Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week in review: 28 September – 4 October, 2013

CMBO is pleased to provide weekly summaries of the Cape's birding highlights. Coverage is limited to sightings in Cape May County. Readers should keep in mind that some reports may not be confirmed. Information and photos that may be of use for weekly summaries should be emailed to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).

The period featured mild and dry conditions throughout. Moderate easterly winds prevailed through the final days of Sep. A weak trough brought light westerlies to open the month of October, with good hawk and songbird flights recorded 2 October. Near-record warmth accompanied a light southerly flow for the week's end. A total of 213 species were reported to eBird 28 Sep-4 Oct. Notable birds included Eurasian Wigeon, Golden Eagle, American Avocet, and Lapland Longspur.

The male Eurasian Wigeon continued at CMPSP through 4 Oct, with most recent sightings from Lighthouse Pond and Lighthouse Pond East (m. ob.). The season's first Ring-necked Duck was at CMPSP 1 Oct (MW et al.). Easterly winds produced flights of 4,516 and 2,228 Double-crested Cormorants at ASW 28 and 29 Sep (CB). A total of 39 Brown Pelicans was recorded at ASW 29 Sep (CB).

American Bitterns have been seen during recent days at CMPSP and SCMM (m. ob.). Two juvenile Tricolored Herons were at Bunker Pond, CMPSP 3 Oct. Hawk flights of 1,000+ individuals were tallied Oct 2 & 4. Selected daily maxima for the period included 1297 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 172 Cooper's Hawks, and 217 American Kestrels on 2 Oct, and 126 Peregrines on 4 Oct (TR). An early Golden Eagle appeared over West Cape May 4 Oct (MO'B). An American Avocet spent 2-4 Oct at Bunker Pond, CMPSP (m. ob.). The season's first Purple Sandpiper arrived at ASW 1 Oct (CB). An American Golden-Plover flew past ASW 1 Oct (CB), while another was at SCMM 4 Oct (MC et al.). A Whimbrel flew past ASW 2 Oct (CB), and three Long-billed Dowitchers were at Nummy Island 4 Oct (DF).

Parasitic Jaegers were found on land at Cape May Point 28-29 Sep (m. ob.) and at Stone Harbor Point 30 Sep (MC). A Bonaparte's Gull was at Bunker Pond, CMPSP 29 Sep (m. ob.). A minimum of 17 Caspian Terns were at Bunker Pond, CMPSP 3 Oct. At least two Eurasian Collared-Doves continue to frequent the south end of residential Cape May Point. Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen from CMHW 3 and 4 Oct (TR), and a decent movement of Northern Flickers occurred Oct 2, when over 600 were viewed from CMHW (TR).

A single flock of 19 Northern Rough-winged Swallows were viewed from CMHW 3 Oct (TR, SG). An early Lapland Longspur was photographed flying along the SCMM beach 1 Oct (MO'B). A Hooded Warbler was seen at the Higbee Dike 3 Oct (SG). The season's first noticeable Yellow-rumped Warbler flights occurred Oct 2 & 3. A Vesper Sparrow flew over CMHW 3 Oct (TR), and  two Dickcissels flew over there 3 Oct (TR).

Observers/contributors: Calvin Brennan, Megan Crewe, Richard Crossley, Vince Elia, Sam Galick, Kathy Horn, Tom Magarian, Michael O'Brien, Tom Reed, Matt Webster

Location Abbreviations: ASW (Avalon Seawatch), CMHW (Cape May Hawk Watch), CMPSP (Cape May Pt. State Park), Higbee Dike (raised dredge spoil berm at n. end of Higbee Beach WMA), SCMM (South Cape May Meadows)