Saturday, September 22, 2012

Awareness on Southeast Winds

[Peregrine Falcon hunting the south Cape May, NJ beach. Beach goers: clueless. I think this youngster was catching locusts, and perhaps even pursuing some ghost crabs on the beach.]
Yeah, the weather kind of sucked from migration's standpoint today, but it was pleasant nonetheless to walk the four miles from the South Cape May Meadows parking lot to and along the beach to the State Park trails, and back past Lily Lake and along Sea Grove and Sunset Boulevard. About 60 bird species graced this path today, of which the dark Parasitic Jaeger far off the meadows beach and the calling Sora along the blue trail at Cape May Point State park were highlights. But everything's a highlight with the right attitude. Even clueless people.
I think normal people are just generally clueless when it comes to the natural world, and it's not their fault so I can only feel sympathy for beachgoers who miss the Peregrine at arm's length, let alone failing to notice that funny gull with the yellow legs. To the rest of us, let's just remember to treasure and hone all our senses always, to be soft spoken, soft-stepped, and vigilant with eyes and ears, lest you be like the couple walking just ahead of me in the state park who seemed not to notice the Merlin perched over their heads, or the juvenile mockingbird I was photographing when they walked past with their binoculars at the ready for something interesting.
[Continuing the shades of gray theme from "Fri-D," here we have three gray shades of gulls - pale Herring Gull gray on the left, Great Black-backed Gull almost black on the right, and in the middle, the mid-toned Lesser-black-backed Gull, this one an adult-like 4th cycle with yellow legs. All pics are from Cape May this morning, click to enlarge]
I dunno. . .I'm not the greatest birder but I am thankful for a youth spent honing awareness of the natural world, of small movements and critters out of place or of interest to the then-, and now-, hunter. Today, hunter of photos and birds of interest.
[The briefly held juvenile plumage of Northern Mockingbirds bears the breast spots of other thrushes. Along the Cape May Point State Park Blue trail today.]
Looks to me like tomorrow and Monday even the casual observer is going to notice some serious bird movement thanks to an approaching cold front. Monday off? Maybe. I've never regretted using benefit time when it looked like something was going to happen, even if it didn't, but oh how I've pained over missed flights. Depends, as it so often does, on the weather, one more thing to be carefully aware of.
[The Peregrine and Cape May Point Lighthouse shot.]

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