Monday, June 1, 2009

Meadows White-rumpeds and Plover Chicks; Appalachian Birdsong Immersion Workshop Report

It was a stunning blue sky morning in Cape May today following the passage of the recent front. The CMBO Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (a.k.a. the Meadows) walk enjoyed a good number of Glossy Ibis (carefully checked for White-faced, no luck), two White-rumped Sandpipers from the east path, and the always delightful sight of new Piping Plover Chicks being tended by their parents.

I chose Laughing Gull as the species of the day to click, and interestingly came up with only 63, including a careful scoping of the rips. I kayaked Great Channel, south of Stone Harbor, yesterday and the laughers were busy on the nesting colony their, bringing material, calling, and copulating, copulating, copulating. Between that activity and feeding on horseshoe crab eggs on the bayshore, perhaps the gulls aren't finding the time or need to come down to feed off Cape May Point.

Another interesting behavioral note was provided by 6 Blue Jays, apparent migrants, which flew over from west to east. The full meadows list is below.

Mark Garland and I just finished up our two day Appalachian Birdsong Immersion workshop, set in Sussex County, NJ. What a delightful region and time of year to be there. Listening to and seeing (extremely well!) birds like Cerulean, Blackburnian, Hooded, Canada, and Chestnut-sided Warblers among 95 total species in 2 days was just extraordinary.

Among the visual delights was a pair of Black-billed Cuckoos feeding young in a nest. The cuckoos were making long flights across a field, and I couldn't resist pausing the workshop for a photo opp.

We offer this workshop in late May every year; check out the full list of species from this year: Appalachian Birdsong Immersion May 29-30 2009.pdf.

[Black-billed Cuckoo in flight, Sussex County, NJ May 29, 2009. Photo by Don Freiday.]

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 6/1/09
Notes: CMBO Monday walk
Number of species: 59
Canada Goose 10
Mute Swan 20
Gadwall 3
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 2
Mallard 10
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Blue Heron 1 Flyby pre-walk
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 1
Green Heron 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 15
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 5 Have given up on plover pond nest platform
Semipalmated Plover 4
Piping Plover 10 2 very young chicks; observed agression towards plovers by Least Terns
Killdeer 4
American Oystercatcher 3
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet (Eastern) 2
Sanderling 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 8
White-rumped Sandpiper 2
Laughing Gull 63 Actual count by clicker, including scoping the rips; low; occupied with nesting and horseshoe crab eggs?
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Least Tern 75 Observed harassing Piping Plovers
Common Tern 25
Forster's Tern 100
Chimney Swift 15
Willow Flycatcher 1 heard only
Eastern Kingbird 1
Blue Jay 6 6 apparent migrants flew west to east
American Crow 5
Fish Crow 15
Purple Martin 10
Tree Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 10
Carolina Wren 3
House Wren 2
Marsh Wren 1 heard only
Gray Catbird 3
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 5
Cedar Waxwing 2
Yellow Warbler 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 1 heard only, far out west side
Song Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 5
Blue Grosbeak 2 heard only, far out west side
Indigo Bunting 2
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Common Grackle 30
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Orchard Oriole 1 heard only, far out west of parking lot
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 10

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