Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 2 thru 4 - Cape May County

A long weekend trip here with my wife gave me a chance to get an early start on this year's migration.

In the ponds I viewed Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, and Black Ducks. Waders were represented by both the Great, and Snowy Egrets plus Green Heron, and Glossy Ibis.

At Two Mile Landing, shorebirds seen were Clapper Rail, Short-Billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, Least & Semi-Palmated Sandpipers, both Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, Black-Bellied and Semi-Palmated Plovers, Oystercatchers and Turnstones wore their bright orange colors, and tawny Whimbrel lurked in the taller grasses. Seaside and Savannah sparrows were seen too.

On the Two-Mile beach Willet and Piping Plovers were observed, along with Sanderling

Raptors included Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk, Merlin and both Vultures

Passerine migration at Higbee Beach and Belleplain State Park was quite rewarding too.
The first Wood-Peewee of the year headed up this group of flycatchers: Acadian, Phoebe , Great-Crested, and Eastern Kingbird. Summer Tanager was a wonderful treat, and to see if before I've tallied my first Scarlet Tanager of the year was intriguing.

White-Eyed Vireos abounded, and a few Blue-Headed Vireos were found along with the just arriving Red-Eyed Vireos. Purple Martins were staples at the State Park, as were Tree Swallows, Chimney Swift, Barns, and a few Rough-Winged Swallows.

Warblers seen were Blue-Winged, Nashville, Parula, Yellow, stunning Magnolia, Bt BLue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Pine, Prairie, Black-and-White, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, both Waterthrushes, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded and Yellow-Throated.

Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings provided for some amazing hues as well.

On the sea-watching front, it was interesting to still see Brant so late in the spring. As well as Surf, and Black Scoters. Several Common and Red-Throated Loons were seen offshore, however they are transitioning into breeding plumages now. Northern Gannets were close in shore too.
Red-Breasted Mergansers were seen singly each day.

Terns were represented by Forster's as the most common, while Common Terns were just making their return to the States waters. Several Least Terns appeared by trips end, as well as a single Roseate Tern, and a few Royal Terns. However the highlight was reserved for a Parasitic Jaeger that I spotted form St. Mary's jetty during my last half-hour before packing up and heading back north towards home.