Monday, 29 September 2014

Out and about

Today we headed north of the Cape May canal for about an hour to a large wetland site called Brigantine. The main part of the site is an 8 mile wildlife drive around some coastal lagoons and saltmarsh. The site is best know for its large numbers of wintering snow geese and ducks but it was still pretty good today.

To find clapper rail I was told to check the saltmarsh creeks at low tide and you will find one. Well, the first creek checked and there was a juv rail feeding along the edge :-)
The other target for the day was to try and add some more sparrows to the list. Unlike at home, there are more than two species and they all seem to be a nightmare to ID in my eyes. I thought I did pretty well getting savannah, swamp, chipping and seaside especially as the all look the same!!

The main part of the drive is around 700 acres of tidal lagoons and reedbeds. Jammed in on a flying American bittern on the way out but it was the sheer numbers of egrets, herons, cormorants and terns that were amazing. As the tide came up, water floods into the lagoons bringing in fish. The egrets (100 great at least) were feeding around the edges while the cormorants were feeding in tight groups with forsters terns diving amongst them. It was difficult to estimate but there was easily 500 double crested cormorants on the site.

Duck numbers were not great yet but we had over 200 black duck, 150 pintail, 70 teal, 6 lesser scaup and a single hooded merganser. On the freshwater pools on the edge of the site we had 15 wood ducks including several gaudy drakes.

11 new species were added to the trip list from the site taking it on to 162.

Pic 1-7 views over Brigantine lagoons and saltmarsh including the skyline of Atlantic City in the distance
Pic 8 roosting Caspian and Forsters terns
Pic 9-10 greater yellowlegs
Pic 11 record shot of a brown thrasher
Pic 12 juv sora

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