Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day One Post-front: Pretty Kickin'

[This Lark Sparrow on the dune opposite the first plover pond at Cape May Point State Park this afternoon was a definite highlight of today's birding. Click to enlarge.]

Quite the day today (Saturday) - and I guess I'll go on record to say Sunday will be at least as good, if not better. The Morning Flight at Higbee was very dense the first hour, with over 2,000 warblers tallied by morning's end with excellent diversity. The clear highlight from the morning flight platform, for those looking in the right direction, was when Morning Flight Naturalist Ashley Green said, "Look at that redstart, it's hanging upside down!" It was - from the mouth of a small black rat snake, right in front of the platform! The redstart eventually pulled free, and sat dazed for a moment before continuing his flight.

The rarity mill was clearly turning - besides the Lark Sparrow pictured above, highlights included the reappearing 4 Black-bellied Whistling-ducks on Lighthouse Pond east, reached from the red trail at the state park. There was a flyby Hudsonian Godwit at the meadows, plus the continuing Marbled Godwit for the godwit double - pretty unusual for Cape May. 2 Baird's Sandpipers were east of the east path dogleg at the meadows, and Buff-breasted Sandpipers were again on the beach there, plus a flyby at the Higbee Dike. At day's end, Doug Gochfeld reported the Marbled Godwit plus a Wilson's Phalarope from the meadows main path, plus Pectoral Sandpipers and Stilt Sandpipers.

The hawk flight was modest at about 20o birds, at least as of when I left - but that's only because it's early in the season yet. Results from both Morning Flight and the hawk watch can be had on View from the Field - if they're not up when you look, just check back in a bit.

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