Thursday, December 9, 2010

A break from the breeze

The birding in Cape May has been very good despite the wind, which finally decided to slacken a bit today. An excellent goose flight occurred today with a new single day record count of Canada Geese being tallied at the Avalon Seawatch. Currently there is a strong nocturnal movement of Snow Geese ongoing in Cape May - tons of Snow Geese were illuminated in flight over the downtown mall as shoppers searched for Christmas gifts.

I was fortunate to bird around Cape May with Cameron Rutt for the last two days, and we turned up some fun birds despite the cold and wind - a few photos follow:

During the late morning today, a nice buteo and vulture flight was underway in Cape May Point, highlighted by a nice showing of Red-shouldered Hawks (above) and a loony Short-eared Owl that was loping around several hundred feet up in the air with the milling Turkey Vultures.

This Pine Warbler was an exciting find in Cape May Point State Park yesterday afternoon - though it can be one of the latest migrant warblers in the fall here, December is getting quite late. This bird was hanging out with a sizeable flock of sparrows and robins in the plantation of small pines at the east end of the state park (off the end of the red trail).

Several Sandhill Cranes (at least 4) made a number of circuits around Cape Island yesterday, being seen by most people that looked up at various points in the morning. The longish bills and overall structure suggest that these birds were of the expected subspecies G. c. tabida ("Greater" Sandhill Crane)

For those gearing up for the start of Christmas Bird Count season next week, here's an obvious tip - find the food! Tons of birds were focusing on privet hedge berries at Higbee Beach yesterday, including this American Robin and a number of half-hardy winterers like Gray Catbird and Brown Thrasher.

Though it was around and very cooperative yesterday (when the above photo was taken), the Ash-throated Flycatcher at Hidden Valley was not detected today according to numerous searchers.

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