Monday, June 22, 2009

Sit-and-Wait Birding at The Meadows

I spent the evening at the Meadows, without too much of a purpose other than to just hang out for a while and see what would come by. "Sit-and-wait" birding is probably something that birders as a whole should do more seems that so often we rush through birding spots, making sure we have enough time to "hit" all the spots we "need" to on a given day. You'd be surprised just how many interesting observations you can make just by birding more slowly. The Meadows are a great place to employ this strategy, as birds move into and out of it with some regularity, and it provides a number of different habitats to work.

However, before I could get in a whole lot of birding this evening, a dark bundle of clouds quickly approached from the north, and sent me running for the car for the better part of 30 minutes...not exactly the kind of weather that jives well with sitting around in one place, particularly when that place is at the top of a dune crossover.

But, surprise thunderstorms aside, there were a few interesting observations to be had in the Meadows this evening, beginning with a Whimbrel that flew over shortly after the storm passed. This species isn't one that commonly "summers over" in the area, and it still seems a touch early for southbound migrants, so who knows what its intentions were...regardless, it was definitely a surprise to see one on June 22nd. A basic-plumaged Black-bellied Plover passed by a few minutes later and proceeded to lounge on the beach.

The beach was also host to a large flock of large gulls, numbering about 200 in all, and dominated by Great Black-backs. What was perhaps the same 3rd-summer Lesser Black-backed Gull was also in amongst the flock. At least 13 American Oystercatchers were on the beach- an awfully high count for this time of year, and a sure indicator of birds that have failed in their nesting attempts.

Back behind the dunes, at least 2 Least Bitterns were audible from the back end of the east path, with a third bird seen closer to the beginning of the path. A stealthy Common Moorhen called briefly along the east path but went unseen, and the gull island was dominated by Forster's Terns and not a whole lot of anything else for the duration of the evening.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 6/22/09
Number of species: 54

Canada Goose 20
Mute Swan 10
Gadwall 1
American Black Duck x Mallard (hybrid) 1
Mallard 9
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Least Bittern 3
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 2
Green Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 4
Glossy Ibis 6
Osprey 4
Common Moorhen 1
Black-bellied Plover 1
Piping Plover 3
Killdeer 4
American Oystercatcher 13
Willet (Eastern) 2
Whimbrel 1
Laughing Gull 40
Herring Gull 50
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 100
Least Tern 40
Common Tern 18
Forster's Tern 50
Black Skimmer 5
Rock Pigeon 1
Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 12
Fish Crow 3
Purple Martin 15
Tree Swallow 6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3
Barn Swallow 6
Carolina Wren 2
Marsh Wren 2
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 10
Cedar Waxwing 6
Yellow Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 8
Common Grackle 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Orchard Oriole 1
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 8

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

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