Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rough-legged Vulture?

After a highly successful visit to the north shore yesterday (see TJ's highlights below), we made a stop at the "Bridge to Nowhere" during our drive back to Cape May. The "Bridge" is a peculiar landmark in the marshes adjacent to Long Beach Island, located off Route 9 at the end of Stafford Avenue, northeast of the town of Manahawkin. It serves as a perfect vista for scanning the surrounding landscape for wintering raptors.

[The "Bridge to Nowhere" at the end of Stafford Avenue,
Manahawkin WMA.
Photo by Tom Reed.]

Shortly after arriving, a light-morph Rough-legged Hawk became visible toward the east, methodically hover-hunting in classic Rough-leg fashion. A few minutes later, David La Puma made mention of an apparent "clump of dirt" out in the marsh. A spotting scope helped reveal two "clumps"- one a female Harrier, the other a Rough-leg! The two were taking turns feeding on some sort of carcass, which appeared to be feathered. Canada Goose or Great Blue Heron were the best guesses we could muster for the deceased critter. Maybe you'll come up with another guess after watching the video below (click on the outward facing arrows in the bottom right corner to view full-screen).

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