interesting trying to identify a bird like this as you have to go almost purely on the over size and shape alone. Along with behavior. This bird was pretty much all white with only some rufous in the crown, in the wings and an eyeline. Having multiple Song, White-throated, Field and Swamp Sparrows was great affording you to virtually see which "peg fits the hole" if you will in terms of identification. Definitely a very interesting bird to find.

In terms of recent sightings, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird was noted on the Northwood
Center sightings sheets to have made a visit to volunteer Bev Linn's feeder. Cave Swallows continue to be seen all around Cape May. The more sizable concentrations being seen at the hawkwatch and from the Cape May city beach front where about 100 were observed on evening of the eleventh. Though, Cave Swallows are being seen from most of the typical birding locations on the Island.

The Sedge Wren which has been seen in most every section of the back of the first field at Higbee, continues to be seen as of yesterday at least. I had not heard of any sightings today but given the weather this is not much of a surprise.

Bob Fogg had an interesting find at TNC's Cape Island Preserve on Wednesday. In the late afternoon he called to let me know that he had found a flycatcher which did not look quite right. The problem was that the bird was, at the time, on the move. Since pretty much any flycatcher other than Eastern Phoebe is interesting at this date and in lee of the flycatcher found in Rhode Island extra care was taken in relocation and documentation for this bird. Currently I believe the debate surrounding this bird is that it is an Empidonax sp. possibly Willow/Alder or Acadian. I won't expound on my thoughts at this point but rather let you take a look and come to your own conclusions. To view photos you can visit Bob's web site.

Other interesting bird notes are a second record breaking Northern Gannet flight. On Wednesday, swing counter Dan Berard counted an amazing 21,627 gannets in addition to 24,637 Double-crested Cormorants. Talk about being busy.

Finches continue to fly over Cape May in good numbers, a very late Black-billed Cuckoo was fond today at TNC's Cape Island Preserve and a Cattle Egret continues along Bayshore just south of Stimpson Lane, on the west side of the road.

Lastly, a note about a very excellent new eBird feature. Just released a few days ago, you can can now share your eBird checklist/s with any other eBird user. I foresee trip leaders getting the most use out of this new feature, but anyone who birds with more than one person on a trip can make use of the feature. Think of what an additional time saving feature this adds to leading or participating in guided walks. I would encourage any leader to offer and participants to request sharing a walks eBird list. I know that this will make using eBird a lot easier for Laura and I. This would also be a great way for an eBird user to show an non-user the merits of the program. If you like to read more you can view the checklist sharing info and instructions here.

Location: Cape Island
Observation date: 11/11/08
Notes: 8999 steps = approx. 5.9 miles
Number of species: 78

Canada Goose X
Mute Swan X
Gadwall 15
American Wigeon 130
American Black Duck 36
Mallard X
Northern Shoveler 8
Northern Pintail 6
Green-winged Teal 35
Hooded Merganser 3
Ruddy Duck 20
Common Loon 2
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant X
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 1
Black Vulture 12
Turkey Vulture 115
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Harrier 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 30
Cooper's Hawk 8
Red-shouldered Hawk 15
Red-tailed Hawk 40
American Kestrel 2
American Coot 15
Killdeer 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove 25
Red-bellied Woodpecker 12
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 25
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay X
American Crow X
Tree Swallow 30
Cave Swallow 12
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren X
Sedge Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 25
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Eastern Bluebird 35
Hermit Thrush 8
American Robin 1000
Northern Mockingbird X
Brown Thrasher 4
European Starling X
American Pipit 4
Cedar Waxwing X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 200
Chipping Sparrow 45
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 35
Savannah Sparrow 10
Grasshopper Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 250
Swamp Sparrow 350
White-throated Sparrow 1500
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 20
Northern Cardinal X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Eastern Meadowlark 12
Common Grackle X
Purple Finch 50
House Finch 85
Pine Siskin 25
American Goldfinch 250
House Sparrow X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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