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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Mike Fritz

September 10, 2004
CONFUSING FALL BIRDERS at HIGBEE BEACH WMA, NJ

 

A cold front was to pass the night before the trip, and I watched the weather forecast with fingers crossed that it would pass early enough to allow migration. A peek at the night sky around midnight revealed a starry sky and I had high hopes that there would be migrants the next morning.

As we gathered the group in the parking lot at Higbee Beach WMA we had numbers of migrants already flying over, a very good sign. Nine club members and myself headed out along the trails to see what we could find. We found a Northern Waterthrush before we even got to the trails. We birded along the fields and found many pockets of migrants, but not very large numbers. We had 12 species of warblers by the end including lots of Black-throated Greens, Black-throated Blues, Northern Parulas, Magnolias, Nashville, and lots of American Redstarts and Black-and-whites. We tried in vain for a Connecticut, but this has been a poor year for them in Cape May.

Other highlights were a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at very close range that engaged us in a staring contest (he won), at least 2 and maybe 3 Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, 12 migrant Hummingbirds, Scarlet Tanager, many Veerys and a single Bicknell/Gray-cheeked Thrush, Philadelphia Vireo, lots of Baltimore Orioles and Red-eyed Vireos, and great looks at very dull looking Indigo Buntings. All in all it was a very productive morning, and it was nice to have a "fall like" day after nothing but summer like days.