Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sparrows, Cranes, Raptors

Birders were back out in force yesterday, finding mainly things driven to plowed areas by the persisting deep snow. Tom Reed & Sam Galick had a White-crowned Sparrow at the Cape May Point State Park entrance, and more American Tree Sparrows turned up, including one with Horned Larks at the Rea Farm Stand along Stevens Street, seen by several observers.

The Cape Island Sandhill Cranes live on, seen by several observers in various places, the most reliable of which is the vicinity of the Assembly of God Church on Seashore/Broadway south of the West Cape May Bridge. Sheila and Marleen had one of the Cape Island Bald Eagle pair flying towards the nest site with prey.

The best site we found yesterday during CMBO's Wintering Raptor Workshop was Glade Road/East Point Road in Cumberland County. The big salt marsh along Glade had an immature Red-shouldered Hawk harassed first by a Sharp-shinned hawk, then by a harrier and crows, as well as several Bald Eagles, including a copulating pair.

Past Heislerville heading towards East Point, multiple sheltered and melted areas along the road held LOTS of birds, with many Fox Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, and 2 American Woodcock that seemed to be managing well. Part of me would love to walk that road again today, but we're headed up to Turkey Point to try to track down Golden Eagle et. al. in what looms as a bitter cold and windy day.

Along Thompson's Beach Road we bumped into some Tree Sparrows feeding on the left side (heading out) in an old field. Initially it looked like maybe 6 birds, but when the flock flushed there were more like 20 and the 10 or so I could be sure of were indeed Tree Sparrows.

Disturbingly, a vigil along Reed's Beach Road at dusk produced nothing, not even a harrier, and a serious attempt for Eastern Screech Owl at a known location turned up empty. Our lists from yesterday are up on Field Trip Reports.

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