Friday, March 11, 2011

Gulls galore and more spring movements

It's been a mixed day of weather at Cape May today, after a hideous night of rain and wind - which has at least left many wetlands more worthy of their name after what has been a rather dry winter. Cove Pool looks good right now with at least 40 Green-winged Teal and a scattering of Northern Shoveler, Black Duck and Gadwall. Offshore at the point this morning, a fair trickle of Northern Gannets was passing by, heading north up the Atlantic shoreline, while Red-throated Loons continue to gather on the water all around the point and up the bayshore. I could find no sign of the recent Common Redpolls - but they may still be in the area. Three female Rusty Blackbirds continue with a mixed blackbird/starling/grackle flock at the junction of Bayshore and New England while my highlight this morning was an Osprey coming in off the bay and heading north over the Migratory Bird Refuge.

This afternoon's excitement took place along the bayshore after an adult Little Gull was seen by various people, gradually heading north up the Delaware Bay. It settled late afternoon at Miami Beach (at the very north end of Villas where a sand bar extends out from a water outflow) and was much enjoyed by a number of birders - the more so as it could be seen with two Laughing Gulls, a Black-headed Gull (a third bird for the year judging by plumage differences), a good number of Bonaparte's Gulls and a flock of Forster's Terns whose numbers seem to be growing daily now. As I write, the Little Gull is still present at Miami Beach so that could be a good place to start tomorrow morning - but don't forget the OPTICS SALE this weekend at the Center for Research & Education at Goshen.

A little north of the county, Dave Lord reported a Pine Warbler in song in East Vineland today.

An Osprey wends it's way northward over Cape May Point this morning [photo by Mike Crewe]

Adult Little Gull at Miami Beach. Note the relatively short, deep red legs compared with the pale pink legs of the Bonaparte's Gulls to the left. Note also the lack of black on the upper side of the primaries. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

In this picture, the underside of the Little Gull's primaries can be seen, revealing the extensive blackish wash typical of adults of the species. Note also the sooty hood on the top of the head [photo by Mike Crewe]

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