Friday, October 30, 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

Western meaning west side of the peninsula, and quieter meaning quieter than it's been. This morning's Higbee Beach walk, the last of fall, featured lots of robins and blackbirds overhead, including a flock of 15 Rusty Blackbirds. Eastern Meadowlarks and Eastern Bluebirds passed over regularly, some giving almost good looks. On the ground, the featured bird was. . . White-throated Sparrow. A lot of them, plus one White-crowned Sparrow, plenty of Swamp Sparrows, and a few Song Sparrows. A Blue-headed Vireo gave us a nice, though brief, look in the southeast corner of the first field. I heard a Winter Wren and there were bunches of Hermit Thrushes, though seeing them was problematic (as in, 15-20 heard, a couple glimpsed). Brown Thrasher was similarly common but elusive. A Baltimore Oriole flew west along the New England Road side of the tower field. Of warblers, we had just one, Yellow-rumped of course.

Doug Gochfeld told me there was a Magnolia Warbler at the Beanery yesterday. Like Doug said when he showed me the picture, anything yellow you see at this time of year is good. Doug also had an immature Red-headed Woodpecker in the woods bordering the dike at Higbee this morning.

There are plenty of puddles in Cape May, and the one along Stevens Street had 5 Greater Yellowlegs in it when I drove past. Up on the Higbee Dike, the shorebird flock contained as many as 27 White-rumped Sandpipers, plus Dunlin, a few Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers. One Spotted Sandpiper foraged along the shore.

I just got a report of a possible immature Northern Shrike along the bay near Villas ( afew miles north of Cape May) that has not been refound. If right, it's not so quiet after all.

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