Photo Walk - Saturday, January 22, 2010

[Long-tailed Duck, photo by Mike Hannisian.]

Mike Hannisian reports:

This week's Saturday Photo Walk at Cape May Point SP took place in cold but near windless conditions. We started in the cedars along the Red Trail where we played hide-and-seek with a feeding male American Robin. As we continued along the Blue Trail, there were multiple pairs of Mute Swans, the only waterfowl we saw that were not fly overs, sitting on the ice as if it were a warm mattress. We returned via the beach in hopes of finding Snow Buntings, but without success. However, the beach always provides views of the Lighthouse which change day to day as well as season to season. All in all, a very pleasant walk.

Photo Walk - Cape May Point State Park - Saturday, January 18, 2011

[Photo by Mike Hannisian.]
Mike Hannisian reports:

Drawn by the geese, our small group headed to Lily Lake. Along the way, we found our first of a number of American Woodcock with their bills tucked sunning themselves. By this time, the Canadas were leaving Lily Lake to feed for the day. This afforded us a very nice opportunity to shoot them in flight. It also allowed us a chance to discuss and explore adjusting exposure for dark subjects in flight against a much lighter sky.

Winter Specialties Workshop - Sat-Sun, January 15-16 2011

It's fair to say that our Winter Specialties two-day workshop started a little slowly, but it certainly built up to a fine finale! Our pre-determined start point was a frozen-up Cape May Point State Park which, though it had a nice selection of sparrows tucked away, was not going to help us with our duck identification, so we quickly moved on elsewhere. Beach replenishment work at St Peter's allowed us to work our way through the four regular gull species to be found here in winter, from a chunky first-winter Great Black-back right down to the dainty Bonaparte's Gulls picking surface food from the water. A feeding American Woodcock allowed us to watch from no more than 20 feet away - a real treat in broad daylight! - before we headed out to the ponds at Two-mile Beach, where open water ensured that we enjoyed the duck species that we had hoped for at the state park.

We rounded off our first morning with a little bit of a twitch, to see an unexpected Grasshopper Sparrow that had been found by Jim Dowdell that morning. With the help of Karl Lukens who was also looking for the bird, we did manage to get a look at it - though in typical Grasshopper Sparrow fashion, it didn't hang around as long as we would have liked. After a warming-up session at our Center for Research & Education at Goshen and a slide show to learn more about identifying those trickier wintering ducks, sparrows and shorebirds, we finished our first day at Jake's Landing, where we found at least 12 Northern Harriers and three Red-tailed Hawks hunting the marshes.

Day 2 started on the coast with a walk around Stone Harbor Point. Two flocks of Snow Buntings entertained us and plenty of Sanderling and Dunlin were around for comparison. The biggest highlight of the weekend came next, as we spent time watching the fabulous seaduck festival at Avalon. Rafts of Black and Surf Scoters were busy feeding and chasing around, their almost haunting whistles filling the air. Long-tailed Ducks, Common Eider, a super male Harlequin Duck and a female Greater Scaup were among them and we also enjoyed Red-throated and Common Loons and a close Horned Grebe. It really was pretty spectacular!

Finally, at Tuckahoe WMA, we drove slowly through a mostly frozen landscape, lit up by a cloudless blue sky and found 32 Tundra Swans, plenty of Northern Pintail, two Wood Ducks (a nice surprise) American Tree and Swamp Sparrows, a male Ring-necked Pheasant just three feet from the car and a glorious adult Bald Eagle.

Many thanks go to all members of the group who made this a really enjoyable week-end of birding. A full list of species seen by us during the two days follows:

Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
American Oystercatcher
Ruddy Turnstone
Purple Sandpiper
American Woodcock
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
American Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Feral Rock Dove
American Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Snow Bunting
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Cape May Point - Saturday, January 15 2011

Karl Lukens et. al report:

Location: Cape May Point
Observation date: 1/15/11
Notes: CMBO Cape May Point Walk-KL,K&RH,SW,+1.Clr,28°,S15. A cold, brisk morning with hundreds of Canada Geese on, and leaving Lily Lake after a night's roost there. Also a group of Gadwall and 3 each Ruddy and American Wigeon. Feeders good for sparrows, Juncos, cardinals, etc. Highlight was a Lincoln's Sparrow at grassy area near entrance parking lot.
Number of species: 44

Canada Goose 500
Gadwall 15
American Wigeon 3
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 15
Green-winged Teal 1
Black Scoter 35
Ruddy Duck 3
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Turkey Vulture 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 heard
Ruddy Turnstone 2
Purple Sandpiper 1
American Woodcock 1
Bonaparte's Gull 6
Ring-billed Gull 20
Herring Gull 20
Rock Pigeon 3
Mourning Dove 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 4
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin 25
Northern Mockingbird 3
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 15
Savannah Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 6
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 10
Northern Cardinal 8
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Common Grackle 100
Brown-headed Cowbird 50
House Finch 6
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 5

Cohansey River - Sunday, January 9, 2010

Not actually a field trip, this list is posted to reveal some of the marvelous birding opportunities in this area. - DF

Location: Cohansey eagle survey area
Observation date: 1/9/11
Notes: Bald Eagle Survey. With R. Freiday. 50 miles, 6.5 hours. clear, 20's, wind nw 15-25 with higher gusts, 4-5 inches snow on ground from yesterday.
Number of species: 56

Snow Goose 5000 Observed EAME's feeding amongst to get access to bare ground
Canada Goose 500
Mute Swan 2
American Black Duck 35
Mallard 20
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 2
Ring-necked Duck 10
Bufflehead 5
Common Merganser 20
Ruddy Duck 15
Great Blue Heron 1
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 15
Bald Eagle 23 5 juv, 3 wb1, 1 wb2, 11 adult, 3 unknown
Northern Harrier 11
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 12
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 150
Great Black-backed Gull 20
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 50
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 4
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 20
Fish Crow 40
Horned Lark 30
Carolina Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 8
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 2
Winter Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
Eastern Bluebird 25
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 100
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 50
Eastern Towhee 1
Fox Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 30
White-throated Sparrow 500
Dark-eyed Junco 50
Northern Cardinal 20
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Eastern Meadowlark 30
Rusty Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 20
Brown-headed Cowbird 75
House Finch 20
American Goldfinch 2

Cape May Point - Saturday, January 8, 2010

Location: Cape May Point

Observation date: 1/8/11
Notes: CMBO Cape May Point Walk.-KL,RH,SW,+1.SNOW,29°,NNE8.
Snowy morning where the best action was at feeders and on and around Lake Lily.
One White-winged Scoter by St. Mary's jetty.

Number of species: 28

Canada Goose 200
Mute Swan 5
Mallard 60
Northern Shoveler 1
White-winged Scoter 1
Black Scoter 4
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 15
Rock Pigeon 12
Mourning Dove 8
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 6
Carolina Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 2
American Robin 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 10
Eastern Towhee 1 heard
Fox Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Northern Cardinal 15
Red-winged Blackbird 5
American Goldfinch 4
House Sparrow 5

Photo Walk - Saturday, January 8, 2010

Mike Hannisian reports:

During the hour before the walk began, the snow started, and continued through the walk. Wildlife was hard to come by, although we did photograph a Muskrat. Nonetheless, we had a good, productive trip as we were able to shoot something that is not always common in Cape May: snow scapes and patterns. I particularly like the images we made of the red Pyracantha berries in snow, the Phragmites seed head covered with snow, and the always appealing lighthouse.

The small group lent itself to a tutorial context and we were able to work on how to adjust exposures in snow conditions, composition beyond the Rule of Thirds, and how to work a subject to avoid background problems.

Kick Off Your Year List in Cape May - Saturday, January 1, 2011

A great day was had by all - 20 participants plus leaders Don Freiday, Warren Cairo, Beth Ciuzio, Janet Crawford, Kathy and Roger Horn, Karl Lukens, Tom Parsons, Virginia Rettig, Chuck and MJ Slugg, and Steve Weis. Total for our 4th annual New Year's Day field trip was 76 species.

Location: Cape Island - south of canal
Observation date: 1/1/11
Notes: CMBO Kick Off Your Year list field trip. partly cloudy, sw 5-10 mph, 40-50 degrees.
Number of species: 54

Snow Goose 7 flyovers crossing bay heading north
Canada Goose 5
Mute Swan 3
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 25
Black Scoter 2
Hooded Merganser 10
Ruddy Duck 2
Red-throated Loon 1
Black Vulture 1 part of group only
Turkey Vulture 3
Northern Harrier 1
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 adult perched over lighthouse pond
Red-tailed Hawk 3
American Coot 1
Killdeer 1
Ruddy Turnstone 3
Purple Sandpiper 1
American Woodcock 2 CM Pt. yard
Bonaparte's Gull 10
Ring-billed Gull 20
Herring Gull 75
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Rock Pigeon 15
Mourning Dove 15
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 15
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 heard leader only
Eastern Bluebird 3 heard leader only
American Robin 50
Northern Mockingbird 8
European Starling 50
American Pipit 2
Cedar Waxwing 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Fox Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 10
White-throated Sparrow 15
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Common Grackle 100
Purple Finch 5
House Finch 20
American Goldfinch 3
House Sparrow 20

Location: Stone Harbor Point
Observation date: 1/1/11
Notes: CMBO Kick Off Your Year List field trip.
Number of species: 22

American Black Duck 2
Surf Scoter 15
Black Scoter 10
Long-tailed Duck 5
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Common Loon 2
Horned Grebe 1
Ruddy Turnstone 2
Sanderling 10
Purple Sandpiper 3
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 25
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Rock Pigeon 3
Mourning Dove 5
American Crow 2
Carolina Wren 2
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 10
Song Sparrow 4
Snow Bunting 50
House Finch 3

Location: Nummy Island
Observation date: 1/1/11
Notes: CMBO Kick Off Your Year List Field Trip
Number of species: 27

Brant (Atlantic) 200
American Black Duck 5
Long-tailed Duck 5
Bufflehead 7
Red-breasted Merganser 15
Common Loon 5
Horned Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Black-bellied Plover 20
American Oystercatcher 15
Willet (Western) 5
Marbled Godwit 8
Ruddy Turnstone 2
Western Sandpiper 2
Dunlin 300
Ring-billed Gull 5
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 2
Carolina Wren 2
Song Sparrow 5
House Finch 5

Location: Jake's Landing
Observation date: 1/1/11
Notes: CMBO Kick Off Your Year List Field Trip
Number of species: 15

American Black Duck 5
Hooded Merganser 5
Great Blue Heron 1
Bald Eagle 1
Northern Harrier 4
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Dunlin 10
Herring Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 2
Great Horned Owl 1
Short-eared Owl 2
Song Sparrow 3
Red-winged Blackbird 300
Common Grackle 500
Brown-headed Cowbird 100