Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Morning and Hawk Flights; the Season's Turning

As Cameron Cox wrote, the birds we expected yesterday came today, not that yesterday (with Loggerhead Shrike and Franklin's Gull) was so awful. Morning Flight today had hundreds of warblers, and the kick-off of the Hawk Watch featured a decent first day movement of birds, with two Bald Eagles, several harriers, broadwings, kestrels, and the local Cooper's Hawks, all in the 8-10 a.m. period. The Loggerhead Shrike apparently stayed all day, at least it was seen on-and-off. No further sign of the Franklin's Gull, however. A Pied-billed Grebe continues on Bunker Pond. Winds were northeast all day, having everyone looking north and leaning left, trying to tip the wind to our favorite northwest direction.

The CMBO Tuesday Higbee walk had several empids, unlike the area around the dike, and also got to see Cameron's Peregrine v. Lesser Yellowlegs drama.

Tonight was the last Somers Point boat trip of the season, and it really felt like a season turning. All the Ospreys are off their platforms, and really only some of the beach nesters are still busy with young. We saw a few near-fledged Black Skimmers at the Malibu Beach colony, with 1000 + adults and undoubtedly a bunch more fledglings hidden in the grass. Most of the heronries are empty, though good numbers of egrets were flying to roost at dusk, and a lovely juvenile Black-crowned Night-heron, with big dollops of spots on the back, fished by the dock on our return. 100's of Sanderlings and dozens of Ruddy Turnstones were near Somers Point/Longport. An absolute highlight from the boat was the Peregrine which drove a frantically escaping Snowy Egret straight into Great Egg Harbor Bay, where it remained submerged until the Peregrine flew on!

It's positively cool tonight, and the wind has laid down - northeast wind or no (forecast is clear, northeast at 10 mph all night), maybe another night for a flight? Tomorrow will tell.

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