Monday, April 13, 2009

Northwest Wind in the Meadows: Swallow-tailed Kite, other Raptors, Herons

I just got word that Jason Guerard had a Swallow-tailed Kite in Cape May around noon today, over TNC's Cape Island Preserve east of Broadway. There is vicarious pleasure from the sighting, at least, since we predicted that species this morning during CMBO's Meadows walk, given the northwest wind.

Even sans kite it was a good raptor day for CMBO's Monday walk. We wound up with 8 raptor species, not including the vultures, with two perched Merlins on the beach a highlight. The "local" adult Bald Eagle soared over as the walk concluded at 9:30 a.m.

An adult Little Blue Heron flew over, briefly circling a roosting group of Great and Snowy Egrets as if looking for one of its own kind before continuing north towards the Beanery. Little Blue has been reported since at least March 31 this year, but this bird became my FOS (First of Season).

The water at the Meadows is very high, so high there is little shorebird habitat to speak of, other than the flooded meadow edge from which a Wilson's Snipe flushed. Pairs of Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal posed nicely together, but few other ducks were evident. I carefully counted the Mute Swans and came up with 18, including multiple nests. I and others have wondered if TNC intends to address the numbers of this attractive but non-native and problematic species.

The full list is below from today's walk is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 4/13/09
Notes: CMBO's Monday Meadows Walk. Cooper's Hawk came immediately after walk ended.
Number of species: 64
Canada Goose 20
Mute Swan 18
Gadwall 2
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 1
Mallard 10
Blue-winged Teal 6
Green-winged Teal 2
dark-winged scoter sp. 2
Red-throated Loon 10
Common Loon 1
Northern Gannet 20
Double-crested Cormorant 100
Great Egret 10
Snowy Egret 3
Little Blue Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 2
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 5
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 4
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 2
American Coot 7
Piping Plover 3
Sanderling 4
Wilson's Snipe 1
Laughing Gull 25
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 20
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Forster's Tern 25
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 5
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 2
Fish Crow 10
Purple Martin 12
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 2
Carolina Wren 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 5
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler 10
Palm Warbler 5
Savannah Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 5
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 36
Common Grackle 70
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 25
House Finch 10
House Sparrow 10

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