NYC Audubon

    
SOFO

    
Brooklyn Bird Club

    
BBG

     Long Pond Greenbelt
Date:  Sept. 24-25, 2015

Location:  Cape May Birding Trip

Reported by: Joe Giunta

Our group of 11 NYC Audubon Birders left 23rd St. at 9am and headed towards the famous birding mecca of Cape May NJ. After about 3 and a half hours of driving, with a rest stop along the way, we arrived at the famous hawk watch platform of Cape May Point State Park. Conditions for migration were mixed as we faced north-east winds. The hawk watch platform was somewhat quiet. We did get to see and compare a Cooper’s Hawk and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Overhead we also saw a few Ospreys and two Bald Eagles, one mature and the other immature. From the platform we got fairly good scoped views of a European Wigeon. Also in the ponds were: Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Snowy Egret and Great Egret. We walked the “bunker” ponds, as they are called, seeing gulls, some Forster’s terns and a single Black Skimmer.

After about three hours we left this area and headed towards our hotel, the Ocean View, in Wildwood Crest NJ. After dropping off our stuff and taking a short break we again boarded the van, this time headed towards the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor. At this venue the birding was much better. We saw: Tri-colored Heron (6), Little Blue Heron (mature and immature), over 30 Snowy Egrets, Greater Yellowlegs and Willets. We heard three Clapper Rails but unfortunately saw none of them. Also present were 11 Yellow-crowned Night herons. A few warblers were in the parking lot so we added Pine and Black-throated Blue to our list of birds. I am liking this venue more and more as they have an excellent metal boardwalk that extends into the salt marsh for close viewing. As the sun started to set we left the Institute and drove about 5 miles to Nummy Island and the fly-out of the Black-crowned Night Herons. We got there just at the right time and recorded over 20 herons leaving the daytime roost and going into the bays for nighttime feeding. A very nice and memorable sight. We left this spot and went to dinner at the Crab House in Wildwood. The food was very good and there was no wait.

The next morning we were on the beach at 6:30am for sunrise over the ocean. The sunrise was very beautiful with mixed colors of red, pink and gray. The clouds and dampness of the previous day were replaced by a drop of 20 degrees in temperature. On the beach were a few hundred Sanderlings. Within these flocks were two Black-bellied Plovers and three Semipalmated Plovers. A Peregrine Falcon was hunting the flock and picked off a sanderling fairly close to us. Also present were three Lesser Black-backed gulls. We checked out of the hotel and headed for our nearby breakfast place. At 8:30 we were on our way to the warbler platform at Higbee Beach. Land bird migration seemed slow but we did record: Magnolia and Parula Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatch plus a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings. We walked the fields at Higbee. Bald Eagles and Ospreys flew overhead, as well as Turkey Vultures, Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk. After about an hour and a half we left Higbee and went to CMBO (Cape May Bird Observatory) visitor center/nature store. They have feeders and water sprays. At their feeders we got good looks at a Carolina Chickadee. We even went to the “magic tree” that had good birds in the past years but today…nothing. I think that this tree needs to be visited by a few Sapsuckers first to make to juices flow and the magic to begin. No Sapsuckers yet this year. One of the highlights of the entire trip happened right outside of the CMBO building. Someone saw an American Bittern fly right in to perch in a tree and everyone on our group got excellent views of the bird. It was a “lifer” for many.

We left the CMBO and traveled back to the hawk platform. The hawk watching was better today. We recorded: Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, American Kestrel, and a high but clearly visible Broad-winged Hawk. Bald Eagles and Ospreys were again very numerous. There were many highlights but what stuck out more than anything was the big numbers of Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Two examples of constructive and effective conservation. Of all the raptors seen on the trip I would say that Ospreys were the most common followed by Bald Eagles. We left the platform and walked the “red” trail through the woods. Not many birds but we did see some nice butterflies. There were: Monarchs, Cloudless Sulfurs and Buckeyes. We left Cape May Point SP, picked up some sandwiches and headed towards our last venue, Jakes Landing. This venue could be great for sparrows as well as hawks. We did see two Northern Harriers but nixed on the marsh sparrows which were supposed to be there. We recorded one more bird. While waiting for the marsh sparrows we heard a Marsh Wren. Finally the bird appeared and most of us got very good looks. It started to get late so I set the Tom-Tom for NYC. With one stop along the way we were back at 23rd St at 6:30pm. It was a good trip with many good birds and the making of new birding friends.



75 SPECIES SEEN

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
American Bittern
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Mallard
American Black Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
American Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Sanderling
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Laughing Gull
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Tree Swallow
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Marsh Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Carolina Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
European Starling
Red-eyed Vireo
Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Cardinal
Boat-tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole



Species seen - 75