Friday, October 26, 2012

Autumn Weekend & Hurricane Sandy

Well, the Cape May Autumn Weekend is well under way and today has been a fabulous, balmy day with warm sunshine and almost cloudless skies. But sadly this year, the elements conspire against us. As Hurricane Sandy looms ominously over the horizon, we have to follow local safety instructions, and as each hour passes, it looks more and more as if Cape May is going to be slapped clean in the face.

Following local advisories, we regret that we have had to make the decision to cancel all Autumn Weekend events as from first thing Sunday morning, and for the following week until further notice. Our Cape May With Everything On It workshop, scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday is therefore cancelled also, as well as our daily walks program. Please note also that Brigantine NWR has announced that it will be closed from Sunday morning through Tuesday.

On a much brighter note, tomorrow (Saturday) looks set to be another calm and sunny day with the promise of some great Cape May birding. Make the best of it, have fun, but please do keep in touch with local advisories regarding the hurricane. Today, two Eurasian Wigeon, a female and a first-winter male, were discovered on Lighthouse Pond, a Lesser Scaup was on Bunker Pond and a spectacular Double-crested Cormorant and scoter flight took place, with thousands of birds pouring past the Avalon Seawatch and Cape May Point. A male Lapland Longspur was found on 25th and continued all day today on the 2nd Avenue jetty and was today joined by two Purple Sandpipers. Long-billed Dowitcher and three Stilt Sandpipers were at The Meadows and Vesper Sparrows were lurking at The Beanery and Higbee Beach.

Good birding - but be careful out there.

Always a delight to work with, Purple Sandpipers can be very approachable with care and make for some great photo opportunities [photo by Mike Crewe].

A life bird for many of the Autumn Weekend visitors, this Lapland Longspur spent much of its time finding small larvae amongst the algae growing on the rock jetty at the corner of Beach and 2nd Avenues. Note the chestnut-edged greater coverts and the square-cornered, black edging to the ear coverts [photo by Mike Crewe].