Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Swainson's Warbler: It's Better to be Lucky than Good

[Audio, albeit faint, of Swainson's Warbler at Higbee Beach WMA, Cape May NJ, today, May 4, 2016. In the video I say the bird was at the north end of field one, but in fact it was at the south end in the wet woods there . . .I guess I was kind of excited.]

Mike Pasquerello stepped out of the south end of field one at Higbee Beach covered in mosquitoes. I said, "Dude, you've got mosquitoes." He said, "Yeah, I think I kicked them up when I walked out there, I didn't have any until then."

I said jokingly, "I'm out of here," and jogged away down the path with Boone trotting happily ahead. . .

And then my feet froze, and I literally almost fell while the rest of me caught up to what I had just heard.

"Mike, Swainson's Warbler just sang down there!" I hissed. He looked at me like I was joking, but apparently my body language said otherwise and he dialed in too.

It went again. And again. I started laughing, because Swainson's Warbler is a pearl of great price anywhere. . . but in Cape May? Less than ten records for sure.

We fist-bumped, I grabbed my camera and took the audio/video above, and went off to work. I was only at Higbee to check the bird feeders I keep filled there, and only decided to take a turn around field one because Boone was being annoying. . . better to  be lucky than good.

Cape May has taken migration hits the last three days, well over 20 warbler species all three days, which by the way in the old days of my youth was not happening the first few days of May. The world warms, the birds respond, for better or worse we will have to wait and see.

 [Above, male Prothonotary Warbler at Sunset Bridge, Bellplain State Forest, Cape May County NJ on Monday, May 2. Below, his female. They appear to have selected a nest hole 20 yards upstream of the bridge, in a cavity about 25 feet directly above the water. Please don't bother these birds with recordings, there is no need. Click to enlarge photos.]

So, get thee to the woods. Cox Hall Creek WMA was smoking Tuesday, with what I have to call a true fallout including 24 warbler species, with many of many, and a single Golden-winged warbler. Today there is Veery and two call-noting Acadian Flycatchers in the CMBO Northwood Center block.

[One of the 20+ Rose-breasted Grosbeaks coming to my feeders in Del Haven, NJ yesterday. They're still there today, and some are hitting CMBO Northwood's feeders now. Enjoy them while they last; they do not breed in Cape May.]


  1. Maybe, just maybe, some birds will hit monmouth county (specifically sandy hook), as it's been dreadful.

  2. What an awesome find! May is magic.

  3. What an awesome find! May is magic.

  4. Wow!! Super star photography!!! Very impressive!