NW winds mean migration. Birds migrating south are pushed towards the coast and are then funneled south until they hit the Delaware Bay. This means that they stop at Cape May providing some great migration.
Today started at Higbees Wood. A series of tree fringed meadows hold migrant warblers overnight before they continue south. The sight and sound of birds leaving the trees and heading off was both spectacular and frustrating as they all sounded the same and impossible to ID!
Although many of the local birders said it was quiet it was pretty good to me. Good numbers of warblers were being seen although they were pretty hard to see in the thick woodland although we did catch up with black throated blue, black & white, magnolia, wilsons warblers along with summer tanager, parula and 6 American redstarts.
A quick look around the Meadows found 8 stilt sands, 11 lesser yellowlegs and 3 killdeer but it was evident that there was a big raptor movement especially kestrels so we headed for the Hawk Watch.
We had missed quite a lot of birds in the morning but there were still loads of raptors moving. Most obvious were the American kestrels, many of which showed incredibly well passing low over the watchpoint. Good numbers of merlins were seen too. They were very dark compared to the ones at home and were often seen catching dragonflies over the pools just like a hobby! In 2hrs we logged 99 American kestrel, 8 merlin, 14 sharp shinned hawk, 10 osprey, 2 peregrine, 9 bald eagle, 2 northern harrier, 2 red tailed hawk, 2 coopers hawk and a broad winged hawk. We found out later that the CMBO counters logged over 500 kestrels during the day!!
The final stop of the day was the tree lined streets around the CMBO centre. Feeders and drip pools attract in birds really close with the main attraction being the warblers. We had black & white and parulas drinking and bathing to a few feet!
Warblers added to the trip list included Cape May, chestnut sided, blackpoll and black thoated green. I think we will be going back there again :-)
Pics 1-3 Higbees Wood
Pics 4-5 Cape May Meadows
Pic 6 mixed flock of lesser yellowlegs and stilt sandpipers
Pic 7 CMBO centre