Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sora and More

[American Avocet at Heislerville. It was there through Tuesday at least, and may still be. Photo by Karl Lukens.]

I met a group of Hawk Mountain interns at Cape May Point State Park yesterday, and while we were birding at Lighthouse Pond a Sora started calling. Vince Elia tells me he heard one further along the red trail there on Saturday. This morning's CMBO walk there added 2 Brown Pelicans, which has been absent of late.

Speaking of marsh birds, John Wasse of the U.K. had a Least Bittern in the meadows on Tuesday, along the east path close to Sunset Blvd. Karl Lukens and Bob Fogg had a Common Moorhen in the meadows on Monday night, from the west path looking west. This bird (or these birds, more than one have been reported) can be tough to find.

Stu and Wendy Malmid sent me a note asking why northwest winds would bring Swallow-tailed Kites to Cape May, a fair question since intuitively they are coming from the south. It's the fall hawk watch weather pattern working more or less the same way, on birds that likely were many miles to the north of us before the cold front passed. In other words, they overshot not only their breeding range, but Cape May, too (maybe they were over the Great Swamp or other north Jersey spots at some point!), and were pushed or just decided to head back south after the cold front passed.

Northwest winds often bring some of the best birding here in Cape May at any time of year, although in spring for passerines the ideal is south winds overnight going west or northwest (best) later in the night.

[Here's proof of multiple kites on Monday, although no one could quite get a photo with all three together. Photo by Karl Lukens]

[Note the wing molt in this Swallow-tailed Kite from Monday. Photo by Karl Lukens.]

[Michael O'Brien photographed the Yellow-throated Warbler above, apparently of the white-lored "Sycamore" race, at Higbee Beach on Tuesday. This race is apparently rare in Cape May, although it may just be overlooked, and may in fact not be a race at all, there is disagreement on that matter.]

[The funky looking Little Blue Heron, next to a Tri-colored Heron, in the South Cape May Meadows on Monday. Photo by Karl Lukens.]
Janet Crawford sent the following report from CMBO's Exploring Cumberland Walk, which will be held just one more time, next Wednesday May 20 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. It meets at the base of the bridge over the Maurice River near Mauricetown. Quite a long list of birds, and some good ones, a great way to spend a Wednesday morning!
Location: Dividing Creek, Cumberland County, NJ, US
Observation date: 5/13/09
Notes: CMBO Exploring Cumberland walk

The bird of the day was a Vesper Sparrow on the dirt road with a couple of Horned Larks at Buckshutem WMA. We also had Grasshopper Sparrow and Bobolinks there. We had a 16 Warbler day, with good looks at Yellow Warbler (including one on nest), Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-breated Chat. We heard both Tanagers, but only saw Summer. We had good looks at both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles.

Number of species: 66
American Black Duck 3
Wild Turkey 7
Great Egret 4
Snowy Egret 3
Green Heron 2
Osprey 6
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Willet 5
Least Sandpiper 6
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Dunlin 1
Common Tern 2
Mourning Dove 24
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 4
Great Crested Flycatcher 9
Eastern Kingbird 3
White-eyed Vireo 12
Red-eyed Vireo 10
Purple Martin 14
Bank Swallow 35
Tufted Titmouse 5
Carolina Wren 6
House Wren 3
Marsh Wren 3
Wood Thrush 5
American Robin 7
Gray Catbird 11
European Starling 18
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Northern Parula 4
Yellow Warbler 7
Magnolia Warbler 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Yellow-throated Warbler 7
Pine Warbler 5
Prairie Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
American Redstart 2
Prothonotary Warbler 2
Worm-eating Warbler 2
Ovenbird 30
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 6
Yellow-breasted Chat 2
Summer Tanager 3
Scarlet Tanager 5
Eastern Towhee 3
Chipping Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 8
Seaside Sparrow 9
Northern Cardinal 9
Blue Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 8
Bobolink 1
Red-winged Blackbird 16
Common Grackle 20
Boat-tailed Grackle 8
Brown-headed Cowbird 24
Orchard Oriole 6
Baltimore Oriole 2

Location: Buckshutem WMA fields
Number of species: 11
Turkey Vulture 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Horned Lark 3
Tree Swallow 12
Prairie Warbler 2
Field Sparrow 4
Vesper Sparrow 1
Grasshopper Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 5
Bobolink 3
Red-winged Blackbird 10

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