Thursday, August 11, 2011

Angel Dust and Clappers

Angel dust appears to be covering Cape May Point at the moment and everyone I talk to is noticing it. Tony Leukering has already posted about the dragonfly movement taking place right now and pretty much everywhere you go there's black specks in the air - and that's dragonflies, hundreds of thousands of them it seems and all doing a great job tackling the mosquitoes here. Yes, dragonflies eat mosquitoes so they are certainly our friends and, provided they are left alone with places to live and breed, they will continue to repay us by keeping those pesky little flies away. Isn't nature wonderful!

As well as the dragonflies, a different angel dust can be seen along the South Cape May beach. Yes, it's time for the annual build-up of Tree Swallows and currently they are swirling around in a dramatic cloud and, like the dragonflies, helping to reduce pesky fly numbers. Tree Swallows also gather here to feast on the bayberry berries which will be ripening in a few weeks and providing vital fuel to get the swallows going on their southward migration.

Tree Swallow swarm at South Cape May today an amazing spectacle that can be enjoyed from The Nature Conservancy's refuge on Sunset Boulevard or from the dune crossover at the end of 2nd Avenue in Cape May. [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Struggling to see a Clapper Rail? Well, whilst I would be the last person to ever suggest they are easy to see, or 'guaranteed', Bob Lubberman's trips aboard the Osprey have really been turning up trumps lately and I reckon one of Bob's trips right now would certainly give a better than average chance of seeing one of these oft ellusive birds. Here's just a few of the pictures Bob recently sent me - and you can tell how close they were to the birds by the fact that they are looking down at a couple of them! Bob told me that no-one really had a decent camera so these are cell phone shots of birds at distances down to less than 10 feet! I especially like that lovely golden glow on the first one.

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