NYC Audubon

    
SOFO

    
Brooklyn Bird Club

    
BBG

     Long Pond Greenbelt
Date:  Sept. 22-23, 2018

Location:  Cape May Birding Trip

Reported by: Joe Giunta

Our group of 10 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. From the hawk platform we saw: Merlin, Kestrel, Osprey, both Vultures, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks. The ponds in front of the platform had many egrets especially immature Little Blue Herons. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds entertained us as they came to a feeder just in front of us. After about one and a half hours on the platform we walked around the four ponds just north of the platform. Overhead we saw very well an immature Bald Eagle. After a total of three hours in this area we headed towards our hotel, the Ocean View, in Wildwood Crest. Just before getting to the hotel we made a stop at the marshes next to the Crab House restaurant. They contained both Semipalmated Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Also present were some Greater Yellowlegs. We got to the hotel checked in and took a short break. At about 5:30 we were back in the van and headed towards the Wetland’s Institute in Stone Harbor. The birding was good and we saw: Willets (mostly western), Yellowlegs, Dowitchers, many egrets, Night Herons and two flyby Tricolored Herons. A Clapper Rail was heard but not seen. At sunset we left this spot and headed towards dinner at the Crab House. The wait was only about 10 minutes, we had a very nice dinner and then headed back towards our hotel.

For Sunday I had planned to meet on the beach in front of the hotel at 6:30 but the weather did not permit this. It was raining. Instead we packed up our stuff and headed towards our breakfast place in Wildwood. The rain was steady at times and stopped at times. It made the trip somewhat challenging. After breakfast we were on our way to the warbler platform at Higbee Beach and for now the rain stopped. Land bird migration fair and we did record: American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, many Indigo Buntings. We had excellent looks at female Blackpoll Warbler and we studied all the field marks. Many warblers just flew over us without stopping and made for impossible identification, but we did get a taste of migration at Cape May. We stayed in this area for about one hour. We left Higbee and went to CMBO (Cape May Bird Observatory) visitor center/nature store. They have feeders and water sprays. They have a short trail in their backyard which made for good birding. We saw a beautiful Black-throated Blue male below eyelevel. Also present were some common woodpeckers. We saw: Downy, Red-bellied and Flicker. We went to the “magic tree” that had good birds in the past years. The area contained some warblers and a Green Heron. We had the best ID challenge of the entire trip by seeing, extremely well, a first year Cape May Warbler.

We left the CMBO and traveled back to the hawk platform. The hawk watching was not as good as yesterday probably because of the wet conditions. Again it stopped raining and so we walked the “red” trail through the woods. Because of the rainy conditions I now changed the trip. We were going to Forsythe NWR (known as Brigantine) and skipping Jakes Landing and other spots where we would be exposed to the rainy weather. At Brigantine we drove the 8 mile loop and we could do the birding from the van. We saw many birds. Some of the highlights were the many Black Skimmers, Forster’s Terns, and tremendous numbers of Laughing Gulls and Cormorants. We had excellent looks at Northern Harrier. The last bird seen was a Wood Duck. We left this park and with one stop along the way we were back at 23rd St at 7:30pm. In all we recorded 65 species seen by most members of our group. It was a great trip with many good birds and the making of new birding friends.



65 SPECIES SEEN

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Tricolored Heron
Little Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Blue-winged Teal
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
American Oystercatcher
Semipalmated Plover
Short-billed Dowitcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Blue Jay
European Starling
Northern Parula
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Boat-tailed Grackle
Common Grackle
House Sparrow





Species seen - 58