Sunday, October 7, 2012

Siskin Morning and Fields Solid with Sparrows

 [Part of a group of Pine Siskins that dropped briefly in front of the hawkwatch, Cape May Point, NJ this morning, Sunday October 7, 2012. Click to enlarge photos.]

The main story of the day: Cameron Rutt counted 1129 Siskins at Morning Flight in Cape May, NJ today!

 [A piece of a siskin flock, this photo alone contains about 80 birds!]

 [And now we rewind to my feeders in Del Haven NJ and ask, did the juvenile Pine Siskin that appeared last summer, July 2-3, portend anything bigger? Answer is apparently yes!]

[Cedar Waxwing dines on my favorite invasive plant, multiflora rose, near the Cape May hawkwatch. Understand, I don't really like the stuff, but it provides valuable food and cover for wildlife, and doesn't invade wetlands or forests, just fields and edges.]

I really didn't know what to do this morning in the drizzle after an obvious overnight flight as shown on the radar. So, start with Higbee and go to Cape May Point after about an hour. That's always a solid plan.

Besides frequent flyover siskins and an occasional Purple Finch, the fields were solid with sparrows, solid enough that it took the whole hour to make my way up the east side of the first field and back down the west side of the tower field. Swamp and Song Sparrows were the most common, with plenty of White-throateds, a few Savannahs, and, interestingly, a significant smattering of House Wrens. Obviously a slug of this species joined the night flight last night.

At the state park in the drizzle a few falcons of all three species were in the air, some picking on Red Bats that were coming in off the water. And a few warblers gleaned insects near the hawkwatch pavilion, where a number of us gathered to stay out of the rain. But the siskins were the real story of the morning, enough so that I stopped at the hardware store on the way home for more thistle seed.

I really think tomorrow will be a fine day, though whether my tweeted Peregrine forecast comes true remains to be seen. A lot of birds will be around, we can be sure of that.

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