Thursday, May 20, 2010

Red Knots, Higbee Migrants, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Iceland Gull

[Red Knots and Sanderlings flying past Kimble's Beach during CMBO's Peak of the Red Knots field trip today. Alas, the peak is nothing like the old days, though we saw perhaps 1,000 knots today, with the other major horseshoe-crab-egg-eating DelBay shorebirds (Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Dunlin and Sanderling) represented as well. Click to enlarge.]

I understand from Amanda Dey and Larry Niles that the most recent aerial survey of Delaware Bay recorded about 9,000 Red Knots. It may not have peaked yet (I hope not!), but even if that number doubles it is still a far cry from the 85,000+ days of the 1980's. Most shorebird researchers I talk to do speak of hope, however, thanks to the hard-earned moratorium on Horseshoe Crab harvest in NJ, and the hoped for (though still years away) recovery of that species, and the shorebirds that depend on it.

Apparently there was a quite good passerine flight at Higbee today, with Vince Elia reporting a calling Bicknell's Thrush. David La Puma's microphone recorded Bicknell's plus Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, and Veery over his house along the bayshore last night around 11 p.m., and I heard a similar selection in the middle of the night in Del Haven. Dave also reported that Higbee, bird density wise, had as good a flight as there has been this spring.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher continues, most recently reported at the second plover pond at Cape May Point State Park around 5:15 p.m. In the gossip column department, that report comes from Doug Gochfeld, last fall's swing counter, who is in town for a few days, as is Ari Waldstein, interpretive naturalist from last fall, who I bumped into working with the shorebird team on Reed's Beach Road while I scouted for the CMBO field trip early this morning. The field trip had perhaps 1,000 Red Knots in stops from Norbury's Landing to Reed's Beach, and later enjoyed White-rumped Sandpiper amidst thousands of birds at Heislerville - but no Curlew Sandpiper.

NJA's shorebird research team had an Iceland Gull up at Fortescue, Cumberland County, which reminds me, Mike Hannisian photographed an Iceland Gull at the ferry terminal about a week ago.
I "tailed" this Eastern Kingsnake yesterday for a photo opp. at CMBO-CRE in Goshen, just as a school bus full of kids pulled in - their faces were the best part of my day!]

No comments: