Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ivory Gull Update + Other News

[Updated 3:15 p.m.]

[Here's where to look for the Ivory Gull. Click to enlarge. The hottest spot through 3:00 p.m. today has been the BreeZee Lee Marina.]

The Ivory Gull continues through 3:00 p.m. at the Breezee Lee Marina on Ocean Drive just north of Cape May. It has been flying around and perching only occasionally, generally giving great point blank views for an ebbing and flowing crowd of birders.

From the end of the Garden State Parkway, turn east (left if southbound) at the light before the big bridge into Cape May, onto Ocean Drive. The Breezy Lee is one of several marinas on the right hand side of Ocean Drive (see map). There is a big sign for it. Turn right into the marina. There is better parking and better afternoon light if you stay to the right after entering the marina, going as far as you can to the water. In the morning, for better light (but worse parking) stay left and drive through the boats as far as you can go towards the water. The bird seems to be homed into the Breezee Lee today, seldom leaving the area. Perhaps the marina's name is apt, a bit out of the wind and so preferred by the gull, though you wouldn't think such a bird of the north would be concerned about wind.

Mike Fritz, who docks his boat at a nearby marina owned by the same person who owns BreeZee Lee, spoke with the owner about the bird and many birders. The owner is okay with the birders. Just please drive slowly and park sensibly. We are fortunate that today is very windy and not many people are going fishing. If the wind lays down it will be especially important for birders to park out of the way. Also, everyone should stay off the fish cleaning dock in front of the gas filling dock.

The gull also swings by the Lobster House, and if it were to disappear for any length of time, the NJAS Nature Center of Cape May is in a strategic spot overlooking most of the harbor.

In other news, the Swainson's Hawk continues through today, seen at Cape Island Preserve by Linda Matula. Check there, at the Beanery (especially scanning from Stevens Street), or ask at the hawk watch for the latest.

A new record for Cape May Common Eiders was set by Tom Johnson yesterday, with 227. I had 75 (different?) Common Eiders fly south past Second Avenue Jetty in Cape May this morning, as well as all three scoters. And up to 4 Eurasian Wigeon, most female-plumaged (several are immature males), can be found amongst the many American Wigeon on Lighthouse Pond.

I just heard about a Western Kingbird on private property on Cape Island, which could easily turn up at the hawk watch or elsewhere.

[Ivory Gull giving a show at Breezee Lee this morning. Click to enlarge all photos.]

[A fabulous bird. This Ivory Gull is apparently the 4th modern state record (there are other old records). The last one was seen in February 1986. Ivory Gull becomes the 420th bird species to be recorded in Cape May.]

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