Monday, May 18, 2009

Meadows: 2 Funky Little Blues; Not Much Good for Shorebirds

Two immature Little Blue Herons and a Tri-colored were highlights on this morning's South Cape May Meadows walk. According to Pyle, juvenile Little Blues of North American populations undergo a partial preformative molt primarily on the wintering grounds followed by a complete pre-basic molt from the spring to fall following their birth year, in which virtually all their white feathers are finally lost; thus by sometime this coming fall, these birds, wherever they are, will be almost entirely blue, with some white feathers possibly retained on the underwing.

The meadows remain largely devoid of shorebirds save flyovers and beach-pipers, due to high water at least in part. It looks to me like there is enough shallow water and mud to attract shorebirds, if only there were something in the mud to eat. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a 3rd cycle and 2nd cycle, were on the gull island. A few Least Terns were standing around on the beach inside the roped-off area, but nesting activities have not begun in earnest for this species yet.

The full list is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 5/18/09
Notes: CMBO Monday walk. Cloudy, 50's, wind north 10-15
Number of species: 64
Canada Goose 10
Mute Swan 20
Gadwall 5
Mallard 10
Surf Scoter 1
Common Loon 1
Northern Gannet 1
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Egret 6
Snowy Egret 5
Little Blue Heron 2
Tricolored Heron 1
Green Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 10
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 5
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Semipalmated Plover 10
Piping Plover 4
Killdeer 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ruddy Turnstone 1
Sanderling 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
Least Sandpiper 10
White-rumped Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Laughing Gull 50
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 20
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Least Tern 25
Common Tern 10
Forster's Tern 50
Rock Pigeon 1
Mourning Dove 10
Chimney Swift 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 5
Fish Crow 2
Horned Lark 2
Purple Martin 2
Tree Swallow 6
Bank Swallow 3
Barn Swallow 10
Marsh Wren 1
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 10
Yellow Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Common Grackle 30
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 10

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