Date: 10/16/19 6:52 pm From: Thomas W. Reed <coturnicops...> Subject: [JERSEYBI] Recent Cape May notes: Cassin's Kingbird, Townsend's Warbler, migration update
A few brief notes from the past week or so--
Vagrants from the West have certainly become a theme since late September, and that was further amplified over the past week. The clear headliner of recent days was the Cassin's Kingbird that fooled about 100 people at the Cape May hawkwatch on Sunday afternoon as it put in a brief appearance during the annual "big sit" event (which netted 124 species). Good photos clearly revealed the bird's identity later that evening, and more than a few of us also enjoyed a slice of humble pie. Regrettably, subsequent searching on Monday failed to turn it up.
Western Kingbird has also been in the news lately, with a minimum of 4-5 found countywide over the past week (recent local average ca. 3/year), and this certainly contributed to a glossing over of the Cassin's Kingbird. Even more notable was a Townsend's Warbler that put in a very brief appearance next to the Cape May hawkwatch last Thursday, and I came across a third-hand report concerning a possible Townsend's Warbler near the Coral Ave dune crossover Sunday afternoon.
Waterbird migration has been notably slow to this point, with scoter numbers particularly low for mid-October. Today's storm produced both Black-legged Kittiwake and Manx Shearwater at the Avalon Seawatch, along with 100+ Parasitic Jaegers at Cape May Point; 3 Cory's Shearwaters were viewed from Avalon on Saturday evening. Landbird migration has been up and down, with a few decent songbird pulses over the past week. A Lark Sparrow appeared at Cape May Point this morning, and a few Connecticut Warblers have been noted in morning flight movements over the past several days. The hawkwatch saw a few stronger flights during the second half of last week, including a notable 733 Cooper's Hawks on the 10th. We are anticipating a solid period of movement Thursday through Saturday behind the currently clearing cold front. We're also hopeful for more oddities, as the potent storm system associated with this front contains both western and southern influences.