And on arrival at the Higbee Beach parking lot (sorry, car park!), my goodness me, the whole morning was a complete birdfest, you just didn't know where to start looking and when to move onto the next bird. Straight away out of the car, there's a Chestnut-sided Warbler, and I missed a Ruby-crowned Kinglet while paying the guides.
Just from the car park migrant birds kept appearing in the trees. Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-and-White Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Northern Parulas, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Baltimore Oriole, a Yellow-throated Vireo and the jewel in the crown, a superb male Blackburnian Warbler!
Walking was taken at a snail's pace, it had to be because the birds just kept on coming. Blue-headed Vireos, 2 Red-headed Woodpeckers flew over, 2 Orchard Orioles and a Yellow-breasted Chat holding territory.
In fact, I think the only bird we dipped on the walk was a Veery, which would've been veery veery nice to see! But nonetheless, that was one of the greatest birding experiences I've had bar none. High fives all round!
The migrants kept on coming at the state park later on, where this time we did find a Veery (which indeed was veery, veery nice!), and crippling views of Magnolia and Black-and-White Warblers. Also present was a single Royal Tern.
|Black-and-White Warbler, image courtesy of Kay|
After a short afternoon break to escape the heat of the day, the remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the Delaware Bay beaches. Fewer waders around than when I was here last year, obviously more Horseshoe Crabs had laid their eggs by then. But over at Reeds Beach plenty of gulls were feeding away on the Horseshoe Crab eggs that had already been laid and washed up.
|American Herring Gull|
Alas there was no sign of a Pro-tho, probably because of the weather conditions, but we did pick up a few birds such as some Savannah Sparrows, Downy Woodpecker, Indigo Bunting, Green Heron, Blue Grosbeak and warblers which included Yellow, Magnolia, Black-and-White and Northern Parula. A subsequent look around Higbee Beach revealed far fewer birds than the previous morning, talk about getting the timing right. But we did manage good views of Great Crested Flycatchers, a personal grip-back of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and more Scarlet Tanagers.
During the Higbee Beach walk, one of the guides recommended a walk around Cox Hall Creek, but I couldn't work out where it was. None of my books mentioned it. But asking at the Northwood Centre, it turns out it's also known as Villas. So the site hass been renamed, just like the RSPB do I suppose.
So now knowing where to go, with the name Cox Hall Creek we were expecting more saltmarshes and lagoons. But how wrong we were! In fact, this site used to be a golf course and is now a managed nature reserve, with a wonderful mixture of woodland, grassland and ponds. Birding highlights were cracking Chestnut-sided and Blackpoll Warblers, plenty of Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, a Wilson's Snipe, a flyover Northern Flicker, a Great Blue Heron stealthily fishing away and incredible views of a Blue Grosbeak. A brilliant afternoon walk, at a new site for me which was a complete and utter surprise.
|Great Blue Heron|
|Coming soon to Tad Bay!|
|A Swivel-eyed Loon. Sorry America, that won't make any sense to you whatsoever!|
|And time to foam at the mouth, Yellow-crowned Night Heron!!!|
Lots of boating goes on at Cape May. Whilst on the boat trip, I couldn't help but notice some of the names of the boats, and for a short while this took priority over birding. Some personal highlights were as follows:
|Carry on Boating! Barbara Windsor's boat?|
|Yes I still don't understand what "The Whole 9 Yards" means?|
|Now this one I can understand. A chap's escapism, just like a beloved allotment over here|
|But I shudder to think what happens on this boat!!!!|