Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Walk Around Lily Lake + BEBOP the Brown Booby

 [Fall adult male Bay-breasted Warbler, Lily Lake, Cape May this morning. Note the white sheath of a pin feather immediately behind the eye of this bird, indicating that body molt is still underway. Most fall Bay-breasts are not this easy (i.e., most don't show all that bay on the flank), but even if the bay is not there, the color below and aft on a Bay-breasted Warbler will not be as white as it is on Blackpoll, which shows a good demarcation between yellowish up front and white to the rear, one of the best marks to use in a quick view like at the Higbee Dike. ]

7:06 a.m. text message: "TJohnson: Good warbler flight at higbee dike."
7:07 a.m. exclamation from bed, DFreiday: "Sonofabitch!"

We had a late night with the Bay Atlantic Symphony (Mendelssohn, wonderful!), then dinner, then thinking most all the birds had come through in the past two days we slept in.  Until TJ's text that is.

After getting to the dike in time to miss the compressed but good flight, save a few Northern Parulas (which made up something like half the birds Tom had this morning) and a few others, Lily Lake seemed like a logical place to go. I hear a whole lot of memory card got ripped in the past couple days on the cameras of warbler-fanatic friends. Today didn't match what was had the past two, but the male Bay-breasted Warbler pictured was just lovely, and we also detected Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, and roughly 10 warbler species. And a bunch of raptors and a little group of American Wigeon flying overhead.

Before I forget, I need to insert a heartfelt endorsement of the Bay Atlantic Symphony, missed birds or no. Last night featured Spain-based violin virtuoso Kai Gleusteen in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, and it about killed me - brilliant, and so many wonderful high notes ringing like bird voices in the crowded hall. The symphony plays local venues, e.g. track them down at Stockton College this season. We are very lucky indeed to have this caliber of music so accessible down here in south-podunk-Jersey.

At least five Belted Kingfishers ringed Lily Lake, but do you think I could get a good photo of one? Nope, and I still don't have a truly stellar shot of this species. Time for a blind and some pondside patience, I guess.

The wind was pretty much due east at the hawkwatch, but plenty of stuff was flying around, Coop's and Merlins and such. At least two Lark Sparrows were found in Cape May today, and Vince Elia kept talking about Lark Bunting - good date, etc. etc. Someone should go find one. A couple White-rumped Sandpipers were among various shorebirds flying overhead.

And finally, thanks to the spell checker on Bill Boyle's phone and the ensuing text message, the Jarvis Sound BRBO (Brown Booby) has been forever named BEBOP. . . and was still there today.

[Young Cooper's Hawk hunting near Lily Lake today. One of these days I'll dig out my "16 ways to tell a Sharpie from a Coop" and re-post it. This photo shows a few, like: the bird's perched in the open, it has giant feet and thick legs, blond head, and thin, well defined streaking below.]

[The Bay-breasted Warbler again - this time with a dragonfly! I'm not sure if his eyes were too big for his stomach or not, since he disappeared carrying his feast, and I don't know if he was able to down any of it or not.]

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