Topic: "Twilight Watch" at The Meadows: Bitterns & herons!

CMBO's first "Night Watch" on September 29 (6-8 p.m.) in TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge enjoyed 1 definite AMERICAN BITTERN (with the hunchbacked silouette as it circled higher and higher before heading out over the Delaware Bay with 3 other shapes that were probably also American Bitterns).

Before the sun set several flocks of high flying GREAT BLUE HERONS migrated over and one participant shared that through the night when he stepped out to listen, he heard other flocks . . . so it was probably a pretty good night for migrating Great Blues.

At full dark we heard the squawks of migrating NIGHT HERONS, probably Black-crowned Night Herons.  At least 4 different flocks went over as we stood in the dark night listening.

There is nothing quite like hearing migrants pass over.  Most of our migrants are nocturnal . . . read Paul Kerlinger's great book, "How Birds Migrate," to learn more!

See you on one of the next CMBO "Twilight Watches for Migrating Owls, Bats, Herons" (offered every Wednesday in October) at 5:30 p.m., meeting in The Nature Conservancy's "Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge" parking lot on Sunset Boulevard.

Pat Sutton,
Co-author of "How to Spot an Owl"

Re: "Twilight Watch" at The Meadows: Bitterns & herons!

It's been fun sharing nocturnal migrants with many of you on CMBO's "Twilight Watch for Migrating Owls, Bats, Herons."  With days getting shorter, this walk now begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m.  We meet in TNC's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge.

On October 13 we enjoyed an AMERICAN BITTERN (with the hunchbacked silouette as it circled higher and higher before heading out over the Delaware Bay).  A night heron joined it and we puzzled over this 2nd bird until it belted out its distinctive "squawk," the call of a Night Heron.  Several bats hunted bugs at dusk.  And it was a treat to see hundreds of Black Skimmers head out at dark to feed in the Delaware Bay.  YES, they are nocturnal.  Otherwise how would they stay alive?  All day, every day, they can be found roosting on Cape May's beachfront, either near 2nd Avenue Jetty or somewhere up towards the Convention Center.

There is nothing quite like hearing migrants pass over.  Most of our migrants are nocturnal . . . read Paul Kerlinger's great book, "How Birds Migrate," to learn more!

See you on one of the next CMBO "Twilight Watches for Migrating Owls, Bats, Herons" (offered every Wednesday in October) at 5:30 p.m., meeting in The Nature Conservancy's "Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge" parking lot on Sunset Boulevard.

Pat Sutton,
Co-author of "How to Spot an Owl"

Re: "Twilight Watch" at The Meadows: Bitterns & herons!

I'll bet you had a great program tonight, Pat!  There is an incredible heron flight happening tonight - it's 11:10 pm and I'm not even thinking about going to sleep.  There must be hundreds of Black-crowned Night-Herons and Great Blue Herons on the move tonight, maybe thousands, as their calls above Cape May have been continuous since dusk.  Also plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers calling, some White-throated Sparrows and Savannah Sparrows, and who knows what else!  I'd just take a sleeping bag outside if it weren't so damp - but I'll keep the window open and head out to the deck often to experience this incredible night of migration.