Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some Recent Pictures and Cape May Point Update

Tom Reed already posted Scott's two American Avocets this morning, but they were around barely five minutes - indeed I was on the beach just off the parking lot, got the text message and still managed to miss them! However, Bunker Pond still provided a great range of birds with some 15 Stilt Sandpipers present this morning, along with plentiful Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Semipalmated Plovers and more. The skies overhead were thick with the calls of Bobolinks, passing right along the beach and out over the bay just west of the lighthouse and Michael O'Brien tells me that Higbee's Beach was similarly busy with Bobolinks this morning. Royal Terns are currently plentiful along the beach, where Least Terns still have late broods of chicks to attend. For full lists of birds seen on all our recently walks and programs, don't forget to visit our Field Trip Reports page.

The egret show continues at Bunker Pond, but is now much reduced with many birds already having moved on - and surely the fish stocks must be much depleted by now. At its peak, some 250 egrets were reported to be present on Bunker Pond, with some people commenting that it was like visiting the African Rift Valley (luckily no crocs or hippos though!). [Photo by Mike Crewe]

And here's what they've been feasting on. Most of the Great Egrets appear to be pulling out Green Sunfish - a species that luckily seems to be plentiful in the state park ponds, but their numbers have certainly taken a hit with even the local Ospreys getting in on the action. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

One or two Marbled Godwits have starred in the shorebird showe at Bunker Pond and Karl Lukens got this great shot of one a few days ago there. Though these birds pass regularly through Cape May in small numbers, getting an up-close-and-personal view of one is rarely easy here.

Sandwich Terns are scarce birds at Cape May, but small numbers pass by in late July and early August and there has been a good run of sightings recently. Look for them amongst roosting tern flocks anywhere from 2nd Avenue beach, west to Cape May Point. More often than not, they are tucked in with Royal Terns. Note the black bill, complete with yellow tip (the mustard for his sandwich of course!) [Photo by Karl Lukens]

Yes, they're still around, but it's taken me this long to get a decent shot of them! The three Black-bellied Whistling-ducks continue to show well on Lighthouse Pond, though occasionally they hide themselves away for an hour or two. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

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