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. The vast majority of information utilized in these reports comes from eBird data and "Keekeekerr" text alerts. Observers are encouraged to send reports and photos to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).
Location Abbreviations/Explanations: CMP (town of Cape May Point); CMPSP (Cape May Pt. State Park); Higbee Dike (dredge spoils at northwest corner of Cape Island, site of CMBO's Morning Flight count); SCMM (South Cape May Meadows); SHPt (Stone Harbor Point).
WATERFOWL THROUGH RAPTORS
Dabbling ducks continued to enjoy a more obvious presence at Cape Island. At least 50 Blue-winged Teal have been noted between CMP and SCMM during recent days, along with scattered parties of Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, and American Wigeon (m. ob.). The season's first Pied-billed Grebe arrived at CMPSP 19 Sep (m. ob.). A pelagic trip to the Wilmington Canyon crossed paths with multiple Cory's Shearwaters (including one "Scopoli's"), Manx Shearwater, Great Shearwater, and Red-necked Phalarope 13 Sep (m. ob.). Exceptional from shore during autumn, a Sooty Shearwater entertained many observers at CMP 14–16 Sep (JM, m. ob.). Great Cormorant reports saw a slight uptick this week-- news of singles came in from the Higbee Dike, CMP, and Cold Spring Inlet (m. ob.). Flight calls of migrating Least Bitterns were detected over West Cape May 14 Sep (MO'B) and over Cape May City 19 Sep (TR). Recent Cattle Egret reports have been few-- 1 flew over SCMM 13 Sep (BH). Small numbers of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons can still be found at some sites, including 6 in the Jarvis Sound area 15 Sep (BL, VE et al.). A good hawk flight 18 Sep brought 221 Osprey, 563 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 118 Cooper's Hawks, and 193 American Kestrels past CMPSP (TR). A Red-shouldered Hawk was seen from CMPSP 14 Sep (MR).
GALLINULE THROUGH SISKIN
A Common Gallinule entertained many observers at CMPSP 13 Sep, and at least 2 Soras were noted at SCMM some days (m. ob.). Notable shorebird sightings entailed a Wilson's Phalarope (NBl, NBo) and a Marbled Godwit (m. ob.) over CMPSP 13 Sep, a Baird's Sandpiper over CMPSP 14 Sep (TR, KK), and 2 Long-billed Dowitchers along Ocean Drive near Wildwood Crest 13 Sep (JM). An exploration of SHPt turned up 200 American Oystercatchers, 5 Piping Plovers, a Whimbrel, 30 Red Knots, and a notable total of 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls 13 Sep (NBl, NBo, GH, PR). Lingering terns included 2 Black Terns and at least 1 Least Tern at CMP through 19 Sep (m. ob.), and a Gull-billed Tern at CMPSP/SCMM on multiple days (m. ob.). North America's 3rd WHISKERED TERN remained at CMP through 19 Sep, delighting a few thousand birders thus far (m. ob.). At least 1 Eurasian Collared-Dove continued to be seen sporadically at CMP/CMPSP through 19 Sep (m. ob.). A migrating Barn Owl was heard calling over West Cape May during the evening of 14 Sep (DLP). Red-headed Woodpeckers have been in short supply; 1 was viewed from CMPSP 19 Sep (MO'B). For the first time this fall, there were multiple reports of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Gray-cheeked Thrush (m. ob.), and 144 Northern Flickers were counted at the Higbee Dike 19 Sep (TR). A massive songbird flight at the Higbee Dike 15 Sep produced over 4,000 warblers, including 137 Northern Waterthrushes, 277 Black-and-white Warblers, 22 Tennessee Warblers, 2 Connecticut Warblers, 2331 American Redstarts, and 391 Northern Parulas (GD et al.). An additional 2 Connecticut Warblers and a pair of late Summer Tanagers flew past the Higbee Dike 19 Sep (TR). Clay-colored Sparrows were detected at Cape May City 16 Sep (MO'B) and at SHPt 13 Sep (JM). A Lark Sparrow, the season's third, was discovered at Del Haven 17 Sep (BB). The season's first Pine Siskin visited a backyard at Goshen 16–17 Sep (PS, CS).
Nicholas Block (NBl), Nick Bonomo (NBo), Bob Brown (BB), Glen Davis (GD), Vince Elia (VE), Greg Hanisek (GH), Brian Henderson (BH), Kevin Karlson (KK), David La Puma (DLP), Bob Lubberman (BL), Jay McGowan (JM), Michael O'Brien (MO'B), Mary Raikes (MR), Tom Reed (TR), Phil Rusch (PR), Clay Sutton (CS), Pat Sutton (PS).
*eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. Available: http://www.ebird.org.*Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr