[Newly fledged young begged from this male American Goldfinch mercilessly in front of the hawkwatch today - like college students returning home, said one of our interpretive naturalists. American Goldfinches are well known for late nesting, not beginning until June or July in the east, and apparently related to availability of thistle down for nesting material and thistle seeds for the young to eat. Click to enlarge.]
The first official raptor of 2010 was an American Kestrel tallied by Melissa Roach at about 6:45 a.m. today, and as the day ended at least 13 kestrels made for a neat show from the hawk watch platform at Cape May Point State Park, as they hunted dragonflies and were pursued by a passing Merlin. Melissa counted over 100 birds, results soon to be posted on View from the Field, where you will also find Morning Flight results and some cool photos, including a Baird's Sandpiper in flight.
Morning Flight at Higbee beach was great - from the morning flight platform (now staffed by an interpretive naturalist every morning, thanks to sponsorship by Zeiss), we had lots of American Redstarts and Northern Waterthrushes, plus a few each of Northern Parulas, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, and others, including a Blackpoll. A Philadelphia Vireo put in a brief appearance in the trees, while a Yellow-breasted Chat was more cooperative and an Alder Flycatcher even obliged by peeping as it fed in the phragmites below the platform.
I hear there was a Baird's Sandpiper in the South Cape May Meadows today, as well as at least 4 Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the beach. A bunch of warblers wound up in the dunes, including several Palms. A/the Marbled Godwit was a distant flyby headed west northwest at the hawkwatch, about midmorning.