Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Balmy Summer Days

Hot and sunny weather prevails at Cape May at present - though we had a real humdinger of a storm last night which certainly watered in my new plants! The Wednesday morning Cape May Point State Park walk was once again, a warm and pleasant experience, with breeding activity being the order of the day. At least three pairs of Orchard Orioles are on site this year and we watched a Cedar Waxwing on its nest, a territorial Eastern Wood Pewee and had fabulous views of singing Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak. Surprise of the morning was a Sharp-shinned Hawk near the Hawkwatch Platform, which panicked the Purple Martins. Sharpies are rare enough here at this time of year that my ebird page asked me to confirm the sighting before it would believe me!

A male King Eider was again reported close offshore, though there has been no further reports since early morning. At the moment, it seems almost impossible to look offshore and not see cavorting Atlantic Bottle-nosed Dolphins scattered around the bay.

Further north up the bayshore, Tom Reed reported a couple of Gull-billed Terns over the marsh at Reed's Beach.

I arrived at this morning's Cape May Point State Park walk to find Dave Thomas doing one of his regular checks of the Purple Martin colony there. Dave tells me that 245 eggs have been laid in the colony this year so let's hope for a successful breeding season for them. Here's a brood of five chicks in one of the pull-out nest trays. Still blind and with no feathers, it'll be a while before they're heading south! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

A very obliging Eastern Kingbird at the state park this morning [Photo by Karl Lukens]

American Bullfrog, looking typically overly pleased with itself! Note the lack of a lateral fold running down the side of the body, which distinguishes this species from Green Frog [Photo by Karl Lukens]

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