Saturday, January 17, 2009

EARED GREBE- Cape May Harbor

(EDIT: Image of the Cape May Harbor Eared Grebe provided by Bob Fogg,

(click on the map for full size image)

I received a call at about 10:40 this morning from Bob Fogg that he had found a Horned/Eared type grebe in the Cape May Harbor. He couldn't be 100% sure as he only had his binoculars with him and the bird was a distance away. Since I was running to the bank and had my scope in the car I told him I'd be there as soon as I was done.

I arrived at the end of Texas Ave. (see yellow X on above map) to find that Vince Elia had arrived but neither he nor Bob had been able to relocate the bird. The last location that Bob had seen the bird was near the mouth of the Cape May Canal but the bird had been diving and heading back behind the pilings at the marina across the way. Laura briefly saw a bird that looked good for the grebe across the way, but as Bob had said, it swam back behind the distant pilings.

So of course we decided to head up to the canal area see what vantage point we could get from that general area and were rewarded with a confirmation of this species as Eared Grebe. The bird was swimming around a good bit but I have put red "X's" on the Google Map above to indicate the area that it stayed in while we viewed the bird. When I left (around 11:45ish) the bird had been swimming out more toward the middle of the harbor.

As suggestions, you might try the canal area as it seemed to favor the piling area around the marina. Other great vantage points (where you can scan pretty much the whole harbor ) would be the end of Texas Ave. and from the dirt pull off along Delaware Ave (near the NJAS Nature Center of Cape May).

There are also good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Bufflehead, a female Common Goldeneye (in the portion of the harbor that we saw the grebe) numbers of scaup, a Long-tailed Duck and of course Brant. While I did not have the time to give the harbor a through survey (didn't wear proper winter clothes today, go figure!) it would behoove anyone heading out to look for this bird to survey the rest of the waterfowl. Remember there is a Barrow's Goldeneye and a Tufted Duck on the Choptank River of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

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