Monday, June 8, 2009

More Cape Island Notes; Leftover Bayshore Shorebirds

Mark Garland and I spent some time this morning poking around the Meadows and the State Park, and encountered the same pea-soup fog described below by Don. There are evidently at least two Least Bitterns toward the back side of the east path at the Meadows- while one was calling from the thicker vegetation closer to the crossover path, we watched another fly in. We tallied at least 6-7 Willow Flycatchers between the Meadows and the State Park trails this morning, which is more than I can recall finding in recent years. Most went unseen, but one sat up for a nice view near the intersection of the red and yellow trails in the Park. There were also two Blue Grosbeaks singing along the back side of the State Park.

The mid-morning high tide at Reed's Beach produced a plethora of Laughing and Herring Gulls, as well as a couple Ring-billed Gulls, and a few small flocks of straggler Turnstones and Knots. The few Knots that remained were rather slim-looking and none too dapper (including a few that were still in basic plumage), as could be expected for birds that have lingered this late into the season and haven't gained the body weight necessary to make the last leg of their journey. Two adult Bald Eagles showing heavy wing-molt also made an appearance. A half-hearted search for storm-petrels and pelicans went unrewarded, but both of these species should appear in Delaware Bay with at least some frequency within the next couple of weeks.

Diamondback Terrapins are on the move right now- I saw at least three laying eggs in my Reed's Beach backyard this afternoon, and had to swerve for three others in my travels during the day. Be cautious while driving, particularly when in areas adjacent to salt marshes.

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