Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Notes: Whimbrel, Other Arrivals

In addition to the birds already noted at Belleplain, there was also a Yellow Warbler present this morning, as well as four Louisiana Waterthrushes and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Some time spent on the hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point State Park provided a nice snapshot of the day's migration, highlighted by a nearly continuous stream of northbound Double-crested Cormorants, as well as a few migrant raptors, including two Merlins and a Northern Harrier. A fellow birder reports that a Red-eyed Vireo was along the State Park trails this morning.

Nummy Island on a high tide provided at least eight Whimbrel on its south end, my first of the year. Also in the area were a single Great Cormorant and several small flocks of Short-billed Dowitchers.

A late-afternoon visit to Beaver Swamp WMA yielded two large Bald Eagle fledglings sitting atop the nest, five Wood Ducks, and a single Bank Swallow among numerous Purple Martins over the millpond. The swampy woods at the end of the walking dike here provided two male Prothonotary Warblers fighting over boundary lines, and a close-up look at a Yellow-throated Warbler.

Lastly, a dusk vigil at Jake's Landing produced some characteristic sounds of the season: calling Willets, singing Meadowlarks and buzzing Seaside Sparrows. Over 40 Black-crowned Night-Herons flew by shortly after sundown, a lingering Short-eared Owl made two distant, brief appearances, and a Wilson's Snipe shot out of the marsh at last light. A Whip-poor-will wouldn't shut up in the woods about halfway down the road on the way out.

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