A busy weekend for birds meant little time for blog-posting, but here's an update on local sightings as spring migration really begins to kick in here.
Herons continued to put on a good show after the nice run of Great Blue Herons on Saturday, though that species kind of tailed off and left the counters to work on egrets and smaller herons. Snowy Egrets and Little Blue and Tricolored Herons were noted at various sites, while the first Yellow-crowned Night Heron was reported back from a traditional breeding site at Avalon. A report of a Northern Goshawk at Cape May Point on Saturday evening was intriguing but not followed up with further sightings. Sunday morning saw a fabulous flight of birds off Cape May Point, with those spending more time than me there managing to reach the magic 1000 mark for northbound Laughing Gulls - they're definitely back now and the sound of summer can be heard over the peninsula. Common Loons reached double figures in the time I spent there and a good movement of Northern Gannets and Surf and Black Scoters ensured there was always something to look out. Other species noted Sunday morning at the point included Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Brant, Forster's Tern, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Least Sandpiper and both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. Scott Whittle trumped us all briefly however, with a short-staying Sandhill Crane which dropped into Cape May Point State Park then moved off north over The Beanery. Would-be viewers of the crane were disappointed (except Vince Elia who glimpsed it over Sunset Boulevard), but a posee of birders overlooking the Willow Pond at The Beanery were treated to single Tree, Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows.
Don Freiday pulled our attention away from the point with news of several Pine Siskins and Purple Finches at the Belleplain State Forest headquarters - laggards from a great winter for both species; it's been a while since I saw any around Cape May Point. My own day continued with a nice count of four White-crowned Sparrows at our garden feeder, a sure sign that they are on the move as we have only had one intermittently of late and the only other one I have heard of has been a single hanging around at Karl Lukens' feeder. Two Black-headed Gulls continue to be reported from Miami Beach, Villas.
One piece of exciting news - hopefully - involves Cape May's most southerly pair of Bald Eagles, nesting again south of the canal after a failed attempt last year. While out for an evening stroll on Sunday, Megan and I saw one of the adults fly right over our heads along Bayshore Road and make a beeline for the nest site - and it was carrying a fish, a likely sign that chicks have hatched. Seeing as our Cape May Bald Eagles are all tucked away from Human viewing, I suggest going to http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/bald-eagle-cam. This nest in Iowa has a live webcam on it 24/7 and has become a talking point even on national media since the first chicks hatched this weekend. It's required viewing!! If you don't have access to your internet link, we're currently running it at the Northwood Center so do drop in to see how the chicks are doing.