Saturday, September 20, 2014

Big Sigh of Relief

I'm finally home from California. That is one reason to be relieved. I was away for too long in Sept with 2 trips to the west coast. The other reason to be relieved is that the ENTIRE time that I was in California, there was a mega rare bird in Cape May that I was getting hourly text reports about. This is the kind of thing that puts my stomach in knots. What if the bird leaves before I get back? Aaarrrrgggghhhhh.

Good news. The bird didn't leave. I got off of the plane last night at 5 PM, spent the night at home for the first time in 9 days, then got up and left the house at 5 AM to go to Cape May. I wasn't the only one there at sunrise. There were lots of people standing on the beach - including an entire family that drove down from Connecticut just to see this bird.  There was a nerve wracking hour spent looking at the normal birds but not seeing the rare one - and then I saw it land on the beach. I pointed it out to the crowd and everyone was happy. My stomach stopped hurting. There were ooohs and aaaahs. Here it is in the center of the photo - Whiskered Tern. You are probably not impressed.

Terns - Cape May Beach
No, it doesn't have whiskers. In fact, I have more whiskers than than this tern has feathers. Not sure why they call it Whiskered. I picked it out of the crowd by its dark belly. There are actually 4 different tern species in that photo - Common, Forster's, Royal and Whikered along with a few Laughing Gulls.

The tern lifted off and there were morel oooohs and aaaaahs. It flew right at us!

Whiskered Tern
You can see the gray belly on the bird in this shot.

Whiskered Tern
This bird is REALLY off course. They breed in Europe and Asia and winter in Africa, Java and Australia. No where near Cape May. This bird is so rare that there are articles in the newspapers about it. People are making videos of the bird flying around the beach. Whew. It didn't leave. I saw it. It was lovely. Now, I can get back to the regular bird obsession!


Anonymous said...

OK, Linda. Time to take a shower and a nice long nap. Welcome home! HH

Linda said...

Update - the Whiskered Tern was NOT seen after Saturday. Whew!

Harvey said...

The tern was named Whiskered because in breeding plumage the white check reminded someone, the namer, of whiskers. Whom ever named this bird had a really creative imagination.
White-checked Tern would have worked just as well.
Also, the PEFA code for this bird is WHST which is odd because WHTE is not taken.