Monday, September 23, 2013

The day in pictures

Despite the frustrations of yet another promised cold front that turned into something of a disappointment, today was a pretty magical day for birds around Cape May. If you were out there today, I'm prepared to bet that you had a pretty good day looking at birds. And yes, this is what Cape May is like when a cold front turns into a let-down!!

Higbee Dike bustled with both birds and birdwatchers this morning (one of those days when you test yourself on your knowledge of European accents!) and, though the warbler flight was not big, there was certainly plenty to keep everyone happy. In particular, Cape May Warblers were easy to come by, while Blackpoll and Palm Warbler numbers seemed to be up and a scattering of Yellow-rumped Warblers reminded us that October creeps ever nearer. In the fields at Higbee Beach, Brown Thrashers were noticeable by their presence and, as with the dike, warblers were well represented.

The Hawkwatch Platform had its share of fun with a good run of Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels, as well as a fly-through American Bittern that dropped into the back of Bunker Pond. Yesterday evening's American Golden Plover was reported this morning at least at The Meadows, while the day ended for some with a continuation of the recent run of Common Nighthawk shows at the The Meadows/State Park.

I'll keep the wordage short by ending now and simply sum the day up in a series of pictures, all taken around Cape May Point today - see you out there tomorrow!

Starting a Cape May day at Higbee Dike when the wind is in the North-west rarely fails to provide great birding - and what better way to start the day than with a flight of Cape May Warblers...[photo by Mike Crewe]

Large flights of Northern Flickers seem to be a thing of the past, but the dazzling spectacle of golden wings in the warm glow of early morning sun is still a classic feature of Higbee Beach [photo by Mike Crewe].

And, of course, with a good songbird flight come the Sharp-shinned Hawks - time to head over to the Hawkwatch Platform [photo by Mike Crewe].
And so came the warblers. From Higbee Beach in the morning, via Cape May Point State Park midday to Lake Lily in the evening, the warblers were here to be found today. Though birds were scattered throughout the area, certain favored localities concentrated the birds - all the warbler shots here were taken at CMBO's Northwood Center this evening, starting with this perky Magnolia Warbler [photo by Mike Crewe].

Furtively hunting through the Virginia Junipers (OK, Eastern Red Cedar if you prefer!) this Black-throated Green Warbler was a nice highlight with its startlingly yellow face [photo by Mike Crewe].

With so many Cape May Warblers on the Morning Flight, it was only a matter of time before they turned up elsewhere. Cape Mays like conifers so checking the junipers is always a good move [photo By Mike Crewe].

Not the best picture of the day, but Bay-breasted Warbler is always a much-sought bird at Cape May, with a fondness for lurking in the shadows and never quite showing itself properly. Keep an eye out for an unstreaked warbler with two wingbars and a pinkish wash to the sides [photo by Mike Crewe].

No, honestly, this picture really is the right way up! Black-and-white Warblers are nothing if not entertaining as they work their way around craggy tree trunks looking for food like little stripy nuthatches [photo by Mike Crewe].
It wasn't just warblers that were on the move today; Blue-gray Gnatcatchers put on a good show and at least six were working through the trees at the Northwood Center toward the end of the day [photo by Mike Crewe].
Also moving today were Red-eyed Vireos - this one posed perfectly on the powerline at the Northwood Center today [photo by Mike Crewe].

Watching you, watching me. With so many songbirds in town, you can bet that you won't be the only one watching what's going on in the trees around Cape May Point. Good numbers of Merlins are in town right now and late afternoon and evening are the perfect time to see them out and about and looking for a late meal [photo by Mike Crewe].