Sunday, October 2, 2011
A Cold Front Weekend In Cape May
On Saturday I joked to Michael as I reached the end of the line of people at the top of the Higbee Beach dike, "Standing room only,eh?" Which is a a bit of a joke anyway, since you don't sit at the dike. Michael looked down the line of people drawn to this famous place (and often disappointed, I hasten to add - we had a bunch of warblers including a "great" look at a flyby Connecticut, but it ain't a simple thing up there and most people are happier in the fields). Then he said, "Well, it is a cold front Saturday in October."
And it was, and Sunday morning Tony Leukering aptly texted, "If you're not out, get out, as there are birds everywhere: NOFL, warblers, sparrows, raptors" . . .two good days to be alive and be a birder.
eBird tells me I saw 131 species this weekend, pretty great stuff. But what was really special was the way, with patience and stealth, it was possible to get close to some of these migrants. . . which leads me to propose, tongue in cheek and based on some of the "violations" seen this weekend, "The Rules of Higbee Beach," where I spent Saturday and Sunday mornings. Take this tongue in cheek, and put the word "please" in front of each:
1. Slow the hek down. Ooze along the trail, please.
2. Shut the hek up.
3. Lose the bright or white clothing, especially hats.
4. You will never catch up with a bird by running after it.
5. You will never get closer to a bird by moving towards it.
6. If 20 people stand there waiting for the Connecticut to pop up, it won't. And it was probably a Common Yellowthroat anyway.
7. If you swing your camera or bins, the bird will flush. Slowly, please.
8. If someone is standing dead still aiming their camera or binoculars at the bushes, there's probably a reason. Ask them, with a whisper - and go around them, if you must.
Okay, enough of the semi-diatribe. Here's why my pal Vince Elia takes the last week of September and the first week of October off every year. The cuckoo, vireo, Parula, and yellowthroat were at Higbee; the rest are from a Chinese elm near Lily Lake.
Posted by Don Freiday at 2:31 PM