Sunday, September 26, 2010

Swainson's Warbler (!), Western Kingbird, Warblers and Hawks

 [It was a big day for Black-throated Blue Warblers at Higbee.  This one paused briefly in a cherry. Click to enlarge photos.]

It will be absolutely flabbergasting if this bird is re-found, but a Swainson's Warbler was captured and banded near Cape May Point State Park today.  More refindable would be the Western Kingbird that flew past the Higbee Beach WMA dike and turned eastward, seeming not to cross the canal.

The strong warbler flight at the dike included many Northern ParulasBlack-throated Blues, as well as a few Tennessees, Nashvilles, at least one Connecticut, and of course plenty of Palms and Yellow-rumps. A White-throated Sparrow seeped from the base of the dike, my first of fall, and a couple Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers flew past. A Blue-headed Vireo at Higbee was another first-of-fall for me, though they have been found by others earlier this month.  Both kinglets were seen both at Higbee and the state park.  I hear the state park was pretty dead in the warbler department this morning, but Lily Lake was happening again, with multiple Cape May Warblers among those seen.

Hawks scattered widely across the state park sky, which happily was cloudy (and less happily rainy later in the morning), among them Broad-wingeds, Merlins, Bald Eagles and Peregrines, the wheat among accipiter chaff, I guess you could say.  A Dickcissel appeared in front of the hawkwatch platform, and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo posed for photos next to the parking lot.

[Plenty of Blue Jays were moving this morning - these two were part of a flock of 20 at Higbee Beach. Blue Jays are diurnal migrants, and though I've read that only something like 20% of Blue Jays are migratory, one suspects a higher proportion of migrants, at least in the northern part of Blue Jay range, given that southbound flights sometimes exceed 1,000 a day in Cape May.]

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