This morning I was able to spend some time in Cape May, one of my favorite natural places. I began with an early morning walk at the Highbee Beach Wildlife Management Area. I was looking for birds, but not expecting many migrating ones, as the winds had been from the east for a few days, not conducive to migration here. Still, it was a beautiful morning for a walk. Continue reading
This time of year animals are roaming, either looking for mates, or new food sources and territory. We get a good variety of birds coming to our bird feeders, but this one was a surprise, a lone hen Turkey! She looked over the yard carefully, watching the other birds at the feeders…
The cats were not on the porch when the Turkey appeared, but before long, Tigger had spotted her. He seemed startled and a little afraid as they eyed each other. No wonder, the Turkey is much larger than Tigger!
Soon Leo had joined him, and the Turkey now began to make short nervous sounds. She circled the yard and then headed off into the woods. Perhaps she’ll be back, but Turkeys have a large territory, and usually travel in flocks, so I don’t know what this single was was doing here.
I’ve been participating in the New Jersey Audubon Society’s World Series of Birding event since 1988, when I first joined the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Century Run team. I’ve been part of that team for many of the intervening years. This year for the first time I was invited to join the planning committee of Team Captain Brian Moscatello, leaders Roger and Kathy Horn, and supporter Patti Domm. We met twice in the weeks before yesterday’s event, communicated often by email, and Roger, Kathy and I did lots of scouting for bird locations and planning of the route. Yesterday we came prepared with a Game Plan. Some of it worked, some had to be changed due to events and new information, but I think helping with the plans made it even more fun for me than ever. I had a great time.
THE PLAN: 5 AM, leave promptly by bus from our starting place in Cape May, drive directly to the Cape May Airport. 5:20 to 6 AM: bird near Airport runways and woods.
This worked perfectly. We got there at first light, when it was still dark enough for night bird Chuck-Wills-Widow to be calling, a bird we usually struggle with at the very end of the day. We also immediately got Horned Lark, which we expected, and Eastern Meadowlark, which we were not sure we’d find. We birded near the runways for those, then in the Airport Woods, above, where we got some unexpected songbirds like Hooded Warbler. Continue reading
…for the World Series of Birding tomorrow. Among other things, I’m bringing name tags I made for everyone (I’m one of eight leaders), and of course my camera and binoculars. Shortly I’ll be getting my gear and food together and prepped. Up tomorrow morning at 3 AM, at the meeting point in Cape May at 4:45, and our Big Day begins promptly at 5. So far the weather looks good and the prospects for lots of migrating birds is promising. I’ll have the full report here Sunday. If you’d like to look at our team page, it’s HERE.
More scouting for the World Series of Birding the last few days, and I had time and opportunity to get a few good pictures. This Black-crowned Night-Heron was in Avalon on Tuesday. They are secretive, but once you find them, they tend to sit still. It also helps that they’re pretty large. As they are night feeders, most people who live near them never see them, or even know they exist. Continue reading