Week in review: 28 February ? 6 March, 2015
CMBO is pleased to provide weekly summaries of the Cape's birding highlights. Coverage is limited to bird sightings in Cape May County. Readers should keep in mind that some reports may not be confirmed. The vast majority of information utilized in these reports comes from eBird data and "Keekeekerr" text alerts. Observers are also encouraged to send reports and photos to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).
Location Abbreviations/Explanations: CMP (town of Cape May Point); Cold Spring Inlet (entrance to Cape May Harbor, located at south end of the Wildwoods and accessed from Two Mile Beach Unit of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge); WMA (Wildlife Management Area).
Access Note: Stone Harbor Point remains CLOSED due to restoration work.
WATERFOWL THROUGH RAPTORS
Significant ice cover remained on most fresh and brackish water bodies, though the ice on Delaware Bay cleared out between 28 Feb?2 Mar. As many as 11 TUNDRA SWANS took up residence at CMP in recent days (m. ob.), a decent tally for Cape Island. Daily migration monitoring began at CMP 1 Mar. Notable totals from recent mornings included 57 LESSER SCAUP 1 Mar (GD, TR); 28 NORTHERN PINTAILS and 226 LONG-TAILED DUCKS 4 Mar (GD, TR). WOOD DUCKS are expected migrants during early-Mar, though 18 that flew north past Stone Harbor made for an excellent total 5 Mar (TB). Other noteworthy waterfowl included typically scarce species such as CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and COMMON MERGANSER at several locations through the county (m. ob.). There were no reports of HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Cold Spring Inlet this week. A noticeable influx of RED-NECKED GREBES took place along the immediate coast 1?3 Mar, punctuated by 14+ at CMP (GD, DLP, RC et al.) and 7 near Hereford Inlet (TB!
) 2 Mar. An AMERICAN BITTERN at Pond Creek Marsh was most recently encountered 28 Feb (MP et al.). A GOLDEN EAGLE, likely an active migrant, continued north from Reed's Beach 28 Feb (TR). ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK continued to be seen in above-average numbers locally. Jake's Landing hosted at least 3 through much of the period (MB et al.), while another appeared near Tuckahoe 1 Mar (JC). Just beyond our reporting area, as many as 5 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were viewed at the Corbin City portion of Tuckahoe WMA this week (DW).
SHOREBIRDS THROUGH SONGBIRDS
A 'Western' WILLET was reported at the Cape May Ferry Terminal 6 Mar (DF, KH), and a handful of RED KNOTS remained at Two Mile Beach (m. ob.). Otherwise, shorebird reports were again sparse. At least 3 BLACK-HEADED GULLS were noted along the lower Delaware Bay shoreline, with recent reports from CMP, Villas, and the Ferry Terminal (m. ob.). A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL flew past CMP 4 Mar (GD, TR); this species should become more regular during the next few weeks. Single AMERICAN KESTRELS were noticed at Cold Spring 2 Mar (KL) and near Marmora 3 Mar (DF). A snowstorm on 5 Mar produced numerous sightings of "open country" birds the following day. Among these were 25 HORNED LARKS (MO) and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR (fide Keekeekerr) at CMP, 22 HORNED LARKS at Reed's Beach (TR), and 11 SNOW BUNTINGS at North Wildwood (TB). Given how harsh the past month's weather has been, the 11 BROWN THRASHERS at Higbee Beach WMA 1 Mar are worth mentioning (DW). A VESPER SPARROW put in a brief a!
ppearance at Two Mile Beach 28 Feb (TR). The species tends to avoid Cape May during winter, most often appearing during times of snow cover and/or extreme cold.
Tom Baxter (TB), Mike Bisignano (MB), Janet Crawford (JC), Richard Crossley (RC), Glen Davis (GD), Don Freiday (DF), Kathy Horn (KH), David La Puma (DLP), Karl Lukens (KL), Michael O'Brien (MO), Mike Pasquarello (MP), Tom Reed (TR), Dustin Welch (DW).
eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application].eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org (Accessed: 6 March 2015).
Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr (Accessed: 6 March 2015).
Intellicast. 2015. WINDcast. Available: http://www.intellicast.com/National/Wind/WINDcast.aspx (Accessed: 6 March 2015).
* Birders are encouraged to submit reports of Review List Species (photos, field sketches, and/or written documentation) to the New Jersey Bird Records Committee at 'report (at) njbrc.net' or hard copy to 14 Crown Drive, Warren NJ 07059.