Date: 9/11/17 7:51 pm From: Tim Freiday <tim.freiday777...> Subject: [de-birds] DOS Cape May Trip Results
Hello Fellow DE Birders,
The DOS Cape May trip this past Saturday was as good as anyone could hope for! The weather was phenomenal, with excellent migration conditions and many birds around. Cape May is well known for it's spectacular fall migration, and Saturday was not a disappointment. Many birds flying over the Cape in the morning after a large fall flight are flying north, in a counter intuitive phenomenon known as redirected morning flight. This is because these birds migrated all night and then found themselves out over the bay or on New Jersey's heavily developed east coast. They don't want to be in those areas so they fly north along the bayshore until they find suitable habitat to spend the day in.
We experienced morning flight during our time at Higbee Beach, where we had about 600 warblers of over 20 species fly past us, some of which alighted in the trees for us to enjoy. We also had a peach of an Olive-sided Flycatcher catching insects in full sun for all to see. The morning flight only lasted until about 8:30 or 9:00 AM, at which point we began walking the fields in the area. Here we came across some more great species like Nashville Warbler and Yellow-throated Vireo. There was a report of a Connecticut Warbler in the center path, so we made our way around the field to try and see it, getting distracted by a flock of empidonax flycatchers on the way. My dad did in fact see a Connecticut Warbler in that group, but in typical Connecticut Warbler fashion it disappeared and was not seen again. However, we were searching for a Golden-winged Warbler which was reported a little further down the center path at Higbee when dad found another Connecticut Warbler walking! around about 20 feet up in a cedar tree, the highest Connecticut Warbler anyone ever had seen. Most of the group managed to see the bird, but it was never completely unobscured. Complete checklist for Higbee here:
We went from Higbee to Cape May State Park for a quick pit stop around 10 AM, which is of course when a lot of raptors get up in the sky. In addition to raptors, we were treated to a nice surprise as well. The group was hanging out and getting ready to head to The Nature Conservancy Meadows down the road, when Parker O'Neill came running back to the group from the hawk watch, and excitedly proclaimed that there were two Wood Storks getting up in a kettle! The whole group grabbed our optics and ran over to the hawk watch as fast as we could. By the time that the group got to the platform the storks were quite distant, but some of the group were able to get on the birds. Complete checklist for the hawkwatch round one here:
We headed to the meadows from the hawk watch, hoping to find some waterbirds. The water levels were a bit high for shorebirds, but we did find some waterfowl. There were some Pied-billed Grebes around, as well as Green- and Blue-winged teal and American Black Duck. Complete checklist from the meadows here:
We then broke for lunch and headed back to Cape May State Park after that, to try and find some daytime warblers and the like. We had to walk quite a ways before we found a patch of birds, but were alerted to the presence of some quality species when Kelley Nunn found a Blackburnian Warbler. This bird was a very cooperative bright male, foraging fairly low and offering extended views for all participants. Then we heard a White-eyed and saw a Red-eyed vireo. Then a Warbling Vireo popped out followed by a Blue-headed Vireo. Hannah Greenberg and Matt Sarver then found a Philadelphia Vireo, which eventually came out to show itself for the group after some extensive pishing. With that, we swept the expected eastern fall vireos, something I had never done up to this point. Complete checklist for Cape May State Park Round 2 here:
This was the last stop of the DOS Cape May trip, and wrapped up one of the best days of birding that I have ever had! There is some talk of another Cape May trip in October for sparrows and hawks, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more details on that. Until the next time, happy birding!