Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Down To Earth With A Bump!

After the heady weekend of wall to wall birds, it was back to trudging around damp fields by Monday morning in the hope of finding a few things left behind after the big clear out. I mentioned previously that 28 warbler species had been reported on Friday - that number has risen to 31 now, though it does include a late report of a Prothonotary Warbler which I haven't seen pictures of yet... (if you're out there and want to share!). One other update I should mention, the Red-necked Phalarope turned out to be a Red Phalarope - an easy mistake to make with juveniles at this time of year. It sounds as though it was seen again at Sunset Beach on Sunday. Other birds on Sunday included a late Golden-winged Warbler (continuing a good fall for them here) Olive-sided Flycatcher and Summer Tanager at Higbee's Beach and a Lark Sparrow again at Cape May Point State Park.

On Monday, a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker was reported from Cox Hall Creek WMA and a single Sandwich Tern showed up again at South Cape May Beach. Most of us missed 'the big one' from the past few days it seems, however, as Tom Johnson pulled a Violet-green Swallow out of the hat a little after 4:30PM on Monday. A real vagrant from the far west, this is never an easy call when you're talking about juveniles, but the photos show all the features nicely, including a pale underwing, some white above the eye and - of course - the classic white rump patch with narrow, dark center. Not much has been on offer under gray skies today, save for the Eurasian Collared Dove that flew past Higbee Dike this morning (are there now five on the island?!), but the Brown Booby continues her lonely vigil in Jarvis Sound I hear, and a light shower this afternoon saw me nipping out to check Lighthouse Pond, where there was no sign of the hoped-for Violet-green Swallow, but some 30 or more Tree Swallows, 10 Barn Swallows, four Chimney Swifts and 11 Purple Martins were shortly joined by at least two Bank Swallows and two Cliff Swallows.

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