Songo Blue Skies

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cape May Late Migrants

It was my first trip to Cape May to bird. I got up early and was on the road at 4:00 am to make it for a 7:30 birding walk at Rea Farm. So I literally birded from sun-up/moon down to sunset. What a gorgeous day in a gorgeous place. The only down side- hitting a deer on the way down :( . Damages to the car but no injury to me.
Moonset early morning

Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

I had never seen a black vulture before. I was surprised that when looking at the underside of the wings of the Turkey Vulture they are two toned with the flight feathers being lighter. While the underside of the Black Vulture's wings are black with white fight feathers. Also the Black Vulture's tail is shorter and square compared to the longer, rounded tail of the Turkey Vulture.

I saw 2 American Kestrels (another life bird) but they were a little too far away to get clear pictures. They are a beautiful bird but much smaller than I thought. They were across the field from this vineyard and bluebird. We saw Kinglets, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Blackpoll Warblers, and heard several Carolina Wrens. The walk around the farm was leisurely and there were many knowledgeable birders along.

After the walk around the farm we found a bathroom at the lighthouse and then went to get some tea. I then walked around the newer birding preserve I believe called The Meadows. I saw Dark-eyed Juncos, an assortment of ducks including Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Gadwalls, Northern Shoveler and Green-Winged Teal.

Next I went back to the lighthouse. I took the late evening Hawk watch. However, since the wind was still up there weren't many hawks to watch. So instead we took a walk around the ponds at the lighthouse. We walked through a variety of habitat. We saw Coot, Pied-Billed Grebe and an Eurasian Wigeon as well.
Pied-Billed Grebe - isn't it the cutest thing

American Coot

Coot in flight

As we walked through the woods we saw a flock of Cedar Waxwings. The sun was setting and as I looked at the pictures I have to say their bodies looked like smooth golden wax.

We got near the end of our walk. We were looking at some ducks and one of the kids on the walk went up to the leader and said there is a different looking swan over there. He has an all black beak. We went to look and sure enough we had a Tundra Swan. The Mute Swans that were swimming with it were actually ignoring it. Apparently they will usually run them out. Another lifer!
Tundra Swan
You can see that not only does it have an all black beak it has what looks like a yellow tear drop called a basal spot. Also this is a native swan where as the Mutes were introduced from England. It was a great way to end the day. And then there was the sunset....

 What a great day. I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did. The ride home was smooth as I didn't hit or even see any deer on the way! Thanks for stopping by.