Sunday, October 18, 2009

If you can stand the weather, get out there!

For real - e.g. the visiting Danes reported a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER in the cedars next to the hawk watch this morning. That bird has not been relocated, but Cape May Point is simply loaded with birds - of course mostly Yellow-rumpeds, passerine wise, but loads of sparrows including more White-crowneds than White-throateds, lots of kinglets hover-gleaning in sheltered spots, hawks, herons, 2 American Avocets on Bunker Pond. While searching for the Black-throated Gray I found both Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes along the park exit road, well, in the cedars and Virginia creeper nearby. Two Peregrines and several Merlins blew by in the five minutes I was on the platform, and sharp-shinneds are getting up high in the air despite the still 20-30 mph NE wind. We've got a nice lull in the rain, too.

Mike Crewe told me a Common Nighthawk was sitting on the fence rail at the parking area of the Northwood Center for most of the morning (it's not there now), and an American Bittern apparently walked across East Lake Drive near Northwood as well!

First thing this morning I checked Cape May County Airport, which had a super collection of 700-1000 shorebirds, mostly Black-bellied Plovers, but including both yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, the four expected peep (Least, Semipalmated, Western and White-rumped), Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, and Pectoral Sandpiper. A Peregrine killed a Laughing Gull after flying around tormenting the shorebirds. The airport can be good under these rainy and windy conditions, especially on a flood tide when shorebirds have few places to go. Enter from the traffic light on Breakwater Road, and follow the signs to the airport diner. Be sure to respect all traffic rules and signs to keep birders welcome there. The downside at the airport is the viewing is through a chain link fence, but it actually isn't all that much of an impediment.

The first Northern Goshawk can't be tomorrow as predicted below, because apparently the raptor banding project caught one yesterday and had it at the banding demo.

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