Monday, June 15, 2009

South Cape May Meadows: Least Bitterns, MIKI, and Blue Grosbeak

Detecting any one Least Bittern makes for a red letter day, so the three we had this morning at the TNC Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge were very fine indeed: one pokpokpok -ing in the west pool, one seen by some of the group in the middle pool, and one seen by all as it made a long flight in the east pool, winding up in the cattails close to Sunset Boulevard.

A second-year male Blue Grosbeak sang and sang near the west dune crossover, and from there we also watched one of the Piping Plovers perform a distraction display to lure Fish Crows away from its nest - which was in an exclosure, but that doesn't mean it's safe, since the new chicks leave the exclosure soon after hatching.

Multiple Black-crowned Night-Herons were roosting in the shrub island in the center pool, near the parking lot, and I keep looking at that shrub island and the others nearby and wonder if a heron rookery could ever form there. Apparently, there never has been one in the South Cape May Meadows.

The Mississippi Kite was a subadult, soaring at 9:30 over Cape May Point. The full list from this walk is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 6/15/09
Number of species: 58

Canada Goose 50
Mute Swan 25
Gadwall 3
Mallard 10
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Least Bittern 3 1 calling in west pool, one seen in center pool, 1 seen in east pool
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 2
Green Heron 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron 5 roosting in shrub island in center pool, prospective rookery someday?
Glossy Ibis 15
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 5
Osprey 8 1 sitting on nest platform
Mississippi Kite 1 subadult over Cape May Point
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Piping Plover 5 1 adult did distraction display to lure Fish Crows away from exclosure, crows did pursue
Killdeer 2
American Oystercatcher 2
Willet (Eastern) 1 standing in center pool
Laughing Gull 161 actual count by clicker
Ring-billed Gull 3 1 second year, 2 first year
Herring Gull 30
Great Black-backed Gull 30
Least Tern 75
Common Tern 2
Forster's Tern 38 actual count by clicker
Black Skimmer 3
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 15
Chimney Swift 75
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 2
Fish Crow 20
Purple Martin 10
Tree Swallow 10
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 5
Carolina Wren 5
Marsh Wren 3
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 5
Yellow Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 5
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 5
Blue Grosbeak 1 second calendar year male, singing persistently
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Common Grackle 50
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
Orchard Oriole 1 imm. male
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 5
House Sparrow 20

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