Monday, June 7, 2010

Black Tern, Black Scoter, Terrapins, Dragons

[Diamond-backed Terrapins are all over the causeways lately, primarily females coming out of the salt marshes to lay eggs, e.g. this one near Tuckahoe on Saturday. Drive carefully, and if you stop, move them to the side they are headed for. Click to enlarge photos.]

The Black Tern stuck around for this morning's meadows walk, but disappeared by the time we made the loop around. Note that the east path is closed at the dune to protect beach nesters at the meadows, a.k.a. TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, but you can walk the loop by taking the trail inside the dune. Word is the 8 Piping Plover nests along the meadows/state park beach had produced 9 chicks, but it's unknown how many remain. We saw only adults of this highly endangered species today. Other meadows highlights included very viewable Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting, both from the parking lot, and Broad-winged Hawk. Just a few shorebirds remain, with a Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers the most common. Vince Elia tells me that up the bay, Gandy's Beach still has Semipalmated Sandpipers in the thousands, and Red Knots in the hundreds.

First thing in the morning Dave La Puma and I checked the rips from Coral Ave. - an adult male Black Scoter was next to one of the jetties, and a very distant light Parasitic Jaeger passed. The rips were very active today, with several hundred terns, several Northern Gannets, and a passing Brown Pelican during the meadows walk.

Dave Lord mentioned "his" Northern Bobwhite, near the end of Goshen Landing Road, has been calling regularly morning and evening, and Michael O'Brien found more evidence of Acadian Flycatcher's strong showing this spring, and continued movements, with one singing from Steven's Street this morning.

[No wonder there are so many Mississippi Kites around, with all the dragonflies to eat. This Carolina Saddlebags was at Tuckahoe Lake Saturday. . .]

[As was this lovely female Needham's Skimmer.]

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