Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week in review: 30 August – 5 September, 2014

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); HB (Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area); 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).


       CMPSP continued to host an abnormally large congregation of Mute Swans, with a recent high of 38 on Bunker Pond (m. ob.). Dabbling ducks established a more obvious presence at Cape Island-- 26 Blue-winged Teal made for a nice sum at CMP 5 Sep (MO'B), while 13 Northern Shovelers were noted at CMPSP the same day (m. ob.). Several Green-winged Teal put in appearances at CMPSP and SCMM most days (m. ob.), and another was migrating offshore CMP 4 Sep (TR). Wild Turkey has become an expected sight along New England Road; close to three dozen continued to be seen at times, particularly during the morning hours (m. ob.). A fishing trip to ca. 30 miles east of Cape May found 2 Cory's Shearwaters, 3 Great Shearwaters, and 5 Wilson's Storm-Petrels 4 Sep (JC, CH). Over 200 Double-crested Cormorants migrated south past CMP on easterly winds 4 Sep (m. ob.). A Least Bittern was noted in the Tuckahoe marshes, where the species nests, 30 Aug (TB). The first appreciable hawk flight of the season overtook CMP 3 Sep, and included 216 Ospreys, 11 Bald Eagles, 21 Northern Harriers, 138 American Kestrels, and 10 Merlins (TR, SB). 

[Cooper's Hawk at CMPSP, 4 Sep. Photo by Tom Reed.]

       A migrant Clapper Rail made for an odd sight on Bunker Pond, CMPSP 3 Aug (m. ob.). A minimum of 2 Soras could be found at SCMM some days (m. ob.). At least one adult American Golden-Plover entertained observers at SCMM and CMPSP 30 Aug–3 Sep (m. ob.). Early-Sep is likely the best time to seek out Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Cape May. Flyovers were notched at CMP 1 Sep and at the Higbee Dike 3 Sep (GD). Another dropped in at SHPt 3 Sep (EH). The morning of 1 Sep brought a nice movement of shorebirds past Cape Island, including 19 Solitary Sandpipers, 112 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 22 Pectoral Sandpipers tallied at CMPSP (VE, MR, TR). A juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger put in a brief but exciting appearance at CMPSP 1 Sep (TR et al.). The majority of land-based records of this species have occurred in early-Sep. Parasitic Jaeger will become a more regular sight in coming weeks; at least 1 was reported from CMP on several days (m. ob.). Multiple Lesser Black-backed Gulls continued to be found at oceanside beaches such as SCMM and SHPt (m. ob.). Notably late were 2 adult Roseate Terns at CMP 30 Aug (MO'B, m. ob.). Least Tern reports continued through 3 Sep (m. ob.), but the species will soon be gone until next spring. The aforementioned fishing trip also encountered 2 Bridled Terns and a Black Tern offshore Cape May 4 Sep (JC, CH). Additional Black Tern reports included 1 at Jarvis Sound 2 Sep (VE, BL, m. ob.) and another at CMPSP 5 Sep (m. ob.). 

[Long-tailed Jaeger at CMPSP, 1 Sep. Photo by Tom Reed.]

       A White-winged Dove was discovered near Coral Avenue, CMP 2 Sep (MO'B, m. ob.). There have been no reports since-- this potentially represents the 4th individual seen in Cape May County during 2014. Eurasian Collared-Dove continued to put in sporadic appearances at CMP. One flew west over CMPSP 3 Sep, and a pair did the same the next day (TR). A Barn Owl flew west past SCMM at dusk 1 Sep (MO'B), the third recorded this season. Light westerly winds brought a noticeable movement of Common Nighthawks over Cape Island during the evening hours 3 Sep, including 100+ seen over West Cape May during a 5-minute period (MG). An impressive songbird flight was witnessed from CMPSP 4 Sep which included 7500 Bobolinks, 315 Eastern Kingbirds, 200 Northern Waterthrushes, 750 American Redstarts, 80 Yellow Warblers, 40 Black-and-white Warblers, 2 Connecticut Warblers, and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (TR, SW, VE). A strong songbird flight was also noted at the Higbee Dike the same day, with highlights including a Philadelphia Vireo, 2 Bay-breasted Warblers, and a Dickcissel (GD et al.). A "Lawrence's" Warbler was detected at HB 2 Sep (CBN), and a "Brewster's" Warbler put in an appearance at CMPSP 4 Sep (KL). Small numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches were recorded most days at the Higbee Dike, HB, and CMP (m. ob.). The fall's first Clay-colored Sparrows were photographed at CMPSP 1 Sep (JA) and at SHPt 2 Sep (KH et al.). 

[Chestnut-sided Warbler at the Higbee Dike, 5 Sep. Photo by Tom Reed.]


Jesse Amesbury (JA), Steve Bauer (SB), Tom Baxter (TB), Jacob Cuomo (JC), Glen Davis (GD), Vince Elia (VE), Mark Garland (MG), Chris Hajduk (CH), Emily Heiser (EH), Kathy Horn (KH), Karl Lukens (KL), Bob Lubberman (BL), Claus Brostrøm Nielsen (CBN), Michael O'Brien (MO'B), Mary Raikes (MR), Tom Reed (TR), Scott Whittle (SW).


*eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed 6 Sep 2014. Available:
*Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Accessed 6 Sep 2014. Available:

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