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: CMP (town of Cape May Point); CMPSP (Cape May Point State Park); South Cape May Meadows (SCMM)
Waterfowl numbers took another dip in recent days, though overall diversity remained above-average for the end of April. An exceptionally late Tundra Swan continued to linger at CMPSP/SCMM through at least 24 Apr (m. ob.). Other tardy waterbirds included an American Wigeon at CMPSP through the period (m. ob.), 4 Lesser Scaup at CMP 23 Apr (m. ob.), and a Red-necked Grebe at Nummy Island 18 Apr (AC). Northern Gannets were again obvious from CMP and the Atlantic Coast through the week, though numbers have decreased since about 20 Apr. Double-crested Cormorants moved north in strong numbers, highlighted by 8500+ from CMP 22 Apr (m. ob.). Migrating Common Loons were again noted every day, with an unprecedented high count of 364 tallied from CMP 22 Apr (TR, GDa et al.). There were several Cattle Egret reports, including 5 along Route 9 in Swainton 23 Apr (CM). Rare but annual in spring, an adult White-faced Ibis put in at least two appearances at Jake's Landing 19–20 Apr (TR, SR). Strong westerly winds likely played a role in the appearance of 2 Sandhill Cranes over CMP 24 Apr (TR, KL, m. ob.). The birds were last seen departing the Rea Farm/Beanery toward the north.
SHOREBIRDS THROUGH SONGBIRDS
The Hereford Inlet area continued to host at least 8+ Piping Plovers through the period (m. ob.). Following the previous week's Upland Sandpiper reports, two individuals were discovered at the southeast end of Sumner Avenue, Woodbine 18 Apr (m. ob.). A single bird was noted at the same location 21 Apr (fide Keekeekerr). There were multiple reports of Caspian Tern, an uncommon spring migrant, including 2 at CMP 23 Apr (m. ob.). A record early Least Tern appeared at CMP 18 Apr (TR et al.), and two more arrived 22 Apr (m. ob.). More expected was the year's first Common Tern at Sunset Beach 20 Apr (DLP, TR), along with the first Black Skimmer at CMP 21 Apr (VE). Strong northwest winds and unusually cold temperatures delivered a major influx of swallows to Cape Island 24 Apr, including estimates of 2000+ Tree Swallows, 1200+ Barn Swallows, and 100+ Cliff Swallows at CMP (m. ob.). An overnight change in wind direction created a fallout of Yellow-rumped Warblers during the morning of 19 Apr, including 750+ at CMP (VE, TR et al.). Though conditions were largely unfavorable for migration through most of the period, a few more songbirds arrived, such as Baltimore Oriole at the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary 20 Apr (GDw), Orchard Oriole near Green Creek 21 Apr (SG, SW), and Blue Grosbeak at Hidden Valley 22 Apr (SR).
Alan Crawford (AC), Glen Davis (GDa), Gail Dwyer (GDw), Vince Elia (VE), Sam Galick (SG), David La Puma (DLP), Karl Lukens (KL), Christina Marks (CM), Mike Pasquarello (MP), Tom Reed (TR), Steven Rodan (SR), Sam Wilson (SW).
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: 25 April 2015).
Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr. (Accessed: 25 April 2015).