Friday, September 25, 2009

Question: Was this the day?

Answer, as Tony Leukering put it to Lee Smythe, who was asking at the hawk watch: It was A day. A really good one. Not epic, not record setting, just a good day to be a birder.

Nocturnal listening revealed a moderate and diverse flight between the early a.m. rain showers. The fields at Higbee were tough this morning - the CMBO walk found over 50 species but many were flybys or brief glimpses. The spectacle factor was high, however, with 100's of Cedar Waxwings and Northern Flickers, and many raptors.

The hawk flight was really good if not awesome, but the best part of the day, at least for me, was the little fallout of warblers and other birds at Cape May Point State Park, which remained active well into the afternoon, and featured. . .a lot of birds. At least 21 species of warblers were at the park (compared to 23 recorded at Morning Flight, including a long, good but of course flyby view of a Connecticut), but they were feeding actively and with patience gave some really, really good views. A group of us watched a Chestnut-sided Warbler down a gigantic caterpillar, at least 1.5 inches long and nearly 1/4 inch in diameter. Just by walking the red trail loop again and again, many folks came up with impressive lists of birds. The Canada Warbler in particular was another highlight, as it spent several hours working back and forth inside the dense cedars along the trail, reached by going right at the first fork from the parking lot.

A Clay-colored Sparrow appeared at the hawk watch, pointed out by Michael O'Brien for the delight of many. A White-winged Dove has been frequenting a private feeder along Bayshore Road south of the canal, so keep your eye out for that bird. And I just learned a Western Kingbird was briefly seen in Cape May City before it flew off towards the beach, and Upland Sandpiper was a flyover along Bayshore Road.

Here's my state park list from about 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with some species of interest bolded. This is all from the hawk watch plus the red trail:

Location: Cape May Point SP
Observation date: 9/25/09
Notes: Most warblers were on red trail. Cold front passed in middle of night and stalled just south of Cape May, with showers in pre-dawn and early morning. Partly cloudy. Activity remained good well into afternoon hours.
Number of species: 93

Canada Goose X
Mute Swan X
American Wigeon X
Mallard X
Blue-winged Teal X
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Double-crested Cormorant X
Great Blue Heron X
Great Egret X
Snowy Egret X
Green Heron 2
Glossy Ibis 6
Black Vulture X
Turkey Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle X
Northern Harrier X
Sharp-shinned Hawk X
Cooper's Hawk X
Broad-winged Hawk X
Red-tailed Hawk X
American Kestrel X
Merlin X
Peregrine Falcon X
Common Moorhen X
Lesser Yellowlegs 10
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Common Tern X
Forster's Tern X
Royal Tern X
Rock Pigeon X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Northern Flicker X
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Alder Flycatcher 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Red-eyed Vireo 6
Blue Jay 10
American Crow X
Fish Crow X
Tree Swallow 400
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Cliff Swallow 1
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 6
House Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 8
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 5
Northern Mockingbird 6
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling X
Cedar Waxwing X
Tennessee Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
Northern Parula 8
Yellow Warbler 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 5
Cape May Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 10
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 10
Blackpoll Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 4
American Redstart 15
Northern Waterthrush 1
Common Yellowthroat 8
Wilson's Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Indigo Bunting 3
Bobolink X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
Baltimore Oriole 5
American Goldfinch 8
House Sparrow X

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