Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If you wanted to see a dreamy weather map pan out for once. . .

[Melissa Roach gets the glory for spotting this juvenile Wood Stork from the Cape May Point State Park Hawk Watch platform. It was last seen from the hawk watch. . .at Cape Henlopen Delaware, after leaving Cape May and heading across the bay. 9th county record, the last being 1994, and only the 14th for the state, the last in Sayreville, Middlesex County in 2001 . Click to enlarge photos.]

Several thousand warblers of 26 species flew past morning flight, including something like 6-8 Connecticuts and a Hooded. I hear the fields at Higbee Beach WMA were good, too. Clay-colored Sparrow in the fields at Higbee (fide Scott Whittle). A run on the single-day Bald Eagle record is currently underway (as of Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., Melissa had counted 43. The record is 46, set just last year.) Oh, and then there was this big white bird with a long neck and black flight feathers - the juvenile Wood Stork which soared over the point for a bit before returning south, where it was detected by Forest at Cape Henlopen's hawk watch. I should insert a comment/confession - on September 11, I got a report, with few details and some uncertainty by the observers as to the i.d., of a stork sighting in Cape May - the bird was seen flying and then landed in a wetland near Elmira Street in Cape May.

[I've never seen a Northern Parula flight the likes of the one today. You had to duck sometimes.]

[Here's a good confusing fall warbler, in the cedars next to the hawk watch this morning. I like the always-bright-white undertail coverts as a field mark on Magnolia Warblers, along with the gray head and white eye ring. Some of the hatch year females, like this one, have essentially no streaking below.]

[Left: long wings, long tail = Northern Harrier. Center: shortish wings, long tail, tiny head = Sharp-shinned Hawk. Right: long broad wings, shortish tail, very white underwing and nicely tapered wings = Broad-winged Hawk. From the hawk watch at about 11:00 a.m. today. It was a high flight today.]

To the birds, Michael O'Brien adds the following dragonfly note: "Following are estimates of dragonflies passing Coral Ave between 3:00 and 4:00 pm today [Wednesday]; all heading NW. Estimates based on numerous 1 min counts over the hour. The pace seemed similar to that over the last few days though the mix has changed a bit: more Blue Dashers, Spot-winged Gliders and 12-spotted Skimmers than before. Black Saddlebags - 2000; Blue Dasher - 1800; Carolina Saddlebags - 900; Green Darner - 600; Wandering Glider - 350; Spot-winged Glider - 250; 12-spotted Skimmer - 50; Swamp Darner - 35; Striped Saddlebags - 2."

Dave La Puma asked me what I think about tomorrow, and while it is mid-September and there will be birds (like Mike Crewe said a few posts ago), I don't think it can be as big as today. If you look at the weather link in the post below, which displays a current weather fronts forecast, it would appear next Monday has prospects for another biggee, but that's a long way off. . .plenty of birding between here and there.

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