Friday, January 7, 2011

Jam-packed Friday + Snow Again??

Well, it was another great day for birding the peninsula. Here's a recap:

Sam Galick was at the Avalon Seawatch at first light, where he was rewarded with two fly-by Semipalmated Plovers. When I showed up an hour later, he had picked out the continuing male Harlequin Duck, a handful of Common Eiders and a White-winged Scoter among a sprawling mass of Surf Scoters that stretched from the 8th Street jetty back toward the Townsend's Inlet bridge. It's a cool scene; you've got to check it out! A snow squall cut down visibility at 9am, and we opted instead for the 80th Street Municipal Dock in Stone Harbor. The dock's back-bay vista yielded over 100 Bufflehead and a small raft of Greater Scaup. Sam then headed for Sunset Beach, where he lucked into a Razorbill flying south out of the bay at close range.

An afternoon visit to the Beanery/Rea Farm was highlighted by the continuing Vesper Sparrow. Vespers are scarce January visitors to these parts, and I can't recall seeing any on Cape Island in recent winters. This one is most often found along the hedgerow perpendicular to Stevens Street that acts as the boundary between the Rea Farm and the adjacent vineyard. Also at the Beanery was a Merlin perched atop a telephone pole along Stevens Street and a Rusty Blackbird in the first field.

The Nature Conservancy's Cape Island Creek Preserve offered a nice look at an Orange-crowned Warbler, which was about halfway down the path along the eastern edge of the first field. We couldn't find the Bobwhites (or Redpolls) of Tuesday, but a nice little group of Eastern Bluebirds continues there.

News from the north end of the peninsula indicates that Tuckahoe/Corbin City WMA was full of raptors this afternoon. Sightings from Corbin City included point-blank looks at a/the Golden Eagle and a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk. Tuckahoe was home to yet another dark Rough-leg and an excellent tally of 57 Tundra Swans. Thanks to Dave Lord, Karen Johnson and Janet Crawford for that report.

Switching gears a bit, the state's Winter Bald Eagle Survey will be held this weekend, and the forecast for tomorrow looks...terrible. Snow is in the offing, with as many as five or six inches of the white stuff potentially falling in South Jersey. Regardless, we'll have survey highlights and results during, and after, the weekend. And speaking of eagles, don't forget that the Cumberland County Eagle Festival will be held on Saturday, February 5th! More details to come as the event gets closer.

Have a great (and safe) weekend of winter birding!

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