Nice birding came with relatively nicer weather in Cape May today. And what is relatively nicer? Temperatures near 40 degrees, and winds that could finally be downgraded from "blustery" to "breezy". Now of course, there's snow on the way again tonight, with a couple inches of the white stuff in the forecast, followed by yet another blast of arctic air for the duration of the weekend. Simply put, this winter has proven to be the real deal so far.
Anyway, the highlight of my day came early this morning, when a Northern Goshawk blasted across Route 47 while I was driving south through Dennisville. The bird was moving along the upland edge of the salt marsh, and was headed toward Jake's Landing (which is a very short distance away). Keep your eyes open.
Dave Lord reports that the Sandhill Crane was again seen at Villas WMA/Ponderlodge this morning, and Michael O'Brien confirmed that the female Common Merganser was again on the first plover pond at the State Park. The recent cold snap might bring a few more of these handsome ducks to Cape May.
I spent the late-morning hours poking around Cape Island, where Sunset Beach was home to two Common Eiders and a distant Bonaparte's Gull. Bunker Pond still holds half a dozen Tundra Swans, and the Cackling Goose was again roosting atop the ice on Lily Lake, along with a colorful assortment of other waterfowl.
Dave Lord also made note of 2 Short-eared Owls at Jake's Landing around sunset this evening. I sense a Rough-leg in our future...perhaps this weekend?
Speaking of which, if you're out in the field this weekend, please dress appropriately...it will be bitter. I know I'll be bundled up thoroughly for this weekend's statewide Bald Eagle Survey- updates and results of which will be posted here.