Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
Date: Sept. 21-22, 2019
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: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawk, both Black and Turkey Vultures, Merlin, Kestrel and Bald Eagle. Seeing a Bald Eagle chase an Osprey for the fish that the Osprey was holding was probably the highlight. The ponds in front of the platform had both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. After about one and a half hours on the platform we walked around the four ponds just north of the platform. There were two highlights on our walk. On the ocean we saw a Brown Pelican. First time ever for NYC Audubon group. The other highlight was the small flock of warblers that held both Blackburnian and Black-throated Blue warblers. After a total of three hours in this area we headed towards our hotel, the Wildwood Inn, in Wildwood NJ. Just before getting to the hotel we made a stop at the marshes next to the Crab House restaurant. They only held Greater Yellowlegs and a few Boat-tailed Grackles. 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 lighter than in past years yet we saw: Clapper Rails (3), Night Herons and a flyby Tricolored Heron. At sunset we left this spot and headed towards dinner at the Crab House. The wait was only about 15 minutes, we had a very nice dinner and then headed back towards our hotel.
On Sunday we met on the beach in front of the hotel at 6:30. The sunrise over the ocean was very beautiful. There were many gulls present and probably 20 Royal Tern flybys. About 50 Sanderlings were present. After 45 minutes we packed up our stuff and headed towards our breakfast place in Wildwood. After breakfast we were on our way to the warbler platform at Higbee Beach. Land birding was very slow. Some 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 but the only bird present was a Carolina Chickadee.
We left the CMBO and traveled back to the hawk platform. The hawk watching was not as good as yesterday probably because of warmer conditions. We walked the "red" trail through the woods. Best sighting on this trail was a cooperative male Wood Duck. Besides birds we saw many species of butterflies on the trip. Seen very well were: Monarchs, Cloudless Sulfurs, Buckeyes, Hairstreaks and Red Admirals. In all we recorded 55 bird species seen by most members of our group and about 10 butterfly species. We left this area, picked up sandwiches at a nearby WAWA and headed towards our last stop, Jakes Landing.
At Jakes landing the birding was generally slow but we did pick up two nice sparrow species. One was a Seaside Sparrow, a lifer for almost everyone, and a few Savannah Sparrows. About 3pm we got into the van, set the Tom-Tom for NYC and after one stop along the way arrived back at 23rd St about 6:45.
It was a great trip with many good birds and the making of new birding friends.
55 SPECIES SEEN
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Species seen - 58