Saturday, November 3, 2012
A Hurricane of Birds
What passed over Cape May Point this morning cannot be put into pictures, and probably not words, either. Waves of robins - I dunno, 80,000? Similar numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds, in tight flocks storming the dunes, parting around us. Waxwings, let's say 10,000? Pine Siskins - 3,000? More? Michael O'Brien clicked over 300 White-winged Crossbills, and there were way, way more Siskins. And Red Crossbills, and just a spicing of Evening Grosbeaks, the first I've seen in NJ in something like 15 years. We collected on the dunes of Cape May Point, and hardly used binoculars, gaping open-mouthed at the spectacle.
It should be noted that most of the fancy finches in this post were detected by ear first - learning those ringing, zinging calls is the way to detect these things. I can't wait for deer season, because with this many finches around, who knows what full days of listening from a tree stand in the woods of north Jersey will bring?
What brought it to Cape May was stiff west-northwest wind at the beginning of November. Other fancy stuff I saw included Golden Eagle from the hawkwatch and an Orange-crowned Warbler in the first hedge at the Beanery. I was not there for the Franklin's Gull seen from the hawkwatch first and dunes later, nor for the White-winged Dove or Scarlet Tanager in Cape May Point. We all wondered how many birds we were missing - can you imagine, given these?
Lest it be forgotten, Scott Whittle compared Purple Finch calls to Dolphins clicking, perhaps the first time such comparison has ever been drawn. . .
Posted by Don Freiday at 7:47 PM