Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Migration - Part 1 (of many...)

There's no denying it, spring migration is well and truly under way now. As we stood on the dune crossover at the state park this morning on our Wednesday walk, the Northern Gannets streaming by were truly spectacular (every time I write that we get more show up, so I hope it doesn't get any better now because I've run out of superlatives!) and there was a busy flow of Surf Scoters with many high up and clearly on the move. I've seen a couple of Little Blue Herons this past couple of days and we had a single Whimbrel fly over us this morning. Songbird migration is still in its infancy but Common Yellowthroats were certainly very obvious at the park this morning. For regular updates on first arrivals of spring migrants, do remember to check our eBird link regularly, especially at this time of year when every day sees a new arrival it seems. Check our Field Trips blog for lists of what we are seeing on our walks too, that way you will have a clear picture of what is being seen here right now (or better still, come join us on a walk!) - we do try to provide you with everything so you can get all your Cape May information right here without having to keep switching between sites!

Today is April 18th, a special day as I reckon it marks the point after which almost anything and everything could show if the weather is right. Keep an eye on the weather reports and hope for a nice run of gentle south or south-west winds which should push a nice array of birds our way. If we don't get that, there is sure to still be birds around but you'll have to wait a little longer for the 'big one'.

If you feel you are missing out after reading of all the latest sightings, don't forget that, more often than not, the first arrival of a species doesn't mean that they have arrived en masse. More often than not, a single bird or two will sneak in early, then it can be several days or sometimes even weeks before the mass arrival of the species takes place.

Some recent photos...

Karl Lukens managed a better job than I did of the Black-necked Stilt at Heislerville last week. This bird has been hanging out on the north side of the impoundment that has the island in it where the egrets and cormorants roost.

Heislerville's Little Gull was tough to locate among all the Bonaparte's Gulls. Here, the small size of the bird compared with other gull species is easy to see [photo by Sam Galick].
Pine Warblers continue to catch the eye (and ear) of visiting birders and are currently very easy to see at a number of locations, including Belleplain Sate Forest, Cox Hall Creek WMA and Cape May Point State Park [photo by E J Nistico].

What more can I say about Northern Gannets? Take the opportunity to enjoy thousands of these birds right now off Cape May Point before they head north to breed [photo by Beth Polvino].

A Cattle Egret was located at the Rea Farm by Mike Pasquarello on Friday 12th and was joined by a second the next day, in time for Karl Lukens to get a photo of this bird having a bad hair day on our Rea Farm walk.
One of the highlights of our Wednesday morning walk was this adult Little Blue Heron, showing nicely in the state park [photo by E J Nistico].
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins are easy to see in the bay off Cape May Point right now, attracted to the same mass of fish that is pulling in all the Northern Gannets and Red-throated Loons [photo by Beth Polvino].