Monday, February 28, 2011


Ok, so I'm sill a foreigner and this only my second spring here - and the last one was a whole year away! So please forgive me for not immediately recognising what all you locals would have identified straight away; it's a rainy evening here in Cape May, but even so, the peculiar noise outside the window was bugging me. Literally bugging me, I thought, because it sounded like a cicada trying to start up and failing dismally, or someone rubbing a thumb nail very quickly down the teeth of a plastic comb. I went outside in the drizzle right on 6PM, when it was still light enough to see out. It was coming from a clearing I had only just made this very weekend in the mass of Multiflora Rose bushes invading our garden. Six steps from the back door and the game was up. A male American Woodcock, wings whistling rapidly, shot up like a rocket and flew a huge circle before disappearing behind the house. As I stood there, at least three others could be heard calling nearby. Who knows, maybe we'll get a pair nesting in the garden!

And oh how timely it all is, for this coming Saturday, March 5th we have the first of our Woodcock Dance evenings (the second is on March 19th) so come along and learn about this amazing little bird and its strange call. Maybe afterwards you'll find one in your backyard!

I think it's an illness - I just can't stop photographing them! I photographed this American Woodcock a short while ago when there was still a little snow on the ground. It was sat beside me as I filled the feeders at the Northwood Center, and even waited while I went and got my little point-and-shoot camera and took its picture from just three feet away! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

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