Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve (day) miscellanea

It is still, for Cape May, a winter wonderland here, with snow still fairly deep where not plowed or driven- or walked-upon. Again, that's fairly deep for Cape May; I know from personal experience that there was a lot more snow on the ground farther north, even just 30 miles up the road in Millville. Most water bodies are still frozen or mostly so, though the bubblers at Lily Lake are doing their job keeping that bit of water mostly open. Good thing, as it has been attracting all sorts of interesting lingerers, as evidenced by recent posts on this venue.

A few of the Cape May regulars were out today, and I ran into a number of visiting birders, most in the State Park. The six Tundra Swans (five adults, one juvenile/immature) continue there and were much enjoyed by all. Sparrows are very evident working the melting edges of snow (true in most places in Cape May), such as this Song Sparrow by the Hawkwatch platform.

[Click on pictures to see larger versions.]

Also by the platform, what is probably the resident adult male Northern Mockingbird spent much of the time that I was present chasing various other berry-eaters (American Robins, Yellow-rumped Warblers) from its junipers. During one of its brief pauses, I managed this picture.

The American Tree Sparrow found yesterday at the State Park was not reported today, but there is an awful lot of suitable habitat in which it can hide itself. A juvenile Northern Goshawk was noted over the State Park and environs a few times this morning, once among a very large kettle of Turkey Vultures that also included a Bald Eagle and a Red-shouldered Hawk. With the strong sun the past few days, Lighthouse Pond has opened up a bit. Interestingly, the adult male Eurasian Wigeon that has been on Lily Lake recently moved over to Lighthouse Pond today where it and one of the immature male Eurasian Wigeons made up two of the nine wigeons present around 2:30 pm; a female continues on Lily Lake.

The Glossy Ibis that has been seen very sporadically at Lily Lake the past couple days was found again shortly after noon today, but not after that. The flock of five Snow Geese (four adults, one juvenile) remains at the pond along the west side of Shunpike in West Cape May. The four adults are pictured below (from the 22nd).

Last, and, actually, least, the female-plumaged Ruby-throated Hummingbird that has been gracing the yard of Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis continues despite the long string of sub-freezing nights, here photographed late afternoon today.

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