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Field Trip Report
by Adrian Binns

CAPE MAY FIELD TRIP REPORT
September 25, 2003

Wind - East 5mph
Temp - 75, sunny with clear skies

It was a good early mornings birding at Higbee Beach with Lincoln's Sparrow and 18 species of warbler including Connecticut, but none of us got there before we met at the Hawk Watch platform at the State Park at 9AM.

The activity was pretty constant for about an hour and a half with Sharpies making up most of the birds. At one stage there were 5 forming a loose kettle with a Merlin, who was harassing each in turn until they moved on. Several Coopers, American Kestrels and Osprey's moved through. We had a Peregrine go over Sunset Lake and at one point 3 Northern Harriers together. The lake held American Wigeon, Great Blue Heron, Mute Swan, Pied-billed Grebe and a Snow Goose. Once things started to slow down we moved onto the Meadows where we had great looks at a Sora at midday out in the open feeding amongst the sleeping Gadwall, Shoveler, Green-wing Teal, Blue-wing Teal (1), Mallard and Black Ducks. The ocean was quiet, though there was a large group of 300 plus Black Skimmers resting at the far end of the beach and on the dunes a Palm Warbler was flittering about the bushes. Walking down the east side path we heard Common Yellowthroat and Carolina Wren; saw a Common Moorhen and Lesser Yellowlegs and a Kingfisher was spotted hovering and diving in the distance.

From here we headed to Stone Harbor Point, picking up Little Blue Heron in a channel on the way. Though it would be a while before it was high tide, we had a great show of terns. Together loafing on the sand, Forster's, Common, a dozen Caspian, Royal, 2 Sandwich as well as Black Skimmers, allowing for wonderful study comparisons of Forster's and Common (head and plumage), and Caspian and Royal (head, bill and underwing). Working our way back along the point we came across a Red Knot and resting and keeping an eye out for vehicles towing their boats on the beach was a group of 10 Piping Plovers and 8 Sanderlings, which allowed us to approach within 20 yards. No of us recalled seeing as many Piping Plovers together at once.

Our final stop was the Wetlands Institute where a Short-billed Dowitcher and a Semipalmated Sandpiper was in with a mixed group of yellowlegs and at the end of Shellbay Ave 4 Savannah Sparrows we feeding around the pavilion.

~ Adrian Binns


Birds:
Common Loon (1)
Pied-billed Grebe (1)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron (1)
Glossy Ibis (1)
Mute Swan
Snow Goose (1)
Canada Goose
Mallard
American Black Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Blue-winged Teal (1)
Green-winged Teal
Black Vulture (2)
Turkey Vulture
Osprey (5)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (37)
Cooper's Hawk (6)
Northern Harrier (5)
American Kestrel (2)
Merlin (9)
Peregrine Falcon (1)
Soar (1)
Common Moorhen (1)
Black-bellied Plover
Piping Plover (10)
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern (12)
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern (2)
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow

Mammals:
Muskrat
Red Bat

Butterflies:
Cabbage White
Little Yellow
Cloudless Sulphur
Common Buckeye
Monarch