Monday, July 26, 2010

Darner Flight, Meadows Report

[Some of the bazillion Swamp Darners this morning, in front of the Northwood Center at 10:00 a.m. Click to enlarge photos.]

The Swamp Darner flight this morning in Cape May Point was magical - I stood open-mouthed until one nearly flew in. Walking along East Lake Drive near the Northwood Center, you could profoundly hear their wingbeats and occasional collisons with each other, with vegetation, and occasionally with oneself.

The meadows field trip report is up - a Tricolored Heron flyby at the beginning was nice, as was the juvenile (as in, this year's bird) Bald Eagle at the end. In between, a couple Belted Kingfishers, a nice variety of shorebirds, and some of the many herons that have accumulated in Cape May of late. Mike Crewe told me there were 86 Great Egrets on Bunker Pond yesterday.

[Blueclaw Crab for dinner.]

[Marsh Rose Mallows are in full bloom now.]

Our MAPS station in Bear Swamp, Cumberland County revealed some quality reproductive output on Sunday, with hatch year Hooded Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Ovenbird banded. Heartening indeed to know that at least the nests these birds came from didn't succumb to cowbirds or predation. The woods were very quiet, although Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Black-and-white Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Acadian Flycatcher occasionally sang, and Red-eyed Vireos sang constantly.

[Hatch-year female Hooded Warbler's fresh green new clothes, acquired through the preformative molt young passerines go through to replace much of their juvenal body plumage prior to migrating. Her head feathers are a bit dissheveled from "skulling," where we part the feathers to examine how much (or in her case, how little) the skull has ossified, an important aid to aging birds in the hand. Bear Swamp on Sunday.]

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