Cape May Update

Let me tell ya', folks, the weather has not been optimal for birding. I've gotten to sleep in for 2 days in a row. It rained most of the day Friday and Saturday looked to be about the same. And it wasn't just rain, it was wind driven rain that aims to hit your in the face and soak into all clothing. I am such a fair weather birder. I'll bird in the desert. I'll bird in the snow. Heck, I'll bird in ice, but wind driven rain is about as exciting to me as having plaque scraped off my teeth. But, at some point this afternoon, the rain stopped and the sun poked out from behind the clouds. I've been helping out at the birdJam booth and when things started to clear, I headed over to visit Clay Taylor at the Swarovski booth. We looked at the light outside and he said, "As soon as it's five, we're heading to Hawk Watch, wanna come?"


So, I grabbed Jay at birdJam when it was time to close and we headed out. It was clear a few others had the same plan, Born Again Birdwatcher and Jim Danzenbaker from KOWA were also at the platform. We had been pent up in a hot birding destination and needed to watch birds and do a little digiscoping.

I was never so happy to see an American wigeon in my life! Birds! Whoot! The temps were in the sixties, there was a breeze, you could hear the ocean crashing in waves in the distance at watch birds from the platform.

And there, as if on cue was a northern mockingbird, sitting in perfect sun on a bush, about level with the Hawk Watch Platform--which I first called a shrike and Clay corrected, "You northerners aren't used to these! That's a mockingbird." I didn't care, it was a bird, it was there, I wasn't being pelted by rain or abused by wind--it was delightful.

There were quite a few sparrows lurking in the shrubs, the most abundant being the robust white-crowned sparrows (above) mixed in with song, swamp, and house sparrows.

Here is a younger white-crowned sparrow, note how the crown is a little different on the younger birds.

It was getting almost too dark to digiscope when Clay shouted, "Dickcissel!" Not a common bird for Cape May, but a welcome surprise. Oh, and if Mike from 10,000 Birds is wondering, I did get those lifer brants today, while scanning the ocean, three flew into view of the scope.

And as if word had been spreading to the lagomorph community, a got a feral bunny disapproval East Coast style while birding at the platform. Oh! The best review of Disapproving Rabbits can be found over at Julie's blog.

Sunday is supposed to be awesome birding conditions, so I'm hoping to have some exciting stuff for tomorrow.