Monday, July 27, 2009

Meadows Report, 6 (!) Cattle Egrets, and Thoughts on the Whistling-duck

After some investigation, Michael O'Brien has suggested that the lack of claws on the Black-bellied Whistling-duck does not necessarily prove captive origin, there could be some other explanation. If anyone has any knowledge of this, please let us know.

A bright hatch year male Prairie Warbler was a nice find along the west path at the Cape May Meadows/TNC Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge this morning, though it was perhaps bested by the adult Black Tern that flew over. The warbler could have wandered over from Higbee beach, where they breed, or could have been from farther afield. I hear it or another was there yesterday.

5 Sanderlings were on the beach, the first we've had there, though they have appeared on other shores in recent days. An adult male Blue Grosbeak sang cooperatively behind the TNC shed at the entrance, as did an Indigo Bunting, and a Cattle Egret flew over at the start of the walk.

On leaving the meadows, I passed 6 more Cattle Egrets, all in nice breeding plumage, in a little meadow along Broadway, on the left if you are headed towards the West Cape May bridge. This is a high count away from their lingering "stronghold" in Salem County, where birds breeding on Pea Patch Island appear.

The full meadows list is below.

Location: South Cape May Meadows
Observation date: 7/27/09
Notes: CMBO Meadows walk
Number of species: 68

Canada Goose 100
Mute Swan 30
Mallard 75
Brown Pelican 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 5
Snowy Egret 1
Cattle Egret 1 flyover, 6 were along broadway later
Green Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
Glossy Ibis 10
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 2
Piping Plover 2
Killdeer 10
American Oystercatcher 2
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Willet (Western) 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 15
Sanderling 5
Least Sandpiper 10
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Laughing Gull 155
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 40
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4
Great Black-backed Gull 40
Least Tern 50
Black Tern 1
Common Tern 25
Forster's Tern 10
Royal Tern 2
Black Skimmer 40
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 25
Chimney Swift 25
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Northern Flicker 1
White-eyed Vireo 1
Fish Crow 5
Purple Martin 50
Tree Swallow 5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 5
Bank Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 15
Tufted Titmouse 1
Carolina Wren 1
House Wren 1
Marsh Wren 3
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 44
Cedar Waxwing 10
Yellow Warbler 10
Prairie Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 3
Northern Cardinal 5
Blue Grosbeak 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Bobolink 3
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Common Grackle 10
House Finch 10
American Goldfinch 10
House Sparrow 20

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