Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chilly Norwesterlies!

The lack of bird news locally over the weekend, amply reflects the dominating, chilly North-west winds that we're currently experiencing. Migrant songbirds have been notable by their absence the last couple of days, but there has nevertheless been some good passage offshore worth watching, as Northern Gannets and scoters and loons make their steady way north, or stage in Delaware Bay. Locations such as the Cape May Point dune crossovers, Second Avenue jetty and Sunset Beach are all worth a look in such conditions.

Despite the wind, the sun still shines down on us and if you can find a sheltered spot, it can be decidedly warm. Yesterday I was pleased to see two new butterflies for the year, as well as as number of now regular species and it is currently possible to see a dozen species on the wing. Pine and Yellow-throated Warblers, and Louisiana Waterthrushes all are on territory so, if in doubt, try Beaver Swamp, Belleplain State Forest or other wooded areas in the north of the county and you're sure of a good time!

At this time of year, Mourning Cloaks that you see on the wing will be individuals that hibernated as adults through the winter. As such, they tend to look a little worn [photo by Mike Crewe].

Not all dull, brown things are moths!! This Juvenal's Duskywing is typical of its group - dull butterflies that are easily missed as they patrol territories along woodland rides. [Photo by Mike Crewe].

OK, this is more like it! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at Rio Grande yesterday; a perfect example of what we expect a butterfly to be - big, bold and colorful! [Photo by Mike Crewe].

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail taking salt solutions from damp mud. I think it's fair to say that if butterflies didn't have big colorful wings, we might very well have a different attitude towards them! [Photo by Mike Crewe].

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