[This Black-billed Cuckoo cooperated at the Cape May Meadows Friday night. Photo by Karl Lukens.]
A "V" of 8 Willets flew down the bayshore this morning, with a smaller bird in their midst: a Short-billed Dowitcher, my first soutbound dow of fall. A Sanderling in faded breeding plumage on the beach at Norbury's Landing was another returning bird. Much talk has been made about troubling breeding conditions in the Arctic, in the form of late-lingering snow and cold. Southbound migration of shorebirds should be watched with care: is it early (breeders giving up)? Is it late (breeders hanging in up north and perhaps nesting successfully after all)? Are there juveniles (in most species generally not expected until August), indicating some successful nesting?
Karl Lukens sent two reports of good birdng south of the canal. From Friday night:
" CMBO Evening Walk at the TNC "Meadows." Great evening of birding. Besides the usual suspects we observed a Black Swan (an escapee no doubt), 2 Wood Ducks, 2 Least Bitterns, Piping Plover fledglings, an Oystercatcher chick, shore bird migrants such as Spotted Sandpiper, Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, numerous Black Skimmers, and a very cooperative Black-billed Cuckoo.- Karl, Chuck, Mary Jane, Kathy, Roger, Warren, Carrie."
And from Saturday morning:
"CMBO Walk at Cape May Point State Park. Good day for Orchard Orioles viewing and hearing and we also located a nest thanks to Vince Elia. Other highlights were Brown Pelican, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Oystercatcher and chick, 6 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a Bank Swallow. Finished up with 2 juvenile Forster's Terns begging for food at Bunker Pond. -Karl, Chuck, Warren, Kathy, Roger"
[Black Swans are somewhat frequent escapes from captivity. This one was at the Meadows on Friday. Photo by Karl Lukens.]