Monday, August 30, 2010

And They're Off!!

It most certainly felt like the first proper day of fall today as it seemed that, no matter where you went, there were birds to be found. Even at the Northwood Center, there was plenty to be seen and it really wasn't easy getting that six-monthly inventory finished off and emailed to headquarters!! The main problem was American Redstarts; they are just so mobile, chasing insects up and down tree trunks, on the ground, out on the topmost limb - and with that amazingly flashy tail fanned out for balance. All that flicking and chasing about just draws your attention! To make it even harder to focus on desk duties, a high proportion of the redstarts were adult males in all their glorious black and orange breeding splendor. Accompanying them was a seemingly endless supply of other birds, all feeding avidly in the trees around the store: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow, Black-and-white and Blackburnian Warblers, Northern Parula, Eastern Wood-pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Kingbird - how is a guy supposed to get any work done?!

Bath time... there were so many birds around today that one only had to look out of the window to enjoy a treat. At one point, four American Redstarts and a Northern Parula were all bathing together in the small birdbath at the front of the CMBO store - here's the parula with one of the soggy redstarts [photo by Mike Crewe]

With all those birds around there was bound to be casualties. This young Yellow Warbler was so focused on catching lunch that it flew straight into a window. Fortunately it recovered fully and flew off to carry on its personal quest to annihilate Cape May's insect population [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Buff-breasted Sandpipers seemed to be replicating themselves on the South Beach and there was four birds present by the day's end - here's three of them playing a game of tag around a Prickly Saltwort [Photo by Mike Crewe]

The South Beach, behind the Migratory Bird Refuge, was a good place to be this evening with four Buff-breasted Sandpipers and a Lark Sparrow all on view - while the refuge itself held a Long-billed Dowitcher and Baird's Sandpiper. Five juvenile Black Skimmers were with a small party of adults too - the first youngsters I've seen this year, while just a single Least Tern showed that that species has certainly started to head off south. Walking back through the refuge, Northern Waterthrushes and Yellow Warblers were getting restless and ready for the off against a setting sun, while a male Merlin was repeatedly catching and devouring Green Darner dragonflies right at the parking lot.

It's time to head to Cape May!!

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