Thursday, September 23, 2010


[Northern Pintail, Cape May Point State Park today, right in front of the bird blind on the red trail. The graceful long neck may not be visible, but the lovely warm brown head and blue-gray bill identify the bird. Perhaps we'll organize a drab duck i.d. session here soon.]

This morning's CMBO Hidden Valley walk bagged both Connecticut Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, nice. Morning Flight at Higbee was slow and dominated by Blackpolls. The loose flock of 5 Red-breasted Nuthatches provided a bit of comic relief for the Morning Flight platform, slow and funny as they are.

A sweet set of ducks floats on Cape May Point State Park's Lighthouse Pond of late, though the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks seem to have gone missing.  Someone told me they were seen over last weekend, but I've heard no reports since. Nonetheless, multiples of Wood Ducks, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, and both teal make the place a nice challenge, what with most of the males still in eclipse plumage.  We had stellar views of a Sora in Lighthouse Pond east, i.e. the one farther along the red trail with the observation platform.  This Sora, and/or perhaps another one nearby, keeked several times. We had a group of 4 Black Scoters fly east off the Bunker, to which one can add more seawatch fodder in the form of the adult Northern Gannet that pumped south past Morning Flight at Higbee this morning.  The Avalon Seawatch began yesterday, with Steve Kolbe as primary counter; click the link for more on the seawatch and the staff there.

A mix of warblers continues in front of the Northwood Center, to the point where a small horde of birders accumulates there each afternoon.  I saw Black-and-white, Blackpoll, Magnolia, redstart, and of course Yellow-rumped - all from the steps and without binoculars! I heard about Cape May and Tennessee there, too.

So when's it going to break (the heat and south winds, I mean) and what should you do in the meantime? As to the latter, Stone Harbor/Nummy Island or the meadows offer good birding under any condition. As to the former, Sunday morning is shaping up to be a good one, at least in terms of migrant songbirds. The winds are forecast to go northeast, though, less good overall but good for Peregrines.  A bit early for the big P-bird push, however.

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