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); CMPSP (Cape May Point State Park); WMA (Wildlife Management Area).
Daily monitoring at CMP this week produced steadily increasing numbers of Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Loon, and Double-crested Cormorant (m. ob.). Notably late lingerers included 2 Tundra Swans at CMPSP through the period (m. ob.) and 6 Redheads at 81st St., Stone Harbor through at least 1 Apr (SG et al.). Red-necked Grebes remained in the news, headlined by 5 seen from CMP 2 Apr (MP, TR et al.). An obvious arrival of Northern Gannets overtook CMP 30 Mar, with 459 tallied in two hours; 542 were recorded there 3 Apr (m. ob.). The year's first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was noticed at 44th St, Avalon 1 Apr (SG). A Little Blue Heron put in an appearance at Beaver Swamp WMA--a reliable site to find the species--1 Apr (CK), and a Tricolored Heron moved north past CMP 3 Apr (TR). Great and Snowy Egrets were finally reported on a daily basis; the Rea Farm/Beanery was home to 22 Great Egrets on 29 Mar (TR). Wild Turkey reports were filed from all corners of the county, including at least 1 still present at CMP through 2 Apr (m. ob.). Osprey continued to arrive, with another noticeable influx 31 Mar–2 Apr (m. ob.). Many nesting platforms are now occupied along Atlantic coast salt marshes. Northwest winds helped produce a small movement of Red-tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles at CMP 1 Apr (m. ob.).
[Bald Eagle at CMP, 1 Apr. Photo by Tom Reed.]
SHOREBIRDS THROUGH SONGBIRDSAmerican Oystercatchers and Piping Plovers continued to return to traditional breeding locations along the Atlantic coast (m. ob.). Rare as a spring migrant, an American Golden-Plover flew north past CMP during strong west winds 28 Mar (TR). Migrant Killdeer were again noted on a daily basis, with small flocks regularly passing north over Cape Island (m. ob.). The period's only Black-headed Gull report consisted of a single near the Ferry Terminal 3 Apr (BL). CMP's elusive Eurasian Collared-Dove was last reported along Harvard Ave 28 Mar (fide KL). Eastern Phoebes were conspicuous throughout the county during much of the week, with at least 80 reported from various locations 29 Mar (m. ob.). Swallows became more obvious during the second half of the period, with arrivals including Barn Swallow at the South Cape May Meadows (LS) and Goshen (WK) 31 Mar, followed by Northern Rough-winged Swallow at CMPSP 2 Apr (SH). Songbird arrivals included Louisiana Waterthrush at Higbee Beach WMA 29 Mar (SR), Palm Warbler at Dennis Creek WMA 31 Mar (TG), and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Corson's Inlet State Park 3 Apr (BS).
[Eastern Phoebe at Rea Farm/Beanery, 29 Mar. Photo by Tom Reed.]
Sam Galick (SG), Tom Gleason (TG), Scott Hinkle (SH), Will Kerling (WK), Chip Krilowicz (CK), Becky Laboy (BL), Karl Lukens (KL), Mike Pasquarello (MP), Tom Reed (TR), Steven Rodan (SR), Lauren Shaffer (LS), Brandon Swayser (BS).
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: 3 April 2015).
Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr. (Accessed: 3 April 2015).