It was a sunny day at Cape May today and a noticeable thaw really set in on the snow that still persists here. Roads are pretty much clear now, but if you go 'off piste', walking can be tough. As it has been a couple of weeks since I ventured into Cape May Point State Park, I thought that a nice sunny day would be the time for a quick lunchtime foray to find out what is still out there. As it transpired, I found a pretty empty landscape, the endless sea of slushy snow and dead cat-tails stems broken only by the dark brown mounds of Muskrat lodges. Persistence threw up a nice party of eight female Hooded Mergansers, a Great Blue Heron and a peculiar mixed passerine flock that consisted of single Brown Thrasher, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler and White-throated Sparrow! Somewhat strangely, the commonest bird aside from the expected ducks turned out to be Northern Flicker as I logged five of them feeding on the ground in spots where the snow had just cleared. The highlight was a Great Horned Owl which flushed from a stand of pines. Back near the road, the male Redhead was still on Lighthouse Pond.
Cape May Point State Park has remained open throughout the bad weather, but note that parking is very limited at present as the parking lot has not been ploughed, while the longer blue trail is closed for maintenance work until April 1st. If you're coming down this weekend, don't forget to visit the Northwood Center, where the feeders are bustling with action, including up to three Brown Thrashers, two male Eastern Towhees and all the regular guests.
Cape May Harbor has a nice selection of wintering ducks at present, including nearly 200 Ruddy Ducks and good numbers of Buffleheads, Brant, Red-breasted Mergansers and a couple of Common Loons - all visible from right by the Nature Center of Cape May on Delaware Avenue.