Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Vigil

 [Dad Eastern Kingbird escorts crow out of his territory near St. Peter's, Cape May Point, NJ, June 16, 2011. Click to enlarge.]

Either not much or a lot was happening in Cape May Point today, birdwise, depending on your point of view. June separates the birders from the "ornitho-golfers" - the latter being those souls whose enjoyment depends on the score, i.e. new birds for the list. Not much migration is happening in June, and I'll confess my vigil of choice, the rips off St. Peter's Church in Cape May Point, NJ, was all about the best potential for new year birds, such as Wilson's Storm-petrels or shearwaters. Neither of which materialized, so from the ornithogolf score standpoint, not so good. No "birdies," so to speak. Later in the day, when I returned to Cape May Point State Park, two Royal Terns coursing down the breakers became my firsts of the year, helping my golf score or batting average or whatever you want to call it.

But plenty was happening without new bird species, all of it to do with raising young, apt enough for Father's Day. A pair of Eastern Kingbirds defended the local airspace while I scanned the offshore waters, and a pair of Gray Catbirds took turns feeding their hidden offspring, collecting food from the scrubby dune habitat and carrying it to a hidden nest. Over at the state park, where I staged another offshore-looking vigil, a Northern Mockingbird fledgling skulked in the poison ivy, while mom and dad took turns feeding it. Plenty was going on, all right. Sadly, two American Oystercatchers (later joined by 4 others) appear to be without chick. I haven't heard any reports, but it looks like that particular chick met its demise.

[Gray Catbird collects food for young in the nest at Cape May Point, NJ this morning.]

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