Early this morning I encountered a flock of 18 Eastern Bluebirds along Kimble's Beach Road (the road Cape May NWR HQ is on, not far south of Goshen on Route 47 along the Delaware Bay shore). 18 is larger than the usual winter flock. A car drove down the road, and 17 bluebirds took off, flying south and gaining altitude until they were out of sight. The eighteenth julie-d a few times from its telephone line perch, then took off and followed. Those birds, I can only guess, are in Cape May right now.
Vince Elia and I often compare the morning's sightings at the office, and when I mentioned the bluebirds, Vince observed that birds had redistributed during the harsh weather around New Year's, and are redistributing again with warmer temperatures and lighter winds.
At lunch, I walked Beaver Swamp Road, as I regularly do. A few Fox Sparrows flew out ahead of the truck when I drove in, and after parking I paid attention to the high pitched seeps, the "flight notes" of Fox Sparrows, though they often give flight notes from the ground. They were constant, at least 10 individuals along the road I walk at least twice a week and where I normally encounter maybe 2-3 at most. Then at a thicket where an Eastern Towhee called I spished a bit, and SIX towhees popped up for a look. Hmm. I'd had only one there since January 1.
I hear Will Kerling had an Eastern Phoebe at the Beanery today, another bird that seems not to have been there earlier this winter. Hmm. Redistribution? Facultative migration? Northbound migration already? All of those, or something else?
A decent raft of scaup floated far off Kimble's Beach, and a female Common Goldeneye was to the south.