Thursday, October 22, 2009

They're Not All Yellow-rumpeds + Extralimital Sage Thrasher (not)

It sometimes felt like they were all Yellow-rumped Warblers today, thanks to a big morning flight push of these birds. But other species were around, including a Clay-colored Sparrow at the dike at Higbee Beach. Several Peregrines entertained at the Hawk Watch this morning with the "lesser" raptors, and a Parasitic Jaeger, not so far offshore, chased a Forster's Tern for a bit before sitting down on a fairly calm ocean and drifting westward. Lines of Gannets passed Cape May Point this morning, too. Tree Swallows swirled and landed on bayberry bushes, and on the beach, and at least 7 Pied-billed Grebes joined the mixture of ducks on Bunker Pond.

Multiple Eastern Meadowlarks and American Pipits were flyovers at the hawk watch, and I hear the Hidden Valley walk had a meadowlark teed up for scope views, a likely spot for that to happen.

[When asked, after a morning field trip, "What should I do next?" I often suggest trying the Rea Farm, a.k.a. the Beanery, for passerines and also hawks. This Nashville Warbler foraged a weedy edge at the Beanery when I took a break there at lunchtime today.]

[One of five Vesper Sparrows at the Beanery today around noon, a good count for this scarce sparrow. They were more or less in the center of the property, feeding on crabgrass and other weed seeds. I never made it to the "sparrow fields" at the west side of the property, where I bet there were more Vespers and other sparrows.]

[This is the Sandy Hook Sage Thrasher, photographed two days ago by Tom Boyle. The bird was NOT found today, at least not so far.]

The weather pattern for the coming CMBO Autumn Weekend is pretty confused, with cold fronts supposed to push through Friday pre-dawn and sometime Sunday morning. Unnsettled weather, including rain and possible thunder, is forecast in between - frankly, the forecast discussion reads like a badly called football game. With hawks there's a basic recipe: cold front passes, northwest winds build, we get hawks. With other birds, it's not so simple and thus the best I can say is tomorrow morning, and the rest of the weekend, should be very interesting. Fronts move birds, and rain can put them on the ground.

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