Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dull and dreary makes for great birding!

juvenile Bonaparte's Gull at Cape May Point

The first hour of the day was a washout, but the breezy gray skies that followed the rain made for some very nice birding in Cape May Point. Seawatching was excellent with at least four Parasitic Jaegers chasing terns and gulls offshore as gannets, scoters, and a Red-breasted Merganser passed by. The cedars next to the hawkwatch in Cape May Point State Park were buzzing with warblers - over 100, mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers, exploded from this grove when a Cooper's Hawk dropped in too close. Further investigation revealed a surprising 13 species of warblers in about half an hour, included the first Orange-crowned Warbler I've encountered this fall.

Orange-crowned Warblers are usually pretty scarce in Cape May. Since this was the first I've seen or heard about this fall, I checked out eBird to see if others had been reported in the county. I found out that one was seen somewhere on Cape Island on 10 October and another at the Beanery on 9 October (check out the interactive eBird map here).

Pine Warblers continue to be found around Cape May Point on a daily basis.

Moving over to Lighthouse Pond, the continuing Eurasian Wigeon has been joined by a second individual, and a Nelson's Sparrow was in with the many Swamp Sparrows along the boardwalk. I heard that Dave Hedeen turned up a Seaside Sparrow (uncommon to rare in migration away from saltmarsh) nearby at Lily Lake as well.

This group of American Wigeon is checking out their rusty relative - the bird on the right is a Eurasian Wigeon, one of at least two currently in Cape May Point.

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