Sunday, August 1, 2010

Warblers in the Swamp + Rails + Whistling-ducks Continue

[Hatch-year male Canada Warbler, Bear Swamp, Cumberland County today. The first "fall," i.e. southbound, migrant Canada I've heard about this year, with a long way to go - Canadas winter in South America east of the Andes crest. Note the rictal bristles around the bill, a characteristic of all Wilsonia warblers that helps them flycatch insects. Click to enlarge photos.]

Today was our last day of banding for the season at our MAPS station in Bear Swamp, Cumberland County, and we encountered a nice wave of birds, mostly hatch-years (i.e. this year's young). We banded single Canada and Yellow-throated Warblers, and multiple young Ovenbirds and Worm-eating Warblers, among others. Other than the Canada Warbler, which clearly was a migrant from a substantial distance afield - the closest they nest is ~100+ miles north, in northern NJ - it would be hard to say for certain if these were locals, sort-of locals, or from farther afield.

[Hatch year male Yellow-throated Warbler, Bear Swamp today. This bird, on examination, was full of fat, suggestive of a migrant or a bird about to go. Note the yellow above the bill, characteristic of the dominica subspecies of Yellow-throated, and the long bill characteristic of this subspecies in the northern part of its range.]

[Wood Frog, Bear Swamp today. ]

Yesterday I kayaked the sounds back of Wildwood Crest, which now are full of dowitchers and peep, and also Clapper Rails with young in various stages of development, from downy black to nearly adult-like plumage.

[Young Clapper Rail, Taylor's Sound yesterday.]

Finally, the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks were on Lighthouse Pond in Cape May Point State Park tonight at dusk. Bunker Pond had a nice selection of shorebirds, including Stilt Sandpiper, and the trails held 3 hatch-year Orchard Orioles, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, among many others.

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