Monday, August 31, 2009

He Wrote the Book

I am jonesing to get some good birding. Especially after reading CMBO's blog "View from the Cape" about the good birding last weekend in Cape May which included the expected shorebirds but also some warblers. Connie agreed to let me go on Sunday so Lori and Tara picked me up at 5:30 AM and off we went. Got to Higbee by 7:45 and immediately saw birds in the parking lot. I was trying to point out the Eastern Kingbirds while Lori and Tara were shouting "Black & White!", "Redstart!" "Prothonotory" - referring to warblers. I kept saying "Girls, here are 2 Kingbirds" What a jerk I turned out to be. There were 200+ Kingbirds flying around the parking lot in flocks! We didn't see much once we made our way into the fields but we did get a few good looks at Northern Watershrush ( buff eyebrow, pumping tail).

We were on our way to the Lighthouse when we saw a car pulled over along Rea's farm fields. 2 women from Seattle were looking at a Solitary Sandpiper and some plovers in the field along with another smaller peep. 3 of us were pretty convinced that the peep was Pectoral Sandpiper due to the brown color and head markings. It's funny how a car on the side of the road in Cape May attracts other birders. Another couple joined us and asked what we were looking at. We said that we thought we saw a Pectoral Sandpiper. The man took one look and immediately said it was a Least Sandpiper. He was confident. I wasn't convinced because of the brown color. Then his companion asked me if I knew who Bill Boyle was. I said no and then she told me that "He wrote the book on Bird Finding in New Jersey". Oh, and that was him who identified the Least Sandpiper. Needless to say, we all wrote Least Sandpiper on our list. I have his book at home.

Another helpful man pointed out a few Black Terns in amongst 50+ Forster's Terns on the beach at the lighthouse. Lori found a Royal Tern in that same mix too. Good spot. Another highlight of the lighthouse trail was a Bald Eagle flying over and a falcon which was almost certainly a Peregrine Falcon, but I was having a hard time keeping it view between the trees.

Speaking of Bald Eagles, we stopped at Turkey Point along Maple Ave and saw another Bald Eagle. This one swooped down and got something to eat and then took it back to it's nest. Yes, it's nest that is completely visible from the road. Awesome. We'll definitely need to check that out next year.
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