Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Finches, Glaucous Gull, and Results from CMBO's Marsh Raptor Survey

[Tony Klock photographed this Short-eared Owl at Newport Landing during CMBO's Winter Marsh Raptor Survey using a camera phone through a scope.]

Continuing the good year for White-winged Crossbills, Tom Magarian had two over the CMBO Center for Research and Education in Goshen on Monday January 26, and Vince Elia had 10 over St. Peter's Church in Cape May Point on Sunday, January 25. Vince told me they followed a typical morning flight migrant pattern in Cape May, apparently coming down the coast and swinging westward when they reached Cape May Point. White-winged Crossbills, like other finches, are believed to be diurnal migrants that occasionally "get up early," i.e. begin movement before sunrise.

On Saturday January 24, Bob Fogg found a Glaucous Gull at one of Cape May's better gull spots, the fisheries plant along Ocean Drive. This is the road leading from the traffic light at the south end of the parkway eastward toward the Wildwoods. The gull area can be checked from either side of the toll bridge on Ocean Drive - just be sure to park beyond any no parking signs, and expect to pay $1 to head west across the bridge.

Also on Saturday, I watched two Common Redpolls at Villas WMA as they left some pines in the center of the WMA, circled, and flew out headed west. Two Red-headed Woodpeckers were also at Villas, and the female Eurasian Wigeon and male Redhead continue on the pond there.

Brian Moscatello and Janet Sedocino found two Tri-colored Herons on Nummy's Island Sunday. Speaking of lingering birds, I understand one of the Rufous Hummingbirds is still coming to the feeder at 711 New England Road.

Up in northern Cumberland County, the crane flock continues to be seen. Kathy and Roger Horn saw the birds Saturday, and report: "They came bugling in at 4:50. Head out toward Husted Landing . Where it says 'marina to R & Sales & Service to the Left, go Left. They were in the empty plowed field on the right, just past the Husted house. Karl had them yesterday afternoon in the corn field right behind the house so it seems that's the area they come back to in the evening. We also had kestrel,sharpy, red-shouldered hawk , a huge flock of turkeys along with one very bright peacock and horned lark in the surroundeing area. K&R"

CMBO conducted a winter marsh raptor survey on Sunday. Eleven locations in NJ's southern four counties were surveyed according to a standardized protocol in the hour surrounding sunset. The primary species of interest for this survey are Northern Harrier and Short-eared Owl, and 92 harriers 18 short-ears were tallied. Thanks go out to the many volunteers observers who participated in the survey! When all the results are in, we'll post more highlights here.

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