Sunday, 2 June 2013

Cape May - Part 4

Sunday 12th May

The Osprey boat trip came highly recommended by Richard as a great way to explore the saltmarshes and get closer to birds such as Ospreys, herons and waders.

The 3 hour sailing began at 10.00am, so we killed some time at Higbee first, with the main highlight being a fine male American Redstart.

I haven't mentioned Ospreys much in my postings, but that's because they are everywhere. Virtually a dirt bird around Cape May. Nests were numerous along the river on any suitable platform whether it be man-made, or just convenient. I didn't bother counting...

Osprey nest

These salt marshes also hold the world's largest colony of Laughing Gulls and many Forsters Terns breed here too. It is a very good place for passage waders, although only Willet and American Oystercatcher are the only species to breed on the salt marsh.

Most notable of  the waders was a big passage of Hudsonian Whimbrel. We counted around 200 birds, although there were probably many more. Other waders noted included Spotted Sandpiper, Semi-p Plover, Turnstone, Semi-p Sandpiper, Dunlin, Willet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Sanderling and Grey Plover.

Hudsonian Whimbrels

Hudsonian Whimbrels

On the water there were up to 30 Great Northern Diver and a single Scoter, which the guides didn't dwell on, being more interested in 'rump pumpers' (Spotted Sandpiper) and other more crowd-pleasing birds. We could see it wasn't Black Scoter and with some observation and a photo, we realised it was a White-winged Scoter.

White-winged Scoter - image by Richard Powell

Great White Egret - both these and Snowy Egret abundant here

Also on offer during the boat trip plenty of Egrets, Double-crested Cormorants and 'Brants'. Also 1 Red-Tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Black-crowned Night Heron, 1 Great Blue Heron and a superb Yellow-crowned Night Heron (the only one of our trip).

Double-crested Cormorants

Red-tailed Hawk

Yellow-crowned Night Heron - Whoooooo!

The hinterland dwellings were none too shabby at all...

It was a shame to see Hulk Hogan had hit hard times. Spotted fishing at river side (image courtesy Richard Powell)

For a full review of the Boats of Cape May click here ... This was one of the highlights (image courtesy Richard Powell)

In the afternoon we had another go for Prothonotary Warbler at the Beanery. Still no joy. Perhaps we would have better luck at Belleplain tomorrow. Noted Blue Grey Gnatcatcher, 2 Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood Peewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo and some good views of Indigo Bunting.

At Hidden Valley, virtually next door, it was similar fayre. Although we did add Wild Turkey to our trip list. Also noted Baltimore & Orchard Oriole, Field Sparrow and Black-throated Green warbler.

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