Sunday, November 22, 2009

Orange-crowned Warbler, Tundra Swan, Harlequins, Strong Seabird Flight. . .and the Swainson's has a flair for the dramatic

[The Swainson's Hawk hunted grasshoppers kicked up by Les Rea's tractor today. Click to enlarge.]

A substantially larger landbird migration than yesterday's was evident this morning, and seabird movement seemed better today than yesterday, too. Highlights, rarity wise, included the continuing Swainson's Hawk from the hawk watch and at the Beanery; American Avocet at the Meadows on "gull island" reported by Tom Reed; Orange-crowned Warbler found by Sam Galick at the junction of the red and yellow trails at the State Park; and the 5 continuing Harlequin Ducks amongst the pilings at Poverty Beach and another, a drake, at Avalon.

A very strong seabird flight happened today - I haven't seen Avalon's numbers for today yet, but Doug Gochfeld counted 274 Red-throated Loons in 6 minutes from Cape May, and this afternoon it was wall-to-wall Northern Gannets around Cape May Point. The Common Eider accumulation continues - Doug counted 163 yesterday. At least 4 Eurasian Wigeon are with the American Wigeon on Lighthouse Pond, according to Tom Reed, and a Tundra Swan flew over the hawk watch today.

At dawn this morning I watched from the dunes shortly before sunrise as thousands of American Robins and hundreds of blackbirds, including (for better or worse) a healthy dose of cowbirds descended as they reached the point. Most seemed to turn around and head north for the day rather than crossing the bay. Later I birded a Higbee Beach deserted by birders, but not by birds. At least 10 each of Fox Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes, and plenty of thrashers, white-throats, and other common late season migrant and/or winter resident species made for a good morning.

No comments: