Friday, November 6, 2009

Fabulous Hawk Flight + Hudwit

[One of today's show-stoppers, this Northern Goshawk , picked by Pete at long range, went left beyond the cedars at 12:15 p.m. Click to enlarge all photos. Here, note the small "hands," giving the bird a pointed-wing look.]

Winds northwest at 15-25 mph - how could you go wrong? It was a great day for hawk watching, especially for buteos, with Red-tailed Hawks nose-to-tail at times during the day, and plenty of Red-shouldered Hawks and even a single Broad-winged Hawk mixed in. An Osprey here, a Bald Eagle or two there, a (the?) Hudsonian Godwit flew over at some distance but dropped into the meadows. . .and accipiters, including one of special interest. . .

[Goshawk passing under Red-tailed Hawk. An accipiter too big to be anything else.]

[Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk showing the wing crescents.]

[Adult Red-shouldered.]

[Red-tailed, the overall star today. Sometimes dozens were in view on a single scan.]

[Michael, Louise and I went chasing the Golden Eagle reported from the platform as being over the Beanery, but "all" we could come up with was this young Bald Eagle.]

[The Northern Gannet show in the rips, in fact right off the beach, was spectacular today. Photo by Michael O'Brien.]

[Blackbirds were moving, with a few Rusty Blackbirds mixed in. These two paused along the edge of the first field at Higbee, with a Baltimore Oriole not far away, to the benefit of the Waterbird Society Meeting field trip this morning.]

[Spectacle factor - migrating Red-winged Blackbirds. One of the "super-concentrations of common migratory birds," as Mark Garland put it, that Cape May is famous, and fortunate, for seeing. Photo by Michael O'Brien.]

[How windy was it? Just ask these Sanderlings. Photo by Michael O'Brien.]

Other birds found today included a late Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Higbee Beach, the Common Eiders continuing around Cape May Point, and a male Harlequin Duck at the Avalon Seawatch, hanging out near the jetty. I also heard a single Pine Siskin over Higbee.

On the platform I called out "Pale rumped swallow" and as others got on it Michael said quickly, "It's a Cave." On questioning - the bird was far and none of us were getting much on the bird - Michael pointed out just that fact. We couldn't see the pale rump well even when the bird turned in flight, which meant it must have been a dark pale rump, not the pale pale rump of Cliff Swallow. Cave Swallow it was, with good looks in scopes.
The duck collection on various Cape Island ponds remains impressive, and the female-type Eurasian Wigeon was among them today. Four Hooded Mergansers, including a couple gorgeous drakes, were on Bunker Pond.

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