Monday, June 22, 2009

Meadows: Moorhen, Least Bittern, Gull-billed Tern

Since Least Bittern is becoming a given (we haven't missed it on the Meadows walk in some time), I guess Common Moorhen won bird-of-the-walk honors when it appeared at the east side of the east pool, behind the tern island, on this morning's South Cape May Meadows/TNC Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge walk. Come to think of it, the Gull-billed Tern flyby was pretty nice, too.

Six American Oystercatchers conversed on the beach, two more than the most I've seen at the meadows this year. Very interestingly, the Willets that have been hanging around the meadows flew up together to mob a passing Turkey Vulture. Why would they do that, I asked, if they are not nesting or thinking about it? Willets have nested at the Meadows in the past, but Eastern Willets are tied to Spartina (salt marsh cord grass) and there is no Spartina at the meadows now. It's probably too late to initiate nesting, but it is something to watch.

Two Black-bellied Plover and three Ruddy Turnstones flew west over the beach, presumably birds summering locally, but it is "any day now" for the first certifiable southbound shorebird migrant.

I notice some birds by their absence, notably Green Heron, which seemed to be nesting but perhaps they have moved over to the Beanery. Few Least Terns were on the beach off the meadows proper, but there were plenty down towards the state park. It's hard to know if that is just where they were today or whether that is where the bulk of the colony is nesting.

The full list from today is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 6/22/09
Number of species: 58

Canada Goose 20
Mute Swan 29 clicked by Dave Lord
Gadwall 5
Mallard 10
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Least Bittern 1 flew around meadows wound up in east pool near road
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 5
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 5
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 7
Common Moorhen 1 behind tern island east pool
Black-bellied Plover 2 flyby
Piping Plover 3
Killdeer 1
American Oystercatcher 6
Willet (Eastern) 2 flew up at a passing TV to drive off, evidently nesting?
Ruddy Turnstone 3 flyby
Laughing Gull 171 clicked by df
Ring-billed Gull 3
Herring Gull 30
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 3rd cycle
Great Black-backed Gull 30
Least Tern 70 hardly any in in meadows portion of colony, more towards state park
Gull-billed Tern 1
Common Tern 2
Forster's Tern 43
Royal Tern 1
Black Skimmer 2
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 8
Chimney Swift 15
Willow Flycatcher 1 heard twice
Blue Jay 2
Fish Crow 15
Purple Martin 20
Tree Swallow 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 10
Carolina Wren 5
House Wren 1
Marsh Wren 2
American Robin 5
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 5
Cedar Waxwing 5
Yellow Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Blue Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 33 clicked by C Slugg
Common Grackle 60
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 25

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