Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swainson's Update, Kittewake, and Define Purple

[See if you can get any purple off this Purple Sandpiper, photographed by Kevin Inman at Barnegat Light today. I can on my monitor. Avalon had at least 5 Purple Sandpipers yesterday, and single digit counts have been had around Cape May. Click to enlarge.]

If you haven't been keeping up with View from the Field, our blog on CMBO's seasonal counts, by our seasonal counters, check it out. Note, for example, that Avalon had the first Black-legged Kittewake of the season yesterday, a darn scarce bird from shore - and yet, expected at this season if you put your time in.

Melissa Roach reports that the Swainson's Hawk was last seen, in flight, from the Hawk Watch at Cape May Point State Park just before 1:00 p.m. today. It was not reported from its usual haunts at the Beanery despite searching, and one wonders if it has flown the coop, so to speak. More literal than one might think, since yesterday the Swainson's perched for several minutes over Les Rea's chicken coop, inspecting the inmates with some interest. (That's Les Rea, the Rea of The Rea Farm, who honors us with the privelege to lease the birding rights to that delightful property. )

A look at the Cape May Bird Checklist reveals that a serious effort could certainly result in 24 species of ducks in a day south of the Cape May canal right now - and that excludes goodies like King Eider, Canvasback, and Redhead, which are theoretically possible anyway.

I took a spin on my bike in Belleplain State Forest after work this afternoon. Nobody birds Belleplain in fall (we sure do in spring!), and I guess that makes sense, given the opportunities elsewhere. I did pass a flock of Wild Turkeys, plus Eastern Bluebirds, and heard Brown Creepers, kinglets, and the usual forest birds of late fall and winter.

Jake's Landing at sundown featured hunting Northern Harriers, a bazillion Clapper Rails giving a tutorial on rail vocalizations, 3 Marsh Wrens at the parking lot, flyby Hooded Mergansers and a flyby American Bittern spotted by Dave Lord. . .but no Short-eared Owls. Yet.

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