Northwood and Beyond - Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A merry band of folks met up at the Northwood Center – despite a frosty start to the day. Though we started with a rather quiet Lake Lily, the streets were busy with singing House Finches and Carolina Wrens, while parties of Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and European Starlings initiated all sorts of discussions about these birds. At Coral Avenue, we were greeted by the sight of a Peregrine Falcon, eating a Horned Grebe right on the beach – quite the Serengeti feel! A handful of waterbirds including courting Black Scoters and good views of Northern Gannet, Long-tailed Duck, many Red-throated Loons and a somewhat more lively Horned Grebe. A male Northern Harrier breezed over the rooftops as the local vultures rode the thermals.

Our return took us via Lighthouse Pond, where a wide array of ducks showed off their various feeding techniques, and a male Downy Woodpecker fed on the ground just a few feet away from us. The finale was provided by a boisterous party of some 40 Fish Crows that tumbled and called overhead in their pre-breeding courtship flights. Leaders:  Mike Crewe, Chris Marks, and Steve Weis.

Birding the Meadows with Pete Dunne - Monday, March 23rd, 2015

It was a very chilly morning, but we had a good variety of ducks on the ponds and along the beach. The latter had fairly close Surf and Black Scoters resting on the water, fly-by Red-breasted Mergansers, as well as Red-throated Loons, and several Horned Grebes. First of year (FOY) for many were Osprey and Blue-winged Teal. Leaders: Pete Dunne, Karl Lukens, Chuck Slugg, Janet Crawford, and Scott Whittle.
50 species

Canada Goose  20
Mute Swan  6
Wood Duck  1
Gadwall  8
American Black Duck  4
Mallard  25
Blue-winged Teal  2
Northern Shoveler  8
Green-winged Teal  12
Canvasback  2
Ring-necked Duck  30
Surf Scoter  15
Black Scoter  15
Bufflehead  6
Hooded Merganser  2
Red-breasted Merganser  4
Ruddy Duck  1
Red-throated Loon  5
Horned Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  1     FOY for many
Northern Harrier  2
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Coot  2
American Oystercatcher  3
Wilson's Snipe  5
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  5
Northern Flicker  5
Merlin  1     /p adult male eating a warbler.
American Crow  2
Fish Crow  2
Tree Swallow  2
American Robin  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  1
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Common Grackle  1
House Finch  1
House Sparrow  3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

First-of-the-year (FOY) Osprey! [Photo by Karl Lukens]

Sunday Morning at Turkey Point - Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

We saw 17 Bald Eagles, mostly immatures. We had a lot of Dunlin, Green-winged Teal and Bufflehead, along with two Common Merganser males at Maple Avenue. Also at Maple Avenue was a huge flock of Bonaparte's Gulls, who have been feeding when the tide is running. Leaders: Janet Crawford, Chris Marks, and Mary Watkins.
32 species

Snow Goose  80
Canada Goose  12
Mute Swan  3
American Black Duck  9
Green-winged Teal  250
Bufflehead  150
Common Merganser  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  8
Northern Harrier  4
Bald Eagle  17
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Greater Yellowlegs  12
Dunlin  200
Bonaparte's Gull  80     The feeding frenzy has begun. Many Bonaparte's observed when the tide is running at the Maple Avenue impoundments.
Ring-billed Gull  5
Herring Gull  35
Mourning Dove  10
Eastern Screech-Owl  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  7
Fish Crow  1
American Robin  10
Northern Mockingbird  1
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Common Grackle  1
Boat-tailed Grackle  2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Loons and Shorebirds Cruise - Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Today was the first Loons & Shorebirds Cruise on The Osprey!  It was a beautiful day for a boat trip through the back bays. Our local Osprey were not seen, but we had great looks at everything else. A Bald Eagle provided a great photo opportunity as did Common Loons, Great Cormorants and American Oystercatchers.  Leaders; Chuck & Mary Jane Slugg and Warren Cairo.
24 species

Brant  300
Canada Goose  7
American Black Duck  20
Long-tailed Duck  40
Bufflehead  150
Red-breasted Merganser  50
Common Loon  12
Horned Grebe  20
Red-necked Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  5
Great Cormorant  8
Great Egret  1
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  4
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Oystercatcher  10
Ring-billed Gull  20
Herring Gull  30
Lesser Black-backed Gull  1
Great Black-backed Gull  8
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  16
Boat-tailed Grackle  20

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Birding Cape May Point - Saturday, March 21st, 2015

While migrants are starting to trickle in - today we had Osprey and Eastern Phoebe - perhaps the birds to enjoy now are the ones that will be leaving soon, most notably the ducks. Very few ducks breed in Cape May County. Most travel far north and west of here to breed in the Prairie Pothole region of the U.S. and Canada or shallow wetland areas of the northern North American boreal forest; some travel even farther to the Arctic tundra. But now's the time to enjoy their pre-nuptial antics as they practice their displays and vocalize on our ponds and coast.  Leaders: Kathy & Roger Horn, Steve Weis, and Tom Gleason.
52 species

Canada Goose  15
Mute Swan  9
Tundra Swan  3
Gadwall  18
American Wigeon  15
Mallard  10
Northern Shoveler  18
Green-winged Teal (American)  25
Lesser Scaup  1
Surf Scoter  28
Black Scoter  12
Long-tailed Duck  12
Bufflehead  8
Red-breasted Merganser  6
Ruddy Duck  2
Red-throated Loon  2
Common Loon  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  1
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  4
Killdeer  2
Bonaparte's Gull  1
Ring-billed Gull  8
Herring Gull (American)  10
Mourning Dove  14
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  5
Carolina Chickadee  7
Tufted Titmouse  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  6
American Robin  25
Northern Mockingbird  3
European Starling  15
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  5
Song Sparrow  14
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  9
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  11
Northern Cardinal  7
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  6
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  1
House Sparrow  6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Birding the Meadows with Pete Dunne - Monday, March 16th, 2015

A cold morning with a good variety of ducks, including scoters along the beach as well as Red-throated Loons and one very close Red-necked Grebe. Leaders: Chuck Slugg, Karl Lukens, Janet Crawford, Marc & Lynne Breslow.
41 species

Canada Goose  15
Mute Swan  4
Tundra Swan  4
Gadwall  6
American Wigeon  2
American Black Duck  3
Mallard  25
Northern Shoveler  6
Green-winged Teal  4
Canvasback  1
Ring-necked Duck  26
Surf Scoter  15
Black Scoter  20
Bufflehead  10
Red-breasted Merganser  8
Ruddy Duck  1
Red-throated Loon  10
Red-necked Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  1     seen by a few
Black Vulture  1     seen by leader
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
American Coot  1
American Oystercatcher  11
Herring Gull  2
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  2
Mourning Dove  6
Northern Flicker  1
American Crow  2
Fish Crow  4
Carolina Wren  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  4
Savannah Sparrow  12
Song Sparrow  3
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  20
House Sparrow  2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Tundra Swan [Photo by Karl Lukens]

Sunday Morning at Turkey Point - Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Spring was in the air, although it was cold and windy. We had 24 Bald Eagles, including several pairs who were flying together and tumbling. The Wild Turkeys were displaying and the Red-winged Blackbirds were "conkareeing". We also had a nice selection of ducks, including Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Bufflehead and Green-winged Teal. Leaders: Janet Crawford, Chris Marks and Mary Watkins.
34 species

Snow Goose  250
Canada Goose  50
Mute Swan  3
Gadwall  32
American Black Duck  12
Mallard  6
Northern Pintail  7
Green-winged Teal  15
Ring-necked Duck  1
Bufflehead  70
Common Merganser  2
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Wild Turkey  4
Great Blue Heron  3
Turkey Vulture  4
Northern Harrier  14
Bald Eagle  24
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Clapper Rail  1
Killdeer  1
Dunlin  35
Ring-billed Gull  6
Herring Gull  20
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Mourning Dove  2
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  2
Tree Swallow  1
Tufted Titmouse  4
Carolina Wren  1
American Robin  12
Northern Mockingbird  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  50

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Winter Evenings at the Meadows - Friday, March 13th, 2015

Finally a nice, but chilly, spring evening for a walk! We had a nice variety of ducks including Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Gadwalls, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, and, on the ocean, a Long-tailed Duck. A Tricolored Heron circled over us twice and then landed to feed in the marsh. We also saw Sanderlings and Tundra Swans. We ended our walk with a Great Horned Owl land on a post about 10 feet away from us. As we reached the parking lot we had displaying Woodcock "peenting" away. Leaders: Chuck Slugg and Kathy Horn.
26 species

Canada Goose  65
Mute Swan  5
Tundra Swan  3
Gadwall  15
American
Black Duck  1
Mallard  10
Northern Shoveler  8
Green-winged Teal 20
Ring-necked Duck  10
Long-tailed Duck  1
Bufflehead  10
Hooded Merganser  1
Tricolored Heron  1     Seen clearly by both leaders; flew over twice; belly white all the way to tail; one has been seen off and on nearby
Cooper's Hawk 1
Sanderling  2
American Woodcock  5
Herring Gull  6
Great Black-backed Gull  2
Great Horned Owl  1
American Crow  1     heard only
American Robin  10  
heard only
European Starling  3
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  9
Northern
Cardinal  5     heard only
Red-winged Blackbird  10

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/nj)

Northwood and Beyond - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Despite some annoying sea fog that played havoc with visibility, our inaugural Northwood & Beyond walk turned up some interesting birds, and some interesting discussions. Despite the pea-souper, there was clearly bird movements taking place, as little trips of American Oystercatchers trickled along the tideline and frantic groups of Sanderling played Canute in the surf. Perhaps our best surprise was the first Piping Plover of the season, first found for us moments before by the ever diligent Tom Reed. And it was perhaps very fitting that, by the time we saw the bird, Chris Davis of Fish & Wildlife’s shorebird team was already on site and studying the bird. From Chris, we learned that pink markers have been put on a few birds during the winter in The Bahamas, so we encourage everyone to keep an eye out for those and report them should you find any – it will help us have a better understanding of where the various wintering grounds are for the various breeding populations.

Somewhat sadder, but still eliciting much discussion, was the discovery of a dead Red-necked Grebe and a Horned Grebe on the beach. A number of other waterbird species have been found washed up in the area in recent days and it is possible that we are seeing some of those that simply didn’t make it through the worst of the winter weather.

A great walk, with some good birds, good discussion, and good coffee afterwards. Leaders:  Mike Crewe, Chris Marks, and Catherine Busch.

Nightfall at Jake's Landing - Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Highlights included a Rough-legged Hawk, good looks at an otter, several Bald Eagles, lots of Northern Harriers and a nice selection of ducks. (Note: We moved this program from the Corbin City Impoundments due to the condition of the dikes.) Leaders: Karen Johnson, Janet Crawford, Chris Marks, and Mary Watkins.
15 species

Snow Goose  300
Gadwall  4
American Black Duck  40
Mallard  4
Northern Pintail  6
Green-winged Teal  40
Hooded Merganser  5
Northern Harrier  5
Bald Eagle  3
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Rough-legged Hawk  1     Light morph
Ring-billed Gull  4
Herring Gull  14
Great Horned Owl  2
Red-winged Blackbird  20

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Sunday Morning at Turkey Point - Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Highlights included ten Bald Eagles, including one carrying an eel, displaying Wild Turkeys, a calling Great Horned Owl, a Red-throated Loon, and a variety of ducks including Common Merganser, Green-winged Teal and Gadwall. Leaders: Karen Johnson, Janet Crawford, Chris Marks, and Mary Watkins.
29 species

Snow Goose  300
Canada Goose  35
Mute Swan  4
Gadwall  1
American Black Duck  25
Green-winged Teal  35
Bufflehead  20
Common Merganser  6
Wild Turkey  12
Turkey Vulture  8
Northern Harrier  10
Bald Eagle  10
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Ring-billed Gull  40
Herring Gull  4
Great Black-backed Gull  3
Great Horned Owl  1
Northern Flicker  3
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  6
Tufted Titmouse  1
Hermit Thrush  3
American Robin  50
Northern Mockingbird  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  8
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  35
Common Grackle  10

Newport Landing, Cumberland
3 species

American Black Duck  3
Red-throated Loon  1
Turkey Vulture  2

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Sunday Morning at Turkey Point - Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Highlights included seven Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, including two immature males molting into adult plumage, and a Red-tailed Hawk. We managed to find a few spots of open water which held nice comparisons of female Hooded Mergansers and Common Mergansers. Leaders: Janet Crawford, Chris Marks, and Michael McCabe.
24 species

Canada Goose  50
Mute Swan  5
American Black Duck  6
Mallard  2
Bufflehead  9
Hooded Merganser  6
Common Merganser  4
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Ruddy Duck  1
American Bittern  1
Northern Harrier  5
Bald Eagle  7
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Ring-billed Gull  8
Herring Gull  6
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  2
American Robin  12
Northern Mockingbird  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Song Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  20

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Winter Wednesday Wanderings - Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

There's significant snow cover and little open water in the county right now so we set out for open water views this week. The inlets on either side of Nummy Island are always good at this time of year, as are open waterways through Stone Harbor. Our car trek got us great looks at the velvety heads of Brant, Horned Grebes which seemed to be warming up to each other (!), calling overhead American Oystercatchers and many very fancy looking Red-breasted Mergansers. Common Loons are plentiful now in these waters and exhibit quite a variation in plumage. We scanned a lot of rooftops in Stone Harbor for Snowy Owls, where they do sometimes show up, but, alas, had no success there. Leader: Kathy Horn.
38 species

Brant (Atlantic)  250
Canada Goose  24
American Black Duck  24
Ring-necked Duck  4
Greater Scaup  4
Surf Scoter  2
Long-tailed Duck  1
Bufflehead  75
Hooded Merganser  38
Red-breasted Merganser  50
Common Loon  14
Horned Grebe  4
Great Blue Heron  1
Black Vulture  6
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Oystercatcher  15
Dunlin  40
Ring-billed Gull  15
Herring Gull (American)  X
Great Black-backed Gull  14
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  5
Mourning Dove  2
American Crow  6
Carolina Wren  1
American Robin  25
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  35
Fox Sparrow (Red)  3
Song Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  6
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  10
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  240
Boat-tailed Grackle  11
Brown-headed Cowbird  18
House Finch  2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Winter Wednesday Wanderings - Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Despite icy cold conditions, our regular Wednesday walk provided us with some great local birding and it was certainly interesting to see how birds were coping with the current weather. Flocks of American Robins with a few Cedar Waxwings in tow were making short work of any remaining holly berries – much to the annoyance of the local mockingbirds. Small patches of water that were ice-free on Lake Lily thanks to the bubbler system were brimming with parties of ducks, including American Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck and Bufflehead. Further round we also added a female Common Merganser to our list, but a male Canvasback that had been seen earlier in the day had sadly succumbed on the ice. A look at the bay at Coral Avenue was truly awesome – it was like being in Barrow, Alaska! Ice floes packed the water surface as far as the eye could see but we did spot a Ruddy Turnstone and a couple of Purple Sandpipers on the stone jetties. A single male Lesser Scaup was with a small gathering of ducks on Lighthouse Pond and we pondered on just how any of these birds survive the night at this time of year, as we watched two Ruby-crowned Kinglets gleaning whatever they could from a maple tree. Leader: Mike Crewe.

Bird Walk for All People - Monday, February 16th, 2015

Due to the very low temperatures and windy conditions, our President's Day walk turned into a "car-birding" trip. We toured bird feeding stations in Cape May Point, surveyed the beach and ocean at several dune crossovers, and surveyed the Northwood Center and open water on Lake Lily. Finally, we went over to the ferry park to look for gulls and shorebirds. Feeders were very active and appear to be keeping some of our wintering birds going in this snowy winter. We had good looks at White-throated and Fox Sparrows, Purple Finch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, and Red-bellied Woodpecker along with the usual winter feeder birds. The highlight of our trip was being able to watch an American Woodcock feeding close to us in front of the Northwood Center. Waterfowl were congregated in the open water on Lake Lily including Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, and American Wigeon. The ice-overed ocean and bay was quite a sight to see, and the ice floes going by with the tide looked like the Arctic in miniature. Upon our return to the Cape May Point State Park, we saw one Killdeer and an American Pipit feeding in the central, grassy area. Leaders: Chuck Slugg and Catherine Busch.

Birding Cape May Point - Saturday, February 14th, 2015

It was fairly 'birdie' for a cold winter's day on Saturday. Lake Lily still has open water around one of the bubblers so we had a good variety of ducks. A nice surprise was a flurry of birds across from Lighthouse Pond. No less than four Golden-crowned Kinglets and two Red-breasted Nuthatches were feeding in a holly tree and calling periodically. Leaders: Kathy & Roger Horn, and Steve Weis.
41 species

Mute Swan  2
Gadwall  9
American Wigeon  6
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  20
Northern Shoveler  16
Northern Pintail  1
Green-winged Teal (American)  4
Ring-necked Duck  6
Bufflehead  2
Ruddy Duck  4
Great Blue Heron  1
Ring-billed Gull  8
Herring Gull (American)  7
Mourning Dove  14
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  5
Carolina Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  1
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Carolina Wren  3
Golden-crowned Kinglet  4
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  18
Northern Mockingbird  3
European Starling  9
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  3
Song Sparrow  2
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  9
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  16
Northern Cardinal  5
Red-winged Blackbird  8
Common Grackle  5
House Finch  8
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  7
House Sparrow  14

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Winter Wednesday Wanderings - Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Wander we did today, from Avalon to Stone Harbor to a large pond outside of Cape May Court House. Most of the birds we saw were ducks and not your everyday ducks; they ranged from sea ducks to divers to dabblers. We had all three mergansers - Hooded, Red-breasted and Common - in good numbers and close. The Surf Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks were fairly close also but the waves were so rough at Avalon's 8th Street jetty, you could only get brief glimpses and, while there was an eider present, we couldn't get a good enough look to tell if it was the King Eider that's been seen there recently. We had Redheads at two locations and they're always a treat to see. Leaders: Kathy Horn & Karl Lukens.

Avalon--8th St. Jetty
9 species

Surf Scoter  55
Black Scoter  8
Long-tailed Duck  24
Red-breasted Merganser  8
Common Loon  1
Sanderling  1
Dunlin  1
Herring Gull (American)  3
Great Black-backed Gull  2

Stone Harbor, 319 81st Street
3 species

Redhead  4
Lesser Scaup  14
Horned Grebe  4

Davies Sports Complex, Cape May Court House
6 species

Redhead  4
Ring-necked Duck  60
Hooded Merganser  2
Common Merganser  3  
Turkey Vulture  1
Carolina Chickadee  1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/nj)

Avalon - 8th Street jetty [Photo by Kathy Horn]