Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Something for everyone at Cape May...

As we progress through Welcome Week for teams out scouting for the 31st World Series of Birding, Cape May's birds are rising to the challenge and lining up to be counted (though you can bet that some of them will be little tinkers and will disappear come Friday night!!).  Variable but generally mild weather conditions with light winds are encouraging a steady flow of birds through the area and things are looking great for a fun day on Saturday.

Though it is too late to get yourself involved in a team for this year (though you can of course pledge on a team via the World Series of Birding pledge page on our website), there is still a great opportunity for you to take part in Enjoy The Birds Day and let us know what birds you are seeing - and post your photos of them too! Click on Enjoy The Birds Day here to go straight to the page that will give all the information you will need to be part of a spectacular day to be enjoying birds.

As a warm up to the weekend, here's some of this week's tempters to get you either out in the field, or watching for goodies in your own backyard!!

Early May sees the return of all of our wonderful breeding birds, whether you be heading for the woods, the meadows, the bay or the shore this weekend. This first-year male Summer Tanager graced the Northwood Center this week and this fabulous species is likely to be singing in woods near you right now [photo by Brian Moscatello].

With the arrival of May, come the shorebirds. The peak of activity will not be for another 10 days or so, but there's plenty of snazzy, breeding-plumaged birds along the coast and bayshore to be enjoyed right now - such as this smart Red Knot which was at Heislerville WMA during our walk there on Tuesday afternoon [photo by Arthur Steinberger].
What may prove to be a real bonus for World Series teams this year is the fall out from the long, hard winter that we had. A number of species that can be absent or, at very best, hard to find at this time of year are still present in reasonable numbers and may add a few bonus birds to the team lists - such as Swamp Sparrow (seen here in breeding plumage with chestnut cap at Cape May Point State Park)....
....or Bonaparte's Gull - here, just a few of the 109 that we counted at East Point Lighthouse in Cumberland County on Tuesday afternoon [photos by Mike Crewe].

And of course there are always the unexpected little surprises that pop out of the foliage when you are least expecting them. This male Cerulean Warbler was first located in the Gray Poplars right outside the Northwood Center on Monday evening and remained throughout Tuesday [photo by Mike Crewe].

For those of you settling on some birding from your own backyard, there will always be pleasant surprises! This male Wild Turkey has settled into the area around the north end of Lake Lily and has been a welcome addition to the local birdlife lately - let's hope he stays at least through the weekend [photo by Mike Crewe].

And talking of yard birds!!! Cape May went way off the radar again over the past few days as Brian McMahon reported a Crested Caracara from the Rea Farm on May 4th. One can only assume this is one of the birds that graced New Jersey with its presence a year ago, but few would have predicted a reappearance. Luck was with me on May 5th when the bird showed up again and I tracked it north along Bayshore Road, then gained the ultimate 'yard bird' when it landed in my Siberian Elm. Just goes to show you, any place, any time, a good bird can show up in your yard. Enjoy yourself Saturday - and let us know how you get on!!!! [Photo by Mike Crewe]