[This Peregrine was a feature item in today's late- season-but-west-winds hawk flight, coming over as it did with an apparent Killdeer in its talons, eating on the wing, circling, kacking, and in general putting on a good show. Click to enlarge.]
After engaging in a wild pelican chase at the hawk watch (see Tony's post below), I relocated to the high point along Stevens Street, hoping for the pelican or maybe a Golden Eagle or Rough-legged Hawk - we can dream, can't we? No fancy raptors appeared during a vigil 11:00 a.m. t0 12:30 p.m., and that no includes no Swainson's Hawk. I heard a mixture of reports on that bird today, and am not currently sure of the wheres and whens to best find it. Multiple Red-shouldered Hawks, including a stunning adult, multiple Bald Eagles, plus Red-taileds and the two accipiters vied for attention, but the Peregrine stole the show, see photo above.
Pre-pelican, I birded Cape May Point State Park, which was very active with sparrows including multiple Fox Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumpeds, Wilson's Snipe, Waxwings, flyover pipits and so on. I was really looking for an Orange-crowned Warbler, again unsucessfully, leading me to muse for the nth time on that important birding theorem: rare birds are rare. I've seen more Ivory Gulls than Orange-crowned Warblers this fall.
Vince Elia had 3 Snow Buntings on the beach at the state park today. There are still Common Eiders about the point, though apparently not in the numbers found a few days ago. Maybe they're all back up at Barnegat Light, where yesterday I e-birded 200 of them, together with Harlequins, Purple Sandpipers and other birds seen between waves and raindrops. The full list from yesterday's CMBO trip to Barnegat Light can be found under field trip reports - Barnegat would be a logical stop for Ivory Gull chasers from the north when they had back. Only, try to pick a day without a northeaster, which was what we had yesterday.
I'm off to the mountains for a few days hunting, which perhaps guarantees more good birds in Cape May. View from the Cape's co-bloggers will keep readers up to date.