Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Big Sit and a yardful of birds...

Sunday October 9th saw the annual Big Sit take place at the Cape May Point Hawkwatch Platform. This is a national event organized by others, as I am sure that no-one at Cape May would organize such an event on Columbus Day!!! A day when the state park closed its gates to traffic because Cape May Point was simply, well, full!! Indeed, I hear that police were turning traffic away from the edge of town - the whole of Cape May was full!

Despite this distraction from our task, Cape May's Big Sit team nevertheless made their way through the mayhem and eventually turned in an honorable total of 117 species. The weather had been, sunny, calm and settled so no record was going to be broken, but what fun we had despite all that. Team leader Dave Hedeen writes:

"As Sunday's de facto list keeper, I am today's de facto list sender. Tom Reed, we hope you'll return next year! Below is the list of 117 species tallied from the Hawkwatch Platform at Cape May Point State Park during yesterday's Big Sit. Nocturnal hours were cool and mosquitoey. Diurnal hours were quite warm. Conditions were cloudless until dusk. Even then the clouds were few, high and thin. Wind was calm to light, west to northwest. MVP Award goes to Steve Bauer for his on-site preparation of a hot, delicious breakfast at dawn. Bird of the Day Award goes to Hawk Counter Melissa Roach who spotted two Eurasian Collared Doves over Cape May Point. Kudos goes to Vince Elia for reaching his goal yesterday of ticking 175 species during his staycation...and for his compelling story about, well, you had to be there!!

This year the Sit Circle was covered for a full twenty-four hours. Five birders were on the Hawkwatch when the Big Sit began. Upwards of a dozen birders participated during the day. Two birders were on the Hawkwatch when the Big Sit ended. Nocturnal vocalizations were scattered, but audible the first night. 20 species were tallied before 6 AM, including Black-bellied Plover and White-crowned Sparrow. Non-bird observations included meteorites, the International Space Station, and a displeased muskrat. Daytime birding was quite fun though diversity was lackluster. Early-morning songbird and seabird movement was fair-to-middling. Raptor movement was light-to-moderate at midday. Usual doldrums in the afternoon. Decent activity at dusk. Two species were tallied after dark on the second night: American Oystercatcher and finally Black-throated Blue Warbler. Thanks to all who participated".  -Dave

Location: Cape May Hawkwatch
Date: October 9, 2011

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Black-bellied Plover
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Calidris sp.
Stilt Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
Parasitic Jaeger
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Whilst text reports around Cape May have been slim this season, at the moment they are non-existent as good old Verizon (which most of us have the misfortune of being on!) doesn't seem to be capable of dealing with texts at all (other companies seem to be doing OK). Belatedly, I heard of a Eurasian Wigeon on Bunker Pond and at least two sightings of a Golden Eagle over the point yesterday. David La Puma has kept me informed of large Yellow-rumped Warbler flights taking place both Monday and this morning and I can personally report a yardful of birds at home as our large Siberian Elm threatens to break under the weight of birds in it!! Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Blackpoll and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Parula, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets and Purple Finch all in the one tree. This morning before work, I was able to add White-throated, Chipping and Savannah Sparrow, Blackburnian, Palm and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker and Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers to the elm list - with a Hairy Woodpecker in the Silver Maple!! In addition, our first-of-season Dark-eyed Junco and White-crowned Sparrow were in the meadow along with plenty of Swamp Sparrows.

No comments: