A Barnacle Goose was present on Stevens Street in West Cape May.  It was on the lawn of the new winery amongst about 150 or more Canada Geese.  It was present on Saturday, Feb 17.  No geese were present in that field on Sunday Feb 18 at about 11 a.m.

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Duck numbers and species have increased nicely on Lily Lake in Cape May Point during the past few days.  Good numbers of Hooded Mergansers were the highlight yesterday along with a couple Pied-billed Grebes.  The male mergs were showing their crests quite nicely.  With the warm weather thay probably think nesting season is almost upon them.  Also present in decent numbers were Gadwall, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck and a couple of the other regular species.

2 Brown Pelicans were observed today over the beach flying north along the Cape May Boardwalk-Beachfront!  December 28 is somewhat late for pelicans, but the mild weather ...

There was a nice gannet migration at the Cape May beach front this morning.  Hundreds of gannets moving down the coast, not far offshore.  It was a "run and gun" migration for them with individual or sometimes two birds stopping briefly to dive at fish before quickly moving on.  They may have  been on herring, judging from the speed they were moving.  There were also quite a few first year birds mixed in, suggesting that there are plenty more birds to come.  So, migration continues and may never end this year if temperatures stay the way they are.

Just thought birders would like to know that Clay and Pat Sutton's new book, "Birds and Birding at Cape May" published by Stackpole Books, is now available for order on line.  You can find it at www.stackpolebooks.com.

At last!

This book promises to be the most complete and up to date account of where to go, what to see, and how to find birds in the Cape May Area. 

Just in time for a Holiday Gift!!!!

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

A nice assemblage of winter birds was present in the fog near the end of the Coast Guard jetty (Wildwood side) this afternoon:  25 Bonaparte's Gulls, Common Loon, about 8 Long-tailed Ducks, Bufflehead, Brant, Black Scoter, couple dozen Purple Sandpipers, a lone cormorant (Great??? - couldn't see it well enough in the fog) and a Common Eider.

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(1 replies, posted in Fishing and Boating)

If last winter is any indication, the 18 hour trips on the Atlantic Star - Starlight fleet were great.  Lots of big sea bass, mixed with smaller catches of blackfish, cod, and pollock.  Participants were raving about their  catches.  If you go to the Wildwood Charter boat page on Cape May Times Fishing pages, then click on the Starlight fleet you will find the fishing report section.  Photos and reports from last December are there.  It's a long ride, but it has been worthwhile.

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(9 replies, posted in Fishing and Boating)

To add to Cape May Ray's  sound advice to striper1 about weakfish, in addition to worms you might try grass shrimp if you can get them (which means catching them).  They also work as chum and are especially good at night.  Couple of pinches every few minutes into the current can get the weakies at your feet.  Put a couple of them on a small hook, suspended 1-3 feet below your bobber and drift that a few feet into the slick.

The warm weather (until the last couple of days) has helped keep some orioles in Cape May.  Three or 4 have been seen along Seagrove Ave in Cape May Point - at a feeder, and 2 more have been seen on Foster just off New England, near the Canal.  This is more than we usually have, which may be a result of our very warm weather this fall. 

A couple of Brown Creepers have been around our yard, probing for insects on our maples and cedars.  Any one else noticed more creepers than usual this fall?

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Seems that there are more and more Black Vultures in NJ each winter.  15 years ago it was a great sighting to see 2 or 3 at a roost.  This evening at 4 pm, about 30 Black Vultures and another 15 or so Turkey Vultures headed to roost near the end of Bayshore Road near the Canal, although they may have crossed the canal.  There may have been more of them on their way...  With the warming climate, this more southerly species seems to be doing quite well in Jersey.

Anyone else know of other Black Vulture roosts in South Jersey?  If so, how many birds and where?

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(1 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

There used to be a 5,000 to 10,000 crow roost at the cemetery adjacent to the DEP building in Trenton.  They made a heck of a mess.  Feces were literally eating away at historic tombstones.  Don't know if it is still being used?  They ate at the landfills near the river and returned to roost at night.

Dadtown - South Jersey doesn't have Rocky Mountain type hikes, but there are some great places to walk and hike.  There are trails at Higbee Beach that can provide a 3 mile hike, much of it in sand along the Delaware Bay, as well as forests and fields.  The views are great and there won't be many people - if any.  Birding can be great as well.  If you go to the home page of Cape May Times and then click on Nature you will find a section on beach walks that includes several locales.  You can type in the following and get to the Higbee Beach walk

http://www.capemaytimes.com/nature/beach-higbee.htm

You might also try walking the Cove - from Cape May to the Point, and then onward around the Point - or through the trails in the Cape May Point State Park. 

You should find those hikes fun and walking on sand is great exercise.

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

An immature goshawk blasted across Shunpike today in mid-afternoon.  It was heading toward the Point, although it was flying contour and may simply have been hunting.

An avalanche of sparrows (white-throats, etc.), robins, hermit thrushes, phoebes, etc., including some creepers occurred over the past three days.  Someone told me that hundreds of thousands of robins were likely passing through Cape May in just two days.  A steady flow was observed moving at dusk near the end of Bayshore Road near the canal.  What was different was the fact that the sparrows were moving almost due west and some were moving northwest toward the Higbee area, whereas the robins were moving southwest!  The sparrows reminded me of morning flight, except that they were moving at dusk!  The direction of flight was similar to that of morning flight of warblers etc., but it was lower - many birds weren't even above the canopy.  Any thoughts on that?  The robins were doing their typical evening flight.

The abundance of sparrows and other small birds has not gone unnoticed by predators.  In the past two days, sharp-shins and Cooper's hawks have really been successful at grabbing small birds.  We've seen three successful acts of predation - birds being carried off by predators, which is a higher rate than usual.

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(2 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Many people saw a Snowy Owl on the beach near the Montreal Inn today, after which it flew to a rooftop house on the other side of Beach Ave (2 pm).  Great views and the sun was in the right place.  It is a first year (immature) male, which is what we see most often down here, it it was very alert.

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(6 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Woodcock are here year round, they're just easier to see during winter when they gather along Sunset Blvd.

PK

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Nice flock of Horned Larks (about 35 - small by midwestern standards but nice for Cape May) showed up today at the Beanery near Rae Farm market.  Seems that stuff is moving around now with this cold weather.  Nearly a dozen woodcock along Sunset, so they are surviving, at least so far.

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(6 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

As Mark said, woodcock have been gathering along Sunset Blvd and it may be their last days on earth.  While looking at 3 of them, Jane and I noticed that one had bars on its side and it turned into a snipe.  Best comparison of the species I've ever seen - almost side by side.

A Red-tailed Hawk was sitting in a tree over this strip yesterday, looking for an easy meal.

PK

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(4 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Anyone else noted an uptick of different birds locally.  In the past two days I've seen 3 Goldeneye off the 2nd ave jetty (which I rarely see out there), abcde and immature Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks at my feeders, and 2 abcde male harriers along New England Road.  Perhaps these birds are on the move because of the brutal weather lately.  Both harriers were headed for the Point, almost like fall migration.  The Coops and Sharpies have been more interested in the feeder birds.  Brrrr...

PK

The sand infauna that beach birds feed upon generally recolonizes quickly.  I imagine it depends on when the sand moving stops and whether there will be time for recolonization.  Any reduction might impact plovers, but terns would not likely be impacted (because they eat fish).  The erosion of beach has really impacted plovers and terns along the shore, as well as skimmers in other places, so the long-term survival of these birds likely is enhanced by the beach building (if the beach stays).  While I'm not a fan of spending lots of money on beach replenishment, the alternatives are uglier - we'd lose the terns and plovers off South Cape May and we might lose the Park and the Nature Conservancy lands as well.  Do we have a choice?

The sand moving is likely to positively impact birds, especially nesting Least Terns and Piping Plovers.  Those species nest along the strip between the Park and Cape May beachfront.  Their nesting areas had pretty much washed away over the years and they will now have more beach to nest on.

Birders are enjoying a Painted Bunting at feeders on Weeks Landing Road, west of Seashore Road in Lower Township/Erma section.  It comes to the feeder for a minute or two, then disappears into the brush for a while before returning.  Great bird for this time of year (or any time for that matter).

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(2 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

At dusk, Oct 14, at the CMP State Park beach, I had a plover the size of a black-belly, but it definitely didn't have black axillaries.  The bird was basically monochromatic, being a dusky brown over much of its body.  The bird was only slightly smaller looking than a black-belly, and it was leaner looking (more gracile).  I saw it at 35 feet, but it was misting and the light was flat.  It appeared to  be a golden plover.  It was the only shorebird on the beach.

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(0 replies, posted in Birding and Nature)

Two Parasitic Jaegers were within 150 meters of the 2nd Ave Jetty in Cape May this morning.  More were present farther out in the incredibly dense flocks of feeding birds in the rips.

The afternoon of Oct 11 the low tide behind Stone Harbor revealed large numbers of shorebirds.  Of particular note were 3 Marbled Godwit (2 behind Stone Harbor Point and 1 on the marsh on the other side of the free bridge.  Nearly 375 oystercatchers were found in two groups in these places, along with thousands of dunlin and blackbellies.  A few Peregrines harassed these flocks.