Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hawks Aloft and More Cape May Magic Moments

With summer a fading memory, there's been a distinct nip in the air on more recent early mornings and pairs of gloves are starting to join fleeces and warm coats on our morning walks. This morning's walk around Cape May Point State Park was full of the calls of flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers seemingly everywhere, and skulking Swamp Sparrows in the cattails. Further signs of the season drawing on included the first American Coot back on Lighthouse Pond and two male Ring-necked Ducks there. But don't despair if you've yet to make your fall pilgrimage to the Cape, for there's still plenty of life in the place yet, as witnessed by the fabulous passage of raptors currently taking place. Broad-winged Hawks are peaking now while Red-shouldered Hawks are still to put in a decent show and there's still a chance for someone to find that elusive Swainson's Hawk which seems almost expected now in fall here. The north end of Lake Lily continues to draw the birds - and an appreciative crowd - with point blank views of Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and oodles of Yellow-rumped Warbler guaranteed (well, almost!).

Part of a flock of 65 Broad-winged Hawks circling right over CMBO's Northwood Center - with a stray Turkey Vulture over on the left. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

If you want real close-up-and-personal views of Broad-winged Hawks, try Cape May Point State Park early in the morning - this bird (along with several others) cruised right past us on the Blue Trail this morning. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Cape May Magic! Picture the scene; I'm driving out from work at the Northwood Center at 5.45PM this evening and one of the powerline poles on the corner of Cape Avenue and Sunset Boulevard seems to have an extra lump on it. Strange I think; so I stop the car, have a closer look and what do you know? A juvenile Peregrine, replete with bulging crop from a good meal, is just sat watching the traffic go by in the warm glow of the early evening light. After a few stealthy photos, I discovered that I could actually walk right up to it!! When a big, chunky, tundra Peregrine looks you right in the eye, you know that you've been seen! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Cape May has two kinds of magic; if you have a day when you don't chance across an awesome Peregrine glaring at you from point blank range, you can always rely on Cape May to find another way to reward you for being out there. Who would have thought that two scruffy old Double-crested Cormorants and an old lump of concrete could provide such a wonderful end to the day.... [photo by Mike Crewe]

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