Tuesday, September 7, 2010

White-winged Dove, Connecticut Warblers, Sora, Birds at the Beach

[It's been heartening to see the accumulation of juvenile Black Skimmers (front right bird, with adults and Royal Tern) on the beach off the South Cape May Meadows, most likely derived from the colony near Ocean City. Click to enlarge photos.]

A White-winged Dove was gracious enough to fly by the hawk watch platform at Cape May Point State Park at close range yesterday (Monday). A white-winged glimpsed from the hawk watch on September 17 last year later resurfaced at a feeder along Bayshore Road near the Beanery - something to think about, and look for again.

The other bird species headliner yesterday was Connecticut Warbler, or 2-3 of them. Tom Johnson et. al. had two from the Higbee Beach dike, and last night I was regaled by David La Puma et. al. with tales of a long-staying Connecticut at Higbee in the "center path" and tower field. The center path is the one that sustained much damage to the cedars during last winter's snow, and that the Division of Fish and Wildlife consequently opened up substantially. It's been really good this fall. Be sure to check out Tom's thoughts on Connecticut Warbler under his post on View from the Field.

Four Tri-colored Herons and a Sora were highlights of yesterday's South Cape May Meadows/TNC Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge walk - check Field Trip Reports for the list and a Sora photo. Tom Reed had a flyover Yellow-headed Blackbird, northbound, at Kimble's Beach Road up the bayshore yesterday.

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are old news, I guess, but they were found at Cape May Point State Park again yesterday. Five Brown Pelicans made at least two passes by the Bunker during the day yesterday - finally, I've seen more pelicans than whistling-ducks in Cape May this year! Pelicans have been scarce compared to past years.

Doug Gochfeld and I had a Sterna Tern with an all red bill at great distance last evening, and took a long walk to prove it was indeed a Common Tern still in nearly full breeding plumage. Most of the gulls and terns had accumulated in the roped-off area on the meadows beach, and the evening light made great viewing of skimmers and Royal Terns. This will be a good place to check for Franklin's Gulls and other rarities in coming days.

Finally, keep an eye on the approaching cold front that will cross the northeast towards the end of the week.

[Check the Cape May Point oceanfront and dunes for landbirds as well as waterbirds. The bird pictured is a "Western" Palm Warbler, part of the breeding population residing roughly west of the Quebec/Ontario border. This one was on the state park's "burn pile," the brush pile near Bunker Pond. In fall Western Palms much outnumber the yellow eastern race. This is because there are more of them, literally - Western Palm Warbler has a wider breeding range extending well up into the Northwest Territories and west almost to British Columbia. Like many Cape May fall migrants, Western Palms are coming not just from the north, but also the west.]

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