Saturday, July 27, 2013

More at the meadows

Good birding continued at The Meadows yesterday with a Stilt Sandpiper turning up in the wonderful gathering of birds there. Our regular Friday evening walk at The Meadows also produced a couple of Willets along with most of the species mentioned yesterday. The mud continues to attract plenty of birds, as does the beach there, which recently has had a small gathering of Black Skimmers, a single Lesser Black-backed Gull and a continuing couple of pairs of American Oystercatchers.

Lambert Orkis sent me a few more pictures from his visit to The Meadows recently, a couple of which I share here:

Black Skimmers are always a delight to watch and an evening walk at The Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Meadows is usually a good spot to be to catch this unique feeding behavior [photos by Lambert Orkis].

Dragonflies in the news again
Mention should be made of the remarkable flight of Swamp Darner dragonflies that took place last Wednesday evening. Unfortunately I was elsewhere and missed this spectacle, but a number of people have told me of the thousands of large, dark dragonflies that swarmed through Cape May Point a few evenings ago and it really seems to have been a spectacle that you just couldn't miss if you were in Cape May that evening. Swamp Darners do breed around Cape May and can be found throughout the summer, but we also regularly get incursions of these insects from further south. These are individuals from southern populations that push northward when breeding ponds start to dry up as temperatures soar. We often see a return migration during September too.

Recent Sightings
A stronger whiff of fall is creeping into Cape May as the first songbird migrants begin to roam further afield. The appearance of juvenile Yellow Warblers on our walk last Wednesday, plus a couple in the garden of the Northwood Center today, most likely involved local birds, but a Palm Warbler at the point today was certainly not expected. Small gatherings of Tree and Barn Swallows are building up here and there and a very vocal Solitary Sandpiper passed over our house at 06:30AM this morning... Plenty more to come!