May 10, 2007

Birds: Cape May trip

I spent a couple days birding in southern New Jersey this week. I left Manlius early Monday morning and came back Wednesday afternoon. Migration was kind of slow by their standards but I still had lots of great new birds. On May 7th I went to Heislerville in search of a previously reported Curlew Sandpiper. No luck with that bird but I did have hundreds if not thousands of Dunlin and Dowitchers, breeding plumage RED KNOTS and RUDDY TURNSTONES, GLOSSY IBIS, BLACK SKIMMERS and other typical costal birds. My 200th year bird was a soaring PEREGRINE FALCON. Also had my first looks at a singing YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Life Bird). In the evening I headed down to Cape May where I had a pair of GULL-BILLED TERNS, lots of WHIMBREL and Clapper Rails. On May 8th I started in Cape May where I had an adult PARASITIC JAEGER harassing the terns off the point. This was the first time I’d ever seen a jaeger in adult plumage. Next I visited several places for passerines and had many more or less expected southern species including SUMMER TANAGER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER and BLUE GROSBEAK (Life Bird). In the afternoon I headed north to Belleplain Forest (picking up my fos SEASIDE SPARROWS on the way) where I had several singing WORM-EATING WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS and an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER. I saw almost as many birders during my trip as I saw birds. This is Pierre and Francine from Quebec. I headed back down to Cape May that evening as well and picked up MARBLED GODWIT and an adult breeding plumage GREAT CORMORANT (Life Bird) on Nummy Island. That night, while listening for rails at Jakes Landing, I heard a horrific screeching noise that I believe was a BARN OWL (Life Bird). On May 9th I picked up a few more birds at Belleplain again (including my first looks at a Worm-eating Warbler) and had a pair of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS at Tamerland (sp?) campground off Route 9. That afternoon I headed up to...

Forsythe (Brigantine) NWR which, aside from some BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, was mostly just more of the same stuff I’d already seen. I think my trip list came to 130 with 5 life birds and 35 new year birds. This morning I had some great migrants along Lake Ontario. The highlight was three beautiful male CAPE MAY WARBLERS; finally a decent look! Also had my fos Chestnut-sided, Magnolia and Blackburnian Warblers, at least six LINCOLN’S SPARROWS and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

My year list is now at 233.