Saturday, August 6, 2016

Dowasaurus, Other Shorebirds, Thoughts About Sunday

[This Long-billed Dowitcher, right, with a Short-billed Dowitcher at left, has been hanging around the South Cape May Meadows for a few days. Click to enlarge photos.]

I wrote about dowitcher i.d. last week, but the above bird (a different individual from last week's bird) has a couple striking features. First, it's big, bulky, large-headed, thick-necked - these are not insults, but if you flick your eyes back and forth between the two birds you'll see the usefulness of these field marks. This Long-billed also has a very long bill, with an unusual curve at the tip that is accentuated by the fact it is holding some tasty morsel.

[Six species in one photo - can you name them? Answer in a future blog.]

Both the meadows and Cape May Point State Park are in great shape for shorebirds, and should stay that way barring torrential rain, which can drown the moist soil habitat. Even better, look what's coming tonight:

[The sort of weather map you want to see, even if it is only August 6. A cold front (the blue line with triangles facing southeast) is forecast to clear Cape May tonight. Migrant songbirds should be behind it.]

What can we expect, songbird migrant wise, on August 7 in Cape May? Plenty of Yellow Warblers, for sure. Right on time for Lousiana Waterthrush. Fine for a Prothonotary Warbler or two, or Worm-eating Warblers, Ovenbirds, Black-and-white Warblers, and of course American Redstarts. Maybe the very scarce Cerulean Warbler? Some Orchard Orioles should be moving. We'll see.

[More and more juvenile Laughing Gulls are appearing away from the colonies, e.g. this one in the parking lot at Cape May Point State Park. They're out in the rips, too - time to remind ourselves that not all dark-colored birds chasing terns are jaegers. . . laughers do it too.]

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