Monday, May 30, 2016
Due to a variety of reasons, this blog is a week late, but there is still time for you. June in High Point State Park, NJ is almost as amazing as May, with a richness of breeding birds and other wildlife, from bears to chipmunks to porcupines to snakes, that is hard to match.
I spent most of last weekend in NJ's high country (> 1800 feet, not exactly the the Rockies, but if you go, you'll feel the high). Other than a day's sojourn helping my daughter photograph a horse show (after birds, horses and riders are pretty easy to photograph), I pretty much wallowed around in birds. As in: female Cerulean Warbler walking over my Teva-clad feet while collecting nesting material; Pileated Woodpecker fighting Broad-winged Hawk and winning handily; all of NJ's Empidonax flycatchers on territory, and more.
Like: learning what Boone will do when he sees a bear - that being roar and attack, but happily, respond when I call him back. It was more fun seeing him mess with chipmunks for the first time, since we have few in Cape May County and they are awesomely abundant in High Point. Like: hills and old moss-covered rocks and blooming wild azaleas and unfolding cinnamon and interrupted ferns. Canada mayflowers and starflowers carpeting the ground. A full moon rising over the Wantage grasslands.
Posted by Don Freiday at 10:05 AM
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road, you might have fallen off a cliff. I'm content.
- William Shatner
Posted by Don Freiday at 8:54 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Everybody knows I love Cape May, but from early May through early June there is place that eclipses the Cape May birding mecca. That place is Sussex County, NJ, and I feel blessed to have spent a few days in this place recently, visiting my daughter, spending time with a dear friend, and just absorbing the best spring has to offer. Some time ago I wrote that every May is precious, because none of us know how many more Mays we will have. Get out in it, now.
God, there are a lot of birds in Sussex County in spring. I loafed my way through a morning, and eBird tells me I encountered 91 species. The volume of song is intense, courtship and nest building is everywhere.
[Chestnut-sided Warbler, Stokes State Forest. A few more shades of green . . .]
[Black. This dude came off the Kittatinny to get between me and my truck, 20 yards away, along the Old Mine Road. It was an interesting conversation: "Dude, I'm having such a nice few days off and now I have to fight a bear with a pair of Zeiss binoculars?" It ended well for both of us. Go in peace.]
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, meaning Cape May, migration has been excellent. Duh, it's May.
[Least Sandpiper doing its best to keep its feet dry in the flooded impoundmdents, Heislerville, NJ.]
Posted by Don Freiday at 12:16 PM
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Mike Pasquerello stepped out of the south end of field one at Higbee Beach covered in mosquitoes. I said, "Dude, you've got mosquitoes." He said, "Yeah, I think I kicked them up when I walked out there, I didn't have any until then."
I said jokingly, "I'm out of here," and jogged away down the path with Boone trotting happily ahead. . .
And then my feet froze, and I literally almost fell while the rest of me caught up to what I had just heard.
"Mike, Swainson's Warbler just sang down there!" I hissed. He looked at me like I was joking, but apparently my body language said otherwise and he dialed in too.
It went again. And again. I started laughing, because Swainson's Warbler is a pearl of great price anywhere. . . but in Cape May? Less than ten records for sure.
We fist-bumped, I grabbed my camera and took the audio/video above, and went off to work. I was only at Higbee to check the bird feeders I keep filled there, and only decided to take a turn around field one because Boone was being annoying. . . better to be lucky than good.
Cape May has taken migration hits the last three days, well over 20 warbler species all three days, which by the way in the old days of my youth was not happening the first few days of May. The world warms, the birds respond, for better or worse we will have to wait and see.
So, get thee to the woods. Cox Hall Creek WMA was smoking Tuesday, with what I have to call a true fallout including 24 warbler species, with many of many, and a single Golden-winged warbler. Today there is Veery and two call-noting Acadian Flycatchers in the CMBO Northwood Center block.
Posted by Don Freiday at 12:13 PM