Category Archives: Nature

First Summer Beach Day

EllenSpringers

Fine sunny weather today with temperatures in the mid 70s. We considered a traditional beach visit this afternoon, but opted instead for a trip to Springer’s Ice Cream in Stone Harbor, then a walk. Springers is the best ice cream around here, and only open in the summer!

EllenWading

We drove to Stone Harbor Point for a long walk along the beach there. Ellen took off her sandals and waded, I opted to keep my walking shoes on.

Oystercatcher

There weren’t many birds around other than the usual gulls, but we did enjoy a few pairs of American Oystercatchers, still looking quite sharp in breeding plumage, and nesting somewhere in the protected areas back from the beach.

NWildwoodEllen

We made it all the way to the end of the long beach, must be close to two miles, or it sure felt like it! Across the channel is North Wildwood. A nice afternoon out, summer is definitely here!

A Little Brown Bat

LBBat1

Never know what I’ll find in our woodland home. Opening the garage door this morning I found what seemed to be a dead Little Brown Bat, wet from last night’s rain. I picked it up on a dustpan and found it WASN’T dead, but very weak, just enough energy to raise it’s head and hiss at me. It must be ill, and there’s nothing I can do for it. I put it in the woods where it crawled under some leaves.

LBBat2

My 2014 World Series of Birding Report

CMMeadowsTeamDark

Images © Todd Klein.

The goal: see or hear and tally as many bird species as possible between midnight and midnight of Saturday, May 10th to raise funds for the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory to be used for nature education, research, stewardship and preservation.

Our team: The CMBO Century Run; 22 members including team leaders Mike Crewe and Megan Edwards, and additional leaders Roger and Kathy Horn and Karl Lukens, traveling Cape May County in two rented vans, as well as parts of it on foot.

Our day began at 5 AM in The Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge on Sunset Avenue in Cape May Point, known to birders as “The Meadows.” The dark sky was cloudy, there was a light wind from the southwest, cool but not unpleasant. As we walked the trail waiting for first light, we began counting birds we heard and could identify by their calls, with Tree Swallows being the first species on the list closely followed by Common Yellowthroat Warblers, Carolina Wrens and Red-Winged Blackbirds. Participants ranged from veterans like Ellen and myself to a man who was a newbie birder, this being his second time birding ever. Nearly every bird he saw was new to him! Continue reading

Big Day Tomorrow

WSBPrep

The World Series of Birding is tomorrow, and Ellen’s and my team, the Cape May Century Run will be out there searching for and tallying bird species from 5 AM to 9 PM or so. Today I spent a few hours helping out at the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Northwood Center in Cape May Point, where teams out scouting for tomorrow were coming in for snacks and information. I did a little scouting myself before that, but most of the work has been done by the regular and veteran birders that populate the Cape May area. Information on where to find tough species has been shared in a virtual swap-meet, to give everyone a chance to raise as much money as possible in our fundraiser. And knowing WHERE to look for something doesn’t mean you’ll find it, as we know all too well! There have been some rarities around this week like Crested Caracara, Cerulean Warbler and Pileated Woodpecker (rare for here), but often the rare ones don’t show up on the big day, so we’ll see how it goes.

Ellen and I will be up at 3 AM in order to get our act together and down in Cape May Point for the gathering of our team by 5 AM. Then we’ll travel by van through the next 16 plus hours, first around the Cape May area, then to other good birding spots in the county. Top teams will bird the entire state of New Jersey, starting at the northwest corner, and ending in Cape May, but that’s a particularly grueling 24 hours, and many teams now do only one county, or even just the Cape May area. Our team is Cape May County only, and believe me, it’s plenty to cover! I’ll be posting my write-up of our Big Day on Sunday, hopefully, if I’m not too wiped out to manage it.