Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not a Flight, but Duckage and Miscellaneous Landbirds add up

It does not appear that much of a landbird flight occurred last night, and yet I found my first Fox Sparrow of fall at Hidden Valley this morning. Even better were the two Northern Bobwhites at Hidden Valley, one of which flushed in front of me along the west path, which inspired me to whistle bob-white a bit, which in turn inspired a different quail to call.

The Common Eider accumulation around Cape May is off the charts, with 150+ around Cape May Point. A few White-winged Scoters are with them, and Sam Galick just reported 2 male and 3 female Harlequin Ducks around the pilings at Poverty Beach, in front of the Coast Guard Station.

The Common Eider thing is unprecedented, and both Tony Leukering and I have had eiders flying down the Delaware Bay the past couple days, which leads me to believe the ones at Cape May are birds that were blown inland by the northeaster and followed the bay south. Lending credence to that theory is the Common Eider being seen right now on CMBO's Exploring Cumberland field trip - at East Point!

At least 3 Eurasian Wigeon are present on Lighthouse Pond, one of which is developing gray patches on the sides and so is a male and soon will look like one, if it stays.

In the non-duck department, apparently both Clay-colored Sparrow and Dickcissel were found behind the Cape May Point State Park museum today, and at least two Cave Swallows are about. Tony Leukering found two Nelson's Sparrows of the gray subvirgatus race at the meadows yesterday, and they were still there this morning. Look along the east path near the bend. There are two Glossy Ibis lingering in the meadows, too, and three Long-billed Dowitchers there yesterday.

Oh, the Swainson's Hawk is still there, same general area, seen yesterday on the CMBO Beanery walk and this morning, too, "over the chilis" according to Tony, meaning the field with the peppers in it, kind of between Stevens Street and the birds normal haunts (see map, below). The Beanery Walk also had a calling Virginia Rail near the parking lot, and Rusty Blackbirds.

Other raptors include a juvenile Northern Goshawk at the Beanery seen by Tony Leukering yesterday, and a Golden Eagle reported over Bridgeton, Cumberland County yesterday by Michael Cesario. There's a bird that will be seen from the hawk watch this afternoon or tomorrow, maybe not that individual (it was headed northeast when last seen), but with northwest winds (light though they are) it seems that a Golden in the next two days would be a good bet.

Plenty of late fall good things were just flying around this morning, things like Eastern Bluebirds in flocks up to 30, Eastern Meadowlarks, Wilson's Snipe. The clear, light-northwest night that was forecast for last night (and didn't happen, it was overcast and misty) is now on tap for tonight. Owls? Passerines? We'll see.

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