Thursday, April 8, 2010

Patagonia Picnic Table Effect - for real! Brown-headed Nuthatch and TWO Swallow-tailed Kites!

[Brown-headed Nuthatch, Cape May Point dunes at the junction of Cape and Lincoln, near noon today. Second state record. Click to enlarge.]

"So I take it this is not April Fool's?" I had Michael O'Brien on the phone.

"No - and the shame of it is I don't have my camera, I'm all packed for Colorado."

"I'm coming, keep a rope on it."

And the day unfolded like our imaginary April Fool's posts, which, if you didn't see them, don't believe them, but you can scroll to see what I'm talking about. Believe this post, though:

The Brown-headed Nuthatch, first discovered by Michael O'Brien at the Cape May Point Coral Avenue dune crossover, was quite elusive, and had disappeared when a bunch of us got there. Dave La Puma and I went off in separate directions on our bikes, and I was out by Lily Lake when the text from Dave came through, "2 stki at Coral Avenue over surf." (You can plug into a most of the Cape May text messaged bird info via, by the way). Aargh - I had been looking for Swallow-tailed Kites as I rode around - why not? - but raced over to Coral, where Dave and Megan Crewe waved me on. The kites eventually flew out over the bay, occasionally swooping as if to catch a dragonfly, and disappeared towards Delaware. I hear Chris Hajduk saw the kites first, flying low over the dune, and skipped the phone and went straight into screaming mode.

Kite excitement through, we resumed the nuthatch search, and after about an hour I refound it farther west, and was faced with the question: go for the photo, or let people know first? Of course I got the phone out, meanwhile letting the nuthatch "escape." Luckily Brian Moscatello heard it an hour later in the thick pines at the junction of Cape and Lincoln, and eventually a number of people got some good views. It was last seen about 12:30 p.m. Will it stick around? I'm guessing for a day or two, anyhow, but there is no way to know.

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