Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Just Real Good - Epic

The sightings sheet at the Northwood Center has this entry for this (Monday) morning: "Great Songbird Flight. Everywhere."

It might depend on what you define as epic, but a morning that started with literally dozens of kestrels and Sharp-shinned Hawks circling high over the state park in pre-dawn has at least the makings of epic. Doug told me he counted something like 78 kestrels in the first hour, with many coming in off the water - they were clearly migrating in the dark. Speaking of the dark, the night flight must have been something - I had 3 species of thrush, a few warblers, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak still descending into the state park woods at 6:30 a.m.

Aftern enjoying kestrels bumping one another off the spires at the top of the lighthouse in the warm dawn light, our workshop headed to Higbee Beach, narrowly missing Tony's Wilson's Phalarope on the Steven's Street pond. Higbee certainly had plenty of birds - plenty of hawks, and lots of landbirds including gnatcatchers, warblers including an adult male Hooded seen by part of our group and a number of others, a Connecticut seen only by me unfortunately (I think they had 3 at Morning Flight), Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Northern Parulas, and others. Flickers have started in earnest, with dozens flying around. Bob Fogg found a juv. Red-headed Woodpecker. A Philadelphia Vireo posed for the whole group at length, a real treat.

The hawk flight right now is high in the blue but still what people come to Cape May to see - all the regular September species were represented, and often 40 or 50 hawks could be found in a scan. A parade of Bald Eagles (10? 15?) shortly before noon included a mix of adults and hatch-years. We watched a Merlin pluck a Swamp Darner from the sky right over the pavilion.

"Wow!'s" all around, for sure.

Oh, the Sandhill Crane has been flying about this morning, last seen over Bunker Pond after a bit on the meadows' gull island.

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