Here's a good mystery photo for you - believe it or not, it's a young Osprey, but without the grace that it will sport as an adult! Teams of Osprey banders are out visiting nests in the marshes right now and, by all accounts, it sounds like it's been a good breeding season for this species this year. Much has been learned about Osprey migrations through banding and, especially, through satellite tagging birds. Check out the individual birds on this website and be amazed at their wanderings! [Photo by Jeff White]
Clapper Rails are abundant in Cape May's backbay marshes, but can be a nightmare to see. Drifting quietly in a kayak is the ideal way to get up close and personal with them [photo by Beth Polvino].
American Oystercatchers can readily be seen around Cape May County, either nesting on the few fragments of protected beach, or feeding in the muddy back bays at low tide. Close up views from a boat can not only provide great photographic opportunities, but will also help you to help conservation by recording numbers on banded birds [photo by Beth Polvino].
Don't forget that there is more than just birds out there. Diamondback Terrapins are the only terrapin we have that habitually lives in saltwater and will almost certainly be the species that you will see in the back bays [photo by Beth Polvino].
If you are not in the mood for a boat trip, there's plenty of other birding opportunities. The Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Meadows, off Sunset Boulevard continues to atract migratory shorebirds and other wetland species. Two American Avocets dropped in there briefly on Tuesday, while Virginia Rails continue to be reported on occasion (at least one pair bred there this year). Short-billed Dowitchers, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers and Glossy Ibises continue to fly through and a scattering of Black-crowned Night Herons, Spotted Sandpipers and others can be found on the pools there. The South Cape May Beach is attracting a variety of terns, with Royal, Sandwich, Black and Roseate all appearing recently among the Least, Forster's and Common Tern flocks there.
See you out there!