Saturday, April 30, 2011

Willet & Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Eastern Phoebe and Common Yellowthroat

Eastern Phoebe seen at the Stone Harbor Heronry on April 14th - a life bird for me.

Common Yellowthroat Seen April 18 at the Cape May Meadows. I had very briefly seen this bird last year at Heislerville but was really able to study it this year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at the Meadows

This is a spectacular bird. This bird was spotted in CM Meadows in April 25th. I was there during the day to see it but it was quite a distance away. That evening I decided to go back to see the bird. Walking down the path it was about 12 ft from me when I looked over by the Plover Pond. I stayed for about a 1/2hr watching it antics while catching and eating the flys. I felt blessed to be able to see it put on the show for me so I could get some picture and enjoy the beautiful coloring.

Skimmer Salt Marsh Safari

I had a fun day last week sailing on the Skimmer with my neighbors, Mike and Mindy, and their son. The weather was warm and sunny until we started back to the dock and the wind picked up a little. Had a great viewing of a Great Egret catching small fish for his lunch and then having the devil of a time getting it swallowed. Everytime he tossed it back into his mouth, it would look like he was swallowing it but out the fish would come and land back on the ground. This went on for at least 5 minutes before we sailed away. Next birds up were Laughing Gulls, Willets, American Oystercatcher, Double-crested Cormorants, a Common Loon in breeding plummage, and Osprey including a couple where LOVE was in the air! There were Great Black-backed Gulls, female Hooded Merganser Ducks, Bufflehead Ducks, Brant and other birds I have probably forgotten. Captain Ed and Captain Ginny are wonderful hosts. They are so knowledgeable about the Salt Marsh and the back bays that I learn something new each trip I take. This trip I was hoping to see some Whimbrels up close and personal but it was not to be. Of course, there will be more trips in my future.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh, the birds I saw today continued...

Decided to walk the CM meadows today. While in the paking lot I saw a kettle of birds and spotted what I thought were 2 Bald Eagles flying in tandum. Up went the bins and sure enough an adult and juvenile Bald Eagles. They didn't hang around very long at most 5 minutes and I would have enjoyed watching them much longer. (Next I saw several Common Yellow-throats quickly fly by and heard many more; some Mallard couples and some male American Coots feeding in the waters, some flyover Forster's Terns and a flyover Killdeer.

Onto the beach where I first heard the American Oystercatcher couple before seeing them feeding along the waters edge along with 2 feeding Piping Plovers along with some Laughing Gulls. How exciting (for me)to see both Bald Eagles and Piping Plovers the same day!

Then I went back onto the West Trail where 5 Osprey were practicing stopping in air to dive down for fish. They would get into postion with their feet down and then avert not going down for a fish. This went on for at least 15 minutes that I watched before one finally splashed down and came away with a prize. Finally several others got fish also. They all flew away over the trees towards Cape May so I wonder where their nests are located. There were also Snowy and Great Egrets, some Canada Geese, more Mallard couples, some Gadwall couples and a river otter.

About halfway down the path I found this bird foraging along the edge of the water. Tomorrow I will have to figure out the bird as now I must go off to bed.

Oh, the birds I saw today...

Off to Northwood Center where I walked along the road. First bird I saw was a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Then I saw a bright yellow bird that flew from the front feeder area over to the Cedars. I followed it down the road for about not knowing it was a Prothonotary Warbler until another birder came by and saw it.

Shortly after Vince mentioned what the bird was we saw an Osprey swope down into the cedars twice though I don't think he took any birds. Next I saw House Finches, Tufted Titmouse, American Robins, Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals, Grackles and Crows before walking back towards my car and going the other way where I found Palm Warbler, House Sparrows and many more Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Then it was off to the State Park for a short stop where the Purple Martins are nesting.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CMP - April 17 - Northern Gannets & Surf Scoters

Up early 7AM but didn't plan to go out birding because the winds were really blowing 20-25 MPH. I was sitting in the living room watching the Delaware Bay and noticed a large movement of Northern Gannets underway with several smaller groups of Surf Scoters. I added the Northern Gannets last week as a new life bird but didn't get any good pictures so I grabbed my camera and wallked across the street to the beach.

I spent about 10 minutes there and decided that maybe if I drove over to CMP I'd get better pictures. So off I went to the Alexander Street jetty. Boy, the winds were actually worse over at the ocean and the tide was coming in. I had much difficulty even holding the camera and gave up after about 5 minutes thinking I'd check out Sunset Beach.

Black-crowned Night Herons

From the heronry I went to the beach hoping to find some Sanderlings, Piping Plover, Dunelin and other shore birds. Checking out the beach all I found was a few Oystercatchers catching some rays along the beach. After a short time I decided to drive through SH to Nummy Island. Right now the Ocean Drive Bridge is closed hence having to go back through SH to get there. As I started by the Wetlands I saw about a dozen Black-crowned Night Herons catching rays so I quickly made a left and parked. I was getting some good pictures though the sun wasn't in the right spot until someone nearby started to cut his lawn and hit a rock. The noise flushed all of the birds.

Stone Harbor Heronry April 14 - Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Summer Tanager

After the Wetlands I planned to stop at the beach in SH but due to several traffic detours I ended up on Second Avenue driving by the Heronry. I thought why not stop here and walk arounf the perimeter to see what birds I could find. I found quite a number of birds including 4 new life birds for me - Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet & Summer Tanager and Eastern Phoebe.

Wetlands April 14 - Tree Swallows & Blackbirds

Had a busy morning reorganizing the garage with lots left to do. Then met Mike at Lowe's to pick out a new screen door for the garage addition. That done I had a quick lunch and decided I'd spend what was left of the afternooon in the Stone Harbor area birding. My first stop was at the Wetlands Institute. I saw a few Egrets, both Snowy's and Great, off to either side before walking done the path to the inland waterwater way. There were also some Brant out in the fields, the usual Blackbirds displaying, Common Grackles and Crows. Across the water there were more Brant, Osprey, Laughing Gulls and many other birds off in the distance.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Northwood Center - April 13 - Yellow-throated Warbler & Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

I decided to check Lake Lily and stop by the Northwood Center before going back home. I photographed a Yellow-throated Warbler and several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. I saw several other birds but they were moving fast among the trees and I couldn't get a good look at them let alone photograph them to bring a picture home to study.

Cape May Point - Red-throated Loons

Osprey - April 12th

The osprey are back in Cape May County. This female Osprey hangs out along Rt 147 into North Wildwood. Last summer there were 3 chicks in the nest though I didn't know about the nest until late June. The first picture is from April 12,2011. The other pictures are from June 29, 2010 and show Mom, Dad and 3 chicks.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Egrets and other birds at Reeds Beach, NJ

Reeds Beach is a great place to see birds. For the day I saw Double-crested Cormorants, Mourning Doves, several types of Sparrows, and lots of Snowy and Great Egrets. The Snowy and Great Egrets are usually at the lake on the left as you just go in towards Reeds Beach. When I was there early April the egrets were standing in the water and when I came back from the beach they were up in the trees. My tree pictures weren't that good but I counted a total of 22 Egrets mixed between the Great & the Snowys that afternoon. It was a neat sight.