Saturday, February 2, 2013
A Chilly Ocean Drive Morning
I don't know why I keep thinking I'll find an Iceland Gull in Cape May. I mean, I have before, and others have this very year, but both white-winged gulls (Iceland and Glaucous) seem to be jinxed for me at present. The fish plants along Ocean Drive near the big toll bridge to the Wildwoods are among the gull-iest places I know in Cape May County, but no luck, at least no rare gulls. How many Herring Gulls must one look at first to see one of these northern beauties?
You can believe in jinxes or not, but if there aren't jinxes, how come some birds come easy and others don't come at all? I went through a period, believe it or not, where I couldn't get out of the way of a Saw-whet Owl - happy condition, indeed. Same thing with Curlew Sandpiper. But jinxes just. . . suuck. I love white-winged gulls, too. Someone will find one tomorrow, or probably found one today.
No matter. I like surprises, like the Sanderlings walking on the ice at the Two Mile bridge, or the very funny female Common Eider that apparently had bonded with a little flock of Atlantic Brant there, unexpected away from the ocean.
It was cold. The birds responded it various ways. With the Cape May NWR's Two Mile Beach Unit's ponds mostly frozen, the ducks were concentrated it what open water there was, and a little flock of 15 Pied-billed Grebes concentrated there. 30 American Oystercatchers huddled against the wind at Stone Harbor - 26 degrees is cold for an Oystercatcher.
And for me. I actually broke out the warm gloves, after freezing my fingers trying to take pictures bare handed. One of my favorite winter tricks is to leave my gloves on the dashboard, with the defrost running full blast - wonderful to slip your hands into a warm pair of gloves!.
Posted by Don Freiday at 6:41 PM