Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cape May - Spring 2009

I was once again lucky enough to be able to visit Cape May for a week in mid-May to bird. Despite some rain on our first day there, it turned out to be a gorgeous week of weather. We hit all the usual spots - Cape May Point State Park, The Meadows, Reed's Beach, Jake's Landing, Beaver Swamp WMA, Villas WMA, Higbee, and of course Belleplain.

On the beach between the park and The Meadows there were Least Terns setting up territories and beginning to mate. I spent an entire afternoon watching and photographing them.

Territorial Dispute

Love is in the air

Jake's Landing was surprisingly quiet the night we visited, but on the way there Beaver Swamp produced a singing Prothonotary Warbler and some great looks at the Bald Eagles. Reed's Beach was packed with Red Knots and Ruddy Turnstones feeding on the shore. A new location for me this year was Heislerville Wildlife Management Area. Unfortunately the Curlew Sandpipers that had been seen there were nowhere to be found when I arrived, but the trip was far from a waste. The spectacle of tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds more than made up for it. As high tide came in and filled most impoundments, the main impoundment was high enough to resist completely filling. This meant that ALL the shorebirds in the area flew in during high tide to feed and roost. Check out the video I took with my P&S camera (quality isn't great but you can get a sense of how many birds there were):

Higbee produced more mosquitos than birds, but what else is new? Even this poor guy couldn't escape the onslaught:

Pesky mosquitos

A trip down to Cape May isn't complete for me unless I'm able to stop at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge, which happened twice (on the way down and back up). Despite a horde of insects on the second trip, Forsythe delivered as usual. Clapper Rails were out and about (we saw at least four individuals). We also observed a gull dropping a mussel in the road over and over until he finally appeared to crack it open. He took it off to the side and had himself a little brunch. Some other cool views included:

Brigantine Black-Crowned
Black-Crowned Night Heron

Hard at work
Ospreys building a nest

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwings

Another great week down in Cape May! Can't wait until next spring!


dAwN said...

Great shots and great birds! Brings back memories of our spring birding there! We knew that billtacular was birding in Cape may when we were.via chirptracker..and may have even seen you and not know it..I did ask around for you..

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The spectacle of tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds more than made up for it.
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