Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birds but no Birders?

August can be a great time for birds at Cape May, but it seems it's also a great time for local birders to either be too busy to go birding (never a comfortable state of affairs!) or off on vacation elsewhere. The last time I received a text message about anything other than the two Eurasian Collared Doves was last Friday, when Don Freiday noted Northern Gannet, two Wilson's Storm-petrels and 10 Brown Pelicans from the ferry - though the birds were apparently in Delaware waters.

There has been several Brown Pelicans reported to the Northwood Center, the biggest group being of 14 past Sunset Beach a couple of days ago so it is certainly a good time to be looking for these monsters flapping around the point. Chris Hajduk tells me that small groups of them have been hanging out on the pilings at Poverty Beach so they should be viewable from the far end of town, near the coastguard unit.

In desperation, I did find time to make a quick check at the state park this morning and can confirm that the ponds there are still alive with a mass of birds! Herons and egrets are plentiful and there are good numbers of Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and a few Spotted Sandpipers. Four Red Knot buzzed over and headed south out across the bay. Terns still abound on Bunker Pond with 1500+ mixed Common and Forster's Terns present, while my quick scan turned up a juvenile Black Tern - and my ears turned up a Sandwich Tern, though I never did lay eyes on it! The trails were hot when I was there late morning and thus predictably quiet, but I did notice Northern Waterthrushes on nearly ever open channel that I crossed by way of the little metal bridges and there were certainly several Yellow Warblers calling.

Note that the Plover Pond protection fence has been removed now, so you can once again do a complete tour of the ponds from the state park end. Our next walk at the state park is scheduled for Wednesday at 07:30AM, while Friday at 07:00AM sees the start of our Fall Higbee's Beach walks - really? Summer is over?

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