Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Around Cape May - photo update

This Black-billed Cuckoo posed nicely at Hidden Valley, Cape May on 3 October. On days when Higbee Beach is packed with people, Hidden Valley provides a great place to walk. It is pretty typical to be the only birder there, which means you have a better chance at running into a skulker like this cuckoo. Not that Higbee isn't great...

On 6 October, Nick Bonomo found a ridiculously tame Upland Sandpiper in the third field at Higbee Beach. This is likely the same bird that had been in the first field a week before. This time, however, the bird dashed around out on the path and even walked right up to me while hunting crickets on the ground. In the background of the photo above, you can see the legs of several birders who were being entertained by the sandpiper's antics.

Liza Gray spotted this American White Pelican flying past Cape May Point State Park on the evening of 6 October; it stuck around overnight, and soared around over Higbee Beach for about an hour on the morning of 7 October before it disappeared. While it was circling over the forest, the bird was simultaneously in view at both the hawkwatch and the Higbee Dike (~2.2 miles apart).

In addition to loads of Northern Flickers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been moving in numbers as of late. While these birds are typically thought of as sedentary, it is pretty typical to note small movements of 5-20 birds in a single morning at Higbee Beach in October. Clearly they show at least some migratory tendencies.

Blackpoll Warblers are still making a big push through Cape May, even though Yellow-rumped Warblers are dominating the warbler show numerically. This bird is likely an adult with vestiges of alternate plumage remaining on its head. The cedars next to the hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point State Park have been reliable for hosting Blackpolls for several days now.

Cape May in October... oh yes, there are raptors here. LOTS of raptors. Sharp-shinned Hawks, like this adult, have been pushing through in fine style. Diversity of raptors is high, and the first Golden Eagle of the fall was tallied yesterday (10 October) at the Point.

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