Saturday, October 12, 2013

Week in review: 5 – 11 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 began with an increasing southerly flow, ahead of a strong cold front that cleared Cape May during the evening hours 7 Oct. Cooler temperatures and NE winds followed behind the front, with a coastal storm affecting the area 9-11 Oct. Migration was generally unremarkable throughout, though a good hawk flight occurred 5 Oct and decent numbers of songbirds and wading birds were present during the coastal storm. Birders reported 219 species to eBird during the period. Notable birds included Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Goshawk, American Avocet, Baird's Sandpiper, Black Tern, and Clay-colored Sparrow.

The male Eurasian Wigeon continued at CMPSP throughout, with sightings during recent days at Bunker Pond (m. ob.). Small flights of dabbling ducks and scoters occurred at ASW most days (CB, TM). The week's best Double-crested Cormorant flight entailed 6,448 individuals tabulated at ASW 8 Oct (CB).  Twelve Brown Pelicans were noted at ASW 5 Oct (CB). Noticeable movements of wading birds occurred during the coastal storm 9-11 Oct, with dozens of Black-crowned Night-Herons and Great Blue Herons at Cape May Point, along with two Tricolored Herons at CMPSP 10 Oct (TR). The week's only 1000+ hawk flight occurred 5 Oct, and featured an early Northern Goshawk, a season-high 173 Peregrine Falcons, 120 Ospreys, and 196 Cooper's Hawks (TR). Another 127 Peregrines were tallied at CMHW 7 Oct (TM).

Sora reports came from CMPSP and SCMM this week (v. ob.). Lingering Piping Plovers were noted at the north end of Avalon 8 Oct (fide MO'B) and at Stone Harbor Point 6 Oct (JC). At least one American Golden-Plover was viewed at SCMM through 9 Oct (m. ob.). The American Avocet at CMPSP was last seen 5 Oct (TR, LZ, et al.), and at least three Marbled Godwits were in the area of the Wetlands Institute most of the period (v. ob.). One or more Baird's Sandpipers and multiple White-rumped Sandpipers were viewed at SCMM and CMPSP 10-11 Oct (MeC, TR et al.). Recent rainfall eliminated much of the shorebird habitat at both locations. A Long-billed Dowitcher was seen at SCMM 11 Oct (MO'B). A late Black Tern was noted in the "rips" off Cape May Point 6 Oct (RC). At least 53 Parasitic Jaegers were viewed during an impressive southbound movement out of Delaware Bay 7 Oct (MO'B, SG et al.).

At least two Eurasian Collared-Doves continued at Cape May Point throughout (m. ob.). A Red-headed Woodpecker was viewed from the Higbee Dike 6 Oct (SG). Northern Rough-winged Swallows continued to be seen daily at CMPSP (m. ob.), and two Cliff Swallows were at SCMM 11 Oct (MiC). Five Bicknell's Thrush flight calls were recorded over Cape May City on the evening of 8 Oct (MO'B). Songbird flights at the Higbee Dike continued to be fairly light. Highlights from the dike this week included 1,054 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 108 Northern Parulas, and 461 Blackpoll Warblers 8 Oct, and single Dickcissels Oct 5 and 6 (SG). A Dickcissel appeared at CMHW 10-11 Oct (m. ob.). Two Clay-colored Sparrows and a Nelson's Sparrow were noted at SCMM 11 Oct (MO'B). Additional Clay-colored Sparrow reports came from Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary 10 Oct (MeC et al.) and St. Mary's at Cape May Point 8 Oct (MP).

Observers/contributors: Calvin Brennan, Megan Crewe (MeC), Mike Crewe (MiC), Jacob Cuomo, Richard Crossley, Vince Elia, Sam Galick, Tom Magarian, Michael O'Brien, Mike Pasquarello, Tom Reed, Louise Zemaitis.

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)