Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
Date: Sept. 23-24, 2017
Location: Cape May Birding Trip
Reported by: Joe Giunta
Our group of 9 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 good and there were many hawks. Half our group was not even out of the van and hawks were being seen overhead. We went over to the hawk platform and stayed there for about an hour and a half. We did get to see and compare a Cooper’s Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk. Overhead we also saw a few Ospreys and four Bald Eagles, some mature and the others immature. The most common hawk was the American Kestrel. We saw about 20 of them. We walked the “bunker” ponds seeing a few water birds and land birds. We picked up: Great Blue Heron, Pied-billed Grebe and Savannah Sparrow.
After about three hours we left this area and headed towards Ocean Drive at Three Mile landing. Here we saw: Greater Yellowlegs and Boat-tailed Grackle. Next we headed towards our hotel, the Red Roof Inn, in Rio Grande 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 also good. We saw: Tri-colored Heron (2), Little Blue Heron (3), Snowy Egrets, both Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. We heard and then saw a very nice Clapper Rail I am liking this venue more and more as they have an excellent metal boardwalk that extends into the salt marsh for close viewing. We left this spot and went to dinner at the Crab House in Wildwood. We had a wait of about 20 minutes. The food was very good and was worth the wait.
The next morning we were up and out at 7am. We had breakfast in Wildwood. After breakfast we were on our way to the warbler platform at Higbee Beach. Land bird migration seemed slow but we did record: American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo, Carolina Chickadee and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. We walked the fields at Higbee. Overhead, as well as Turkey Vultures, we saw 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 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. We did see a kettle of three Broad-winged Hawks overhead.
We left the CMBO and traveled back to the hawk platform. The hawk watching was not as good as the winds changed and brought in 80+ degree temperatures. We recorded: Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, and American Kestrel, 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. A Northern Bobwhite ran across the trail but was only seen by a couple of us. 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. There was one Savannah Sparrow. 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 7pm. It was a good trip with many good birds and the making of new birding friends.
58 SPECIES SEEN
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Black-backed Gull
Species seen - 58