Monday, October 20, 2008

Cape May Day 2 - Oct 17th

Vesper Sparrows - Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May - Oct 17th.

Vesper Sparrow - the third of five, Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May - Oct 17th.

Great and Snowy Egrets - migrating south over Two Mile Landing.

The eagerly awaited cold front moved through overnight bringing a sharp drop in temperatures and a complete change of wind direction (now a decent North-westerly breeze). We headed for Higbee Beach anticipating large numbers of birds, especially Yellow-rumped Warblers which we'd seen all along the roadsides as we drove to the site. It was certainly busy when we arrived, with hundreds of Yellow-rumps, and tens of Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets but equally impressive were the sparrows with several hundred of White-throated, Song and Swamp, about 10 Field Sparrows and no less than five Vesper Sparrows, including 4 together at one point in the 'Tower Field'. We later tried for raptors at Cape May point with small numbers of accipiters moving through and nice comparisons of young Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks, plus 5 Peregrines, 7 Northern Harriers and about 5 Bald Eagles. We also enjoyed a feeding frenzy just offshore involving about 400 Northern Gannets, plus Laughing and American Herring Gulls and some Royal Terns. The afternoon was pretty relaxing though it was clear that a rather large movement of scoters was taking place offshore with about 1,000 dark-winged (Black and Surf) scoters moving west off Beach Ave (from our hotel) in Cape May in just one hour in mid-afternoon.

We closed another fine day watching Brants, migrating egrets, and both species of sharp-tailed sparrow at Two Mile Landing.

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