Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hudwits, Wilson's Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger, Sandhill Crane. . .

The text messages from Cape May kept rolling in this morning: 2 breeding plumage Hudsonian Godwits, then a Wilson's Phalarope, then an American Bittern, all seen from the hawk watch. Adult Parasitic Jaeger in the rips. Sandhill Crane, probably Doug's bird from a couple days ago, at the Beanery in the back field.

Eventually I tracked down the crane, at least, but my morning was spent up at Hereford Inlet. it was great, actually, starting with a surprising Yellow-breasted Chat that dove into a bit of shrubbery next to a hotel near the North Wildwood Sea Wall. Viewing from the sea wall looking north into Hereford Inlet, an array of shorebirds spread out in front of me, including 460 Red Knot, 207 American Oystercatchers, 66 Black-bellied Plover, 24 Western Willets, and an assortment of other shorebirds, gulls, and terns, including 4 Caspian Terns.

At the the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary, the first bird to hit my binoculars was a Philadelphia Vireo - neat, especially when followed shortly thereafter by a Yellow-throated Vireo, a Warbling Vireo, and of course Red-eyed Vireos and a selection of warblers including Black-throated Green, Magnolia, and maybe 5-6 other species. Not huge numbers, but it is great viewing at this often overlooked migrant trap. A Marbled Godwit was again easily seen from the free bridge.

It apparently was an interesting and somewhat unusual flight in Cape May Point, as songbirds seemed to concentrate on the west side of the point, and several people reported good numbers, with lots of orioles, a mix of warblers, and at least 2 Lark Sparrows included in the mix. As was clear from the next messages I kept getting, Tony Leukering et al were enjoying a strong shorebird movement at the hawk watch.

Be sure to check out View from the Field, for reports from our seasonal monitoring program staff, and photos of the recent flood in Cape May.

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