Monday, February 14, 2011

Signs of Spring Continue

After holding a firm grip on Cape May for the past 10 weeks, Old Man Winter is thankfully starting to give in a bit. In fact, temperatures around Cape May are currently inching over 60 degrees, with more warm days in the forecast for the rest of the week.

Spring migration in these parts is just starting to get revved up. Numbers of Black and Surf Scoters, as well as Red-throated Loons, are starting to build in the mouth of Delaware Bay- one of the surest signs of the coming season. A small push of sea ducks moving out of the bay on Saturday morning, along with a few Gannets on Sunday morning, also indicates some migration. The quantity and quality of these waterbird movements will increase markedly over the next several weeks.

However, perhaps the most obvious way to realize winter's demise right now is with your ears. Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens and Red-winged Blackbirds were all in full song along the Delaware Bayshore this morning. Song Sparrows are tuning up, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear some of our winter visitors like Fox Sparrow start to get vocal over the next few days.

In the rarity department, two adult Black-headed Gulls continue to linger along the Delaware Bay beaches in Town Bank, though I heard that they ranged as far as Sunset Beach, the Ferry Terminal and Miami Ave in the Villas this weekend. The dull hen Eurasian Wigeon also continues in Cape May Harbor. Other notables this weekend included a trio of Tundra Swans at the State Park's plover ponds, and a flock of 50 Rusty Blackbirds at the Beanery.

With warm temps and south winds this week, who knows what might show up next. Might there be an early Laughing Gull, Osprey or Purple Martin on the way?

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