Monday, November 01, 2010

Cape May blowout

An amazing weekend like we had in Cape May really can't be summed up in a bunch of words, no matter how poetic or superlative-laden they may be. So instead, I'll give you some photo highlights:
Wood Duck drake

Tundra Swans, a rarity in Cape May, though we saw a flock of about 10

Swamp Sparrows

Ruddy Turnstones -- lifers all!

Royal Tern

some beautiful Northern Pintails

a Northern Harrier who hunted for at least a half hour
by the Hawk Watch Platform at Cape May Point

Lesser Black-backed Gulls, lifers as ID'd by Pete Dunne, among Great Black-backed Gulls

Laughing Gull

Hermit Thrushes were almost as abundant as sparrows in the motel backyard

a Common Loon in the brackish marshes of Cape May's harbor

Brants were quite plentiful

this Black Scoter was sitting in the same spot for the Tidewater cruiser --
the guide said the bird was probably old or sick

this American Woodcock was blown in off the water on Sunday morning

American Oystercatchers

I didn't know American Coots had such blood-red eyes

AB took this snap.

Some of us got to get really close to Pete Dunne.

Boat-tailed Grackles, hanging out on an Osprey platform

I think one word that could sum up the weekend was "abundant." I mean, we saw literally thousands of Yellow-rumps, American Robins, sparrows, Double-crested Cormorants, ducks, and raptors. There were so many birds at any given time that it was challenging for the trip guides to point out just one bird among the dozens or hundreds flitting and flying among the foliage and in the air.

On Thursday night, Susan and I got to hang out with people like Bill Thompson III, Jeff and Liz Gordon, Richard Crossley, and Louise Zemaitis, first at New River trip leader Mark Garland's house (eating chocolate chip cookies minus the chocolate chips) and then down at the old Convention Center watching thousands of birds flying overhead in the lights of Beach Avenue. It was surreal--like a lost reel of The Life of Birds combined with an episode of Name-Droppers.

The whole weekend was non-stop, and we didn't miss a trick. We birded at the Beanery, the Meadows, the Hawk Watch, the Bunker Pond, and the beach at Cape May Point. AB and I watched the sunset and found some Cape May diamonds at Sunset Beach. We had breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House and the Mad Batter's. We had a nice sit-down dinner at Carney's (we were getting sick of bar food). We watched the Rangers win their one World Series game. (sniffle!) AB fell in love with Cooper's Hawks and Wood Ducks.

So much happened... I could go on and on and never cover it all. Suffice it to say that we saw more birds than we'd ever seen all in one place in our whole lives. And we loved every stinkin' minute of it.


Beth said...

And I loved being with you and AB, Delia. Great birds, great friends. What a magical weekend.

dguzman said...

It was a blast, Beth--I look forward to birding with you here in PA sometime soon!

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh I did so enjoy this post. What a great series of photographs. It must have been a blast.