Monday, October 19, 2009

Spectacles and More to Come

Pete paused while hawk counting this afternoon to pick a flyby Sandhill Crane from the hawkwatch, a nice find but unfortunately long gone.

All CMBO's seasonals joined Michael O'Brien and Derek Lovitch, down from Maine, on the platform in the South Cape May Meadows to watch for owls, and were not disappointed. One Long-eared Owl, one Barn Owl, and one "sp." appeared. Michael also told me about a truly wonderful sighting: a Pied-billed Grebe TOOK OFF and circled, wings beating like crazy, as it gained altitude against the sunset and headed south.

My evening amazement came from the throngs of sparrows, finally detectable in full at the state park now that the wind has laid down, and there were a LOT - I eBirded 350 Swamp Sparrows and 150 Song Sparrows - and that is just what I heard or saw. I also found 10 Hermit Thrushes and a Winter Wren foraging near the yellow trail as light faded. The best, though, was the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, one of dozens. This one, though, hover-gleaned next to my ear, wings brushing my hair, and shortly after landed on me, clinging to my sweater as it looked for its next prey.

The folks at the meadows watched a Cooper's Hawk flying along the dune at owl time, and I had two high Ospreys in near dark that seemed to be heading across the bay. Migrants are flying overhead already (8:00 p.m.), and we'll all be listening once the Phillies game is done.

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