CMBO is pleased to provide weekly summaries of the Cape's birding highlights. Coverage is limited to bird 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 also encouraged to send reports and photos to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).
Location Abbreviations/Explanations: CMP (town of Cape May Point); Cold Spring Inlet (entrance to Cape May Harbor, accessed from Two Mile Beach); Two Mile Beach (beachfront at south end of Wildwood Crest); WMA (Wildlife Management Area)
Access Note: Stone Harbor Point is currently CLOSED due to restoration work.
WATERFOWL THROUGH HAWK
Persistently cold weather continued to adversely affect waterbird numbers. Significant ice cover remained on most fresh and brackish water, and additional ice cover began to overtake nearshore waters of Delaware Bay and many Atlantic back-bays. An unbanded and free-flying female Ruddy Shelduck that appeared at Erma 7 Jan (SWh) was apparently not reported this week. Though most North American records presumably refer to individuals that have escaped from captivity, it is worth fully documenting the species’ occurrences here, as it is also a candidate for natural vagrancy. The two female Harlequin Ducks remained at Cold Spring Inlet through at least 16 Feb (TR); a male joined them 14 Feb (TR, DW). A female King Eider was again reported from the north end of Avalon 14 Feb (m. ob.), and 2 Common Eiders were there 16 Feb (DF). Other noteworthy waterfowl included Canvasback and Redhead at several locations (v. ob.) and a max of 6 Common Mergansers at Cox Hall Creek WMA 16 Feb (DF). At least 1 Red-necked Grebe was seen near Avalon’s 8th Street jetty throughout the week (m. ob.), and an apparent Horned Grebe movement was headlined by 60+ at Two Mile Beach 16 Feb (TR). Pond Creek Marsh was home to an American Bittern 14 Feb (CB, WC). A Rough-legged Hawk put in a brief appearance at Reed’s Beach 17 Feb (TR).
|[Red-necked Grebe at Avalon, 18 Feb. Photo by Dustin Welch.]|
SHOREBIRDS THROUGH SONGBIRDS
Notable were 6 ‘Western’ Willets reported from Nummy Island 14 Feb (m. ob.). Other shorebird highlights included 8 Red Knots near Cape May Harbor 20 Feb (BR) and numerous reports of roadside American Woodcock throughout the county (m. ob.). There were no reports of CMP’s Eurasian Collared-Dove(s) for the third straight week. Observers are encouraged to continue reporting the species at Cape May. The list of “hardy lingerers” dwindled yet again this week, but did include 8 Tree Swallows at Two Mile Beach 14 Feb (TR, DW), and Eastern Phoebe at the Rea Farm/Beanery 14 Feb (JA). The Rea Farm/Beanery also continued to host American Tree Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow in recent days (m. ob.). Rusty Blackbirds remained a semi-regular sight at the Rea Farm/Beanery, with sightings through the period (m. ob.). There were no Common Redpoll reports this week.
|[American Woodcock at Cape May Court House, 19 Feb. Photo by Dustin Welch.]|
Jesse Amesbury (JA), Claudia Burns (CB), Warren Cairo (WC), Mike Crewe, Don Freiday (DF), Tom Reed (TR), Bill Roache (BR), Dustin Welch (DW), Scott Whittle (SWh).
eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. (Accessed: 20 February 2015).
Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr. (Accessed: 20 February 2015).