Sunday, September 8, 2013

Migration Flatline - but we have birds...

When winds turn to the south or south-west, Cape May's Migration Mainline becomes Migration Flatline, as birds continue to migrate via other routes. But it's Cape May, and it's September so never let it be said that Cape May doesn't have birds! Despite a temporary halt in streaming migrants overhead, the text services and listserves are still hopping with information. The Long-tailed Jaeger, though elusive, is still around and was reported working the tern flocks in The Rips off St Mary's this morning. It also put in an appearance at Higbee Beach and flew right over the dike. If you are looking for this bird, it's worth bearing in mind that at least two Parasitic Jaegers were out there this morning, so care and good looks are required. The Lark Sparrow first reported at Cox Hall Creek WMA by Don Freiday on 6th was still present this morning (8th) and seems to be hanging out mostly just south-west of the main lake - and often feeding out on the main walking trail. Other single Lark Sparrows have been reported from Higbee Dike on 6th and over the Hawkwatch Platform on 8th.

The American Golden Plover that was feeding on Bunker Pond on 2nd didn't hang around for long, but the species is still being reported on and off from Brigantine, where recent reports have also included a Baird's Sandpiper and up to six Buff-breasted Sandpipers. Bunker Pond held a Marbled Godwit briefly on 7th and a few early returning birds there these past few days have included Belted Kingfisher, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Pintail and American Wigeon. One other duck report of interest was of a female Hooded Merganser on a small pond in Cape May Court House; perhaps this bird has summered somewhere in the area.

One or two Brown Pelicans have been reported from various sites lately, though none seem to be hanging around too long. On 4th, an Olive-sided Flycatcher paused for a while at the intersection of Bayshore and New England Roads, on 6th, a Mississippi Kite put in a brief appearance at Cape May Point - always an uncommon bird this time of year - and a Giant Swallowtail was a nice find by Michael O'Brien at the state park on 8th.

For the slightly more adventurous, the latest boat trip out to the Wilmington Canyon on 7th seems to have been a great success. Though official counts of species have not been received yet, I do know that participants enjoyed Cory's Shearwater, Leach's and Band-rumped Storm-petrels, Red-necked Phalarope, Bridled Tern and both Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers - quite a trip it seems! For more information on other pelagic trips in our area, visit See Life Paulagics website.

Well, time to put the kettle on and contemplate tomorrow's birds - Bye, Norm & Cindy - see you again soon!