Sunday, January 20, 2013

Warblers, Raptors and Duckage: Piecing Together a Birding Weekend

 [Female Townsend's Warbler, Cape May Point, NJ, January 20 2013. Continuing bird, but for how long given the weather forecast? Click to enlarge photos.]

My kind-of, sort-of resolution for this year is to bird more. It started with the chase for the lapwings and rare geese - what will make my year better, working more, whether at the job or around the house, or revelling in birds? Duh, right?

Yesterday I was planning to write a little about how in winter we're left with ducks and raptors, but some good landbirds and a gull interfered with that theorem, as you can see from the pictures. With a high of 32 and low of 19 forecast down here in Cape May for mid-week, I don't how long some of these warblers are going to last - I had the Towsend's, Orange-crowned, and a Palm Warbler, and of course Yellow-rumped Warbler today, and there's been a Nashville around that keeps eluding me. Persistent icy cold isn't good for these guys. Not to mention for the multiple Great Egrets wintering around Cape May, they're not much good at ice fishing.

The other thing I've resolved this year is to bird a little harder. What I mean is, you can wander around hoping something sings in your ear or flies up to your face, but you'll see WAY less that way than if you really dig, stay sharp for soft calls, scan and scope a lot. . .bird. So bird, then when you find something, switch to birdwatching. That's what I'm going to try to do. Keep the knife sharp.

Anyhow, here's what I've found so far this weekend.

[Orange-crowned Warbler, Cape May Point State Park, NJ, January 20, 2013.]

 [Winter Wren, showing that wonderful short, cocked tail, January 20 2013, Cape May Point State Park, NJ.]

[Is there a prettier raptor than adult Red-shouldered Hawk, like this one perched near the Beanery, Cape May Point State Park, NJ January 19, 2013?]

 [This adult Cooper's Hawk made me glad I'm a birder who carriers a camera when it flew right over Mark Garland and I, January 19, 2013. The tail's ragged, but notice the shorter outer feathers creating a rounded shape.]

 [Lighthouse Pond, Cape May Point State Park, NJ, has excellent duckage at present. We'll see what happens with the pending freeze next week.]

 [Green-winged Teal rocketing overhead, Cape May Point State Park, January 19, 2013.]

[Northern Pintails.]

[These Red-breasted Mergansers were diving sequentially, front to back, near Stone Harbor on Saturday.]

[The finale - Black-headed Gull (right) with Ring-billed Gull at Norbury's Landing at Sunset, first reported today by A. Lamoreaux. Although similar to Bonaparte's Gull, Black-headed Gulls function differently, flying less (Bonaparte's fly a LOT)and often walking the flats with Ring-billeds.]


  1. Wow! That Cooper's Hawk photo is amazing and that action shot of the merganser is great too!

    1. Thanks, Larry! The Coop obliged by flying right at us from a long way out, giving me time to get ready.