CAPE MAY WAS VERY KIND TO ME, even providing a Black-throated Blue Warbler that waited all day in a tiny flowerbed in front of the Convention Hall until I was able to get out and photograph it. I love almost everything about Cape May, from the bird-filled migrant traps, raptors passing overhead, friendly birders and brightly painted quaint buildings to Seven Eleven coffee, blueberry muffins and Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. My last morning added a final warbler species, Orange-crowned, courtesy of Glen as well as another great visible migration spectacle from the Merlin grasping a Golden-crowned Kinglet atop a telegraph pole to a steady stream of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, this time from the Coral Avenue dune crossing platform, one of the nicest spots on the point. The birding festival itself was great with lots of folks serious about birding travel and a great talk by the Warbler Guide guys, Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle not to mention catching up with a lot of old friends as well as some new ones. I look forward to returning!
Viewing entries tagged
OUT OF THE WIND, THE SHELTERED HEDGEROWS AND WIND BREAKS OF THE REA’S FARM (AKA THE BEANERY) WERE FULL OF MIGRANT SONGBIRDS. Sparrows predominated here with some particularly nice views of Field and Savannah. A few warblers were also still around - my only Common Yellowthroat of the trip skulked in a tangle of creepers here. There were also other birds that would set pulses racing back home like Blue-headed Vireo, Tennessee Warbler and Hermit Thrush. Although numbers dwindled towards the end of my stay there were still a few interesting species to be seen or better views to be had of familiar faces that seemed to stick to the same small discreet areas of the farm. The farm is also a good place to keep an eye on the skies and most of the raptors that are seen from the hawkwatch platform can also be seen passing over here. Thanks a lot to Cape May resident Kevin Karlson for another top tip of how to best to spend my time.
AT CAPE MAY'S MORNING FLIGHT, A BIG PUSH OF RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS joined the Sharpies and Yellow-rumpeds . Although both of the latter were still on the move there was a noticeable spike in kinglet numbers today, of both species but particularly Ruby-crowned. They even flew between the birders gathered on Higbee Dyke, landing everywhere. ‘Counter’ Sam has even had them land on him previously here. Brown Creepers were also more in evidence today, although flicker numbers were markedly down on a couple of days before. Cape May resident Glen Davis commented that he had never seen so many kinglets migrating as this autumn…so it is little wonder that kinglets made it to the Azores and Ireland this autumn. This is a totally incredible phenomenon but we tend to forget that even smaller creatures complete this journey routinely – Monarch butterflies for instance. I have often wondered why both continents only have two kinglet species each (there are two island species as well – Flamecrest in Taiwan and Madeira Firecrest). So when 26 forms make up the Goldcrest/Kinglet family there must surely be some future splits on the cards?
SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS STOLE THE SHOW TODAY in the same way that Yellow-rumped Warblers had done the previous day. I saw several hundred of them bombing through the narrow belt of dunes at the point, all re-orientating back north and some pausing to hunt terrified Yellow-rumped Warblers amongst the dune scrub. Several Cooper’s Hawks were with them and TVs and Golden Eagles were still on the move today, although the number of passerines was much reduced. The hawks following their song bird prey south as the big clear-out of the northern forests continues.