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Contact:

Roger or Margaret Higbee at
724-354-3493
bcoriole@windstream.net.

New Jersey 2013 -- Day 3

Wed, March 20, 2013, 6:45 am
Cape May County

Trip Report


Wednesday, March 20, 2013 – We left the Camelot at 6:45 this morning. It was already light. Our first destination was St. Peter’s Dune Crossing. En route we listed:

Mallard
American Robins
Mute Swans
Gadwalls
Common Grackles
European Starlings
Canada Geese
House Finches

At the crossing we spotted:

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Northern Gannets (7)
Laughing Gull (1)
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
Red-throated Loon (2)
Carolina Wren (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (1–RVH only)
Black Scoters
Surf Scoters
Sanderlings (4)

Our next stop was at Whilldin Dune Crossing where we found:

Northern Gannets (2)
Ruddy Turnstone (1)
American Crow (1)
Fish Crows (2)
Northern Cardinal (1)
Great Blue Heron (6)
American Oystercatcher (2)
Carolina Chickadee (1)

On the way to McDonald’s for breakfast we listed:

Canada Geese
Wilson’s Snipe (1)
Merlin (2)–one chasing the other until it drove it away
Red-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-winged Blackbirds
Blue Jay
Northern Mockingbirds (3)
Black Vultures (5)

After breakfast we stopped at Rotary Park where we found few birds:

Laughing Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
Northern Mockingbirds
Sanderling (1)
European Starlings
Fish Crows
Black Scoters (5)

A brief stop at the ferry terminal to pick up a schedule yielded:

Killdeer
Rock Pigeons

We drove to Miami Beach and found it to be at low tide. Hundreds of shorebirds covered the sandflats. Most were Dunlin with a smattering of Sanderlings and Black-bellied Plovers and a handful of Willets. The only gulls here were Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed.

We drove toward Nummy’s Island listing:

American Black Ducks
Buffleheads
Red-breasted Mergansers
Herring Gulls
Horned Grebes

Flying over the road was one Tree Swallow. Nummy’s Island yielded:

Savannah Sparrow
Great Egrets
Song Sparrows
Red-breasted Mergansers
Greater Yellowlegs
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Oystercatchers

Our next stop was at Avalon Sea Watch where we found:

Long-tailed Ducks (25)
Dunlin (~300)
Red-throated Loon (1)
Sanderlings (5)
Great Black-backed Gulls
Herring Gulls

We headed back toward Cape May, stopping at Burger King in Rio Grande for lunch. En route to CMBO we noted:

Great Egrets (2)
Hooded Merganser (2)

Unfortunately, CMBO was closed! They are open only Friday through Monday in March. At CMBO we saw:

Common Grackles
Northern Cardinals
Brown-headed Cowbirds
Carolina Chickadees

We cruised Whilldin again, searching for the Eurasian Collared-Dove. Once again we had no luck, but we all were able to observe the Red-breasted Nuthatch that Roger had heard this morning. In addition, a Carolina Wren was singing.

We continued to Cape May State Park where we stopped at the hawk watch platform then walked the Red Trail. In the park we listed:

American Robins (18)
Lesser Scaup (1)
Mallard (10)
Great Blue Heron (1)
Carolina Wren (1) – photographed
Canada Geese (2)
Gadwall (7)
Northern Shoveler (4)
Northern Pintail (3)
Green-winged Teal (4)
Ruddy Duck (2)
American Black Duck (2)
American Kestrel (1)
Ring-necked Duck (1)
Double-crested Cormorant (3)
American Coot (9)
Pied-billed Grebe (2)
Pine Warbler (1)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (4)
European Starling (4)
Northern Mockingbird (1)
Turkey Vulture (8)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1)
American Wigeon (2)
Osprey (1)
Northern Flicker (1)
American Crow (2)
Northern Gannet (26)
Dark-eyed Junco (4)
Song Sparrow (2)

It was 3:35, so we decided to return to Miami Beach to search once again for the Black-headed Gulls. It was high tide, of course, but we had no luck. Additional species here included:

Bald Eagles (2 adults)
Forster’s Terns (7)
Bonaparte’s Gulls

We could see another flock of gulls camped on another spit farther north, so we drove to Norbury’s Landing. Unfortunately, the Black-headed Gull was not among the gulls here. We decided to stop at Higbee Beach on the way back toward Cape May. In a field on the way in we noted a Wild Turkey. We drove down the bumpy road to the canal across from the ferry terminal. Here were:

Dunlin (perched on the jetty)
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
Red-breasted Mergansers
Black Scoters
Red-throated Loon
Song Sparrow
Northern Gannets (35)

We returned to the Higbee Beach parking lot and walked several of the trails which yielded:

Downy Woodpecker
Mourning Dove
Sharp-shinned Hawk

It was getting late in the day, and there was not much activity. Derek spotted a fence lizard.

We decided to quit for the day and go to Rio Grande for dinner. When we got to the field that had produced the one turkey, we found a flock of eight. Two of the males were displaying. The guys had spotted the Joy Buffet earlier when we’d driven through the town. We stopped there for dinner. Special thanks to Tom. We had a very enjoyable evening with many stories and good conversation.

We ended the day with 101 species.

Submitted by Margaret Higbee

If you participated in this trip, you may add an outing report.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Red Hill Creek, Hamilton, ON, Marg Higbee

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