Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ivory Gull in Cape May, Nov 28th

Recovering from a late night the previous day I made it down to Cape May in the afternoon in search of the immature Ivory Gull that had been present for 2 days in Cape May harbor. I saw it even before I locked the car, at the Bree-Zee-Lee yacht basin along the north side of Cape May harbor. It flew around almost constantly during the few hours I was there, perhaps searching for scraps on the high tide, although it had been seen feeding on a fish that same morning. I grabbed more than a few snaps, of which six are at .

(Edit: still present as of Nov 30th, first discovered Nov 27th)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mixed feelings about raptors

Returning from South Amboy, I was unloading the wood I'd bought from the car when I noticed a Chickadee alarm call and something moving in my spruce patch. After grabbing the binoculars I was able to watch an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk eat a sparrow (probably White-throated) it had apparently just caught. Took it about 10-15 minutes to get most of the way through it.

Such is the nature of feeders - I attract birds and the small passerines attract raptors. This is the first raptor actually *on* the property, so it would be helpful if it was just passing through since I wasn't planning on maintaining a raptor feeding station. The feeders have yet to become very active, perhaps in part because of the warmer weather, but probably also because of the better seed crop this year - at least judging from the number of acorns littering my back lawn.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Black Brant, Western Grebe at South Amboy

Disinclined to chase the Pink-footed Goose on Long Island, I decided to try and find the Western Grebe that has been hanging out in the Raritan Bay the last few winters, preferably in NJ waters. So I made one of my periodic trips to Raritan Bay Waterfront Park in South Amboy.

First thing I did find was an adult Black Brant in the ball fields amongst a flock of Atlantic Brant. While getting bad photos if it (e.g. I bumped into Tom Burke and Gail Benson who told me where the Western Grebe was (1/2 mile west of the park) so after the Brant left for more distant fields I spent the next hour or so scanning the water for the grebe and not finding it. I left for a while to look for Kittiwakes at Sandy Hook (not found) and returned to look for it again, when I found it within 5 minutes in the early afternoon.

Not much else on the bay, a few Bufflehead, one Red-breasted Merganser, both loons, and a few fly-by Cormorants.