The great thing about birding, of course, is that every day, month or year is different to those that went before and you just never know what is going to happen next. Since my last post (time flies when you are busy!) there has been a nice range of birds reported, the presence of which could certainly be attributed mostly to the mild winter we having (at least up until last Saturday!). Sam Galick reported an Osprey passing over Middle Township on 13th, Vince Elia found a Tricolored Heron at Bivalve in Cumberland County on 14th and the Bell's Vireo was reported at The Beanery again on 15th - along with an over-wintering Yellow-breasted Chat. An Orange-crowned Warbler has been reported on several occasions along the red trail in Cape May Point State Park, though generally remains elusive and two Tree Swallows are currently moving around Cape May Point, mostly in the St Mary's area. Also riding out the cold weather of the weekend was our female Rufous Hummingbird at our Center for Research and Education at Goshen.
Yellow-breasted Chat in a typical thick tangle at The Beanery [photo by Roger & Kathy Horn].
Reports from further afield include a Golden Eagle at Brigantine on 14th, two female King Eiders at Barnegat Light, a Short-eared Owl at Jake's Landing on 15th and a few Rough-legged Hawks around, including two at Tuckahoe WMA (Corbin City side) and three at Mott's Creek near Brigantine.
Finally, back on the 'you never know what you are going to see when you get up in the morning' line, Karl Lukens had a young Red-headed Woodpecker in his yard on 15th - an intriguing record south of the canal for this time of year. At least four and perhaps as many as seven of these birds are being reported regularly from Cox Hall Creek WMA so maybe they're moving around a bit more with the changing weather.
Red-headed Woodpecker at Cox Hall Creek WMA. The birds at this site are displaying interesting caching behavior of pieces of wood... [photo by Karl Lukens].
River Otters are rare in Cape May County and most sightings from birders probably involve just one or perhaps two family units. This individual was at Cox Hall Creek recently. [Photo by Roger & Kathy Horn]