Thursday, March 17, 2011

Warmth + Sun + Weekend Ahead = Fun!

Well, it's time to stop saying Spring is coming - it's here! The clocks have gone forward, temperatures are up in the 60s and the grass is looking green at last. Bird continue to trickle in to Cape May; Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets on the move, Turkey Vultures getting itchy feet and soaring around the point, I finally found myself a Tree Swallow from the Hawkwatch Platform lunchtime and butterflies seemed to be sunning themselves all over the place. Tom Parsons reported a probably female Eurasian Wigeon at Lighthouse Pond this morning - though my lunchtime walk there came just after a Bald Eagle had passed over so the species still eludes me this year! A few Ring-necked Ducks and Northern Pintail linger at the state park, but the lawns are covered in parties of American Robins. The Purple Martin boxes have been put back into place after their winter clean-up (huge thanks to the volunteers who take care of that every year) - and thanks also to the crew who have been erecting bluebird boxes at various parts of Higbee's Beach WMA over the last couple of weeks.

Karen Johnson called to tell me that she had heard at least eight Pine Warblers singing on the road to Jakes Landing today; it's a great time to get out to Jakes Landing Road or Belleplain State Forest to listen for this species whilst little else is singing. There is much individual variation in the songs of Pine Warblers and its interesting to see how many different versions you can pick up on before too many other birds arrive and muddy the waters. Karen also told me that, as at Cape May Point, 'anglewings' (a generic term for Question-mark/Eastern Comma when you don't quite get a good enough view to determine the species) were on the wing in good numbers at the north end of the county, and she also told me of the first Spring Azure on the wing that I had heard of this year.

The forecast for Friday looks great, Saturday could be wet; so if you can manage an 'early' weekend, I'd make the best of it!

Question-mark at Cape May Point State Park today. Note that there are seven dark spots in the middle of the forewing - Eastern Comma has six. Now, if only we could see that when they are cruising over at 100 feet! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

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