Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Meadows Walk: Swallows, Ibis, Bittern, LAGUS and WIND!

[This American Bittern flushed, landed and posed along the west path at the meadows, hunkered out of the wind in the lee of bayberry bushes, a treat for our Monday walk participants. Photo by Karl Lukens.]
With sunny skies but a howling west gale, we all had reservations about today's Monday Morning Meadows walk, but it began with the spectactle of 100's of Laughing Gulls flying in over the meadows from the east, and just got better. LAGU's had been mostly in onesies and twosies at least through yesterday morning. I remarked that this might be the last time I actually try to count them - got about 400.

Four Blue-winged Teal were my FOS's (first of season), though they've been reported for a while by others. Waves of Double-crested Cormorants were flying in from across the bay, and a female American Kestrel put in an appearance. We found a single Piping Plover in the sandstorm on the beach, the 4 American Oystercatchers are still around, and plenty of gannets were still apparent offshore, though in smaller numbers than the past two days. Six species of gulls roosted on the island east of the east path, including single Bonaparte's and Lesser Black-backed. Two Glossy Ibis flushed and flew over, two Barn Swallows and a number of Tree Swallows passed, and as a final treat the American Bittern pictured above posed beautifully. The full list is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 3/30/09
Notes: CMBO Monday walk. Howling west wind, clear skies after frontal passage.
Number of species: 54
Brant 20
Canada Goose 20
Mute Swan 25
Wood Duck 2
Gadwall 10
American Wigeon 4
Mallard 40
Blue-winged Teal 4
Northern Shoveler 10
Green-winged Teal 10
Ring-necked Duck 1
Surf Scoter X
Black Scoter X
Northern Gannet X
Double-crested Cormorant 400
Great Cormorant 1
American Bittern 1
Great Egret 3
Glossy Ibis 2
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey 5
American Kestrel 1
Piping Plover 1
Killdeer 1
American Oystercatcher 4
Greater Yellowlegs 4
Sanderling 2
Bonaparte's Gull 1
Laughing Gull 400 Came in over the meadows from the east in flocks.Also many over the ocean.
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull X
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull X
Forster's Tern 25
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 1
American Crow X
Fish Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin X
European Starling X
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Song Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
House Finch X
House Sparrow X

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