Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welcome to Jersey

Well I know that I've been remiss in posting to my blog over the past nine months or so...  I have lots of excuses, but I won't waste space and time listing them.  At least initially, I will attempt to give a weekly update of the season out here in Cape May, New Jersey.  I'm the designated counter at the Avalon Seawatch, which has been run for over fifteen years by New Jersey Audubon.  
I arrived out here late on the 19th and I've spent the last couple of days unpacking and getting a feel for the area.  The weather has been pretty nice thus far as evidenced by this quite worn Red-spotted Purple (above) still hanging on.  The birding has been fairly good with a decent push of passerines which includes a nice mix of neotropical migrants and mid-range, later migrants (Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Palm and Myrtle Warbler) just beginning.  I've been impressed with the skill level of many of the birders here.  Just this morning I continued to learned more about identifying passerines in flight in the not-so-shabby company of Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis (both professional bird guides, illustrators, and authors)!
I begin the official seabird count tomorrow morning at Avalon, about 20 miles north of the southern tip of New Jersey.  Dan Berard (the swing counter), and Jon Kauffman (the interpretive naturalist) and I went up to the point and were given instructions and issued our equipment by our bosses.  Not too many waterbird moving today, but a semi-early adult Bonaparte's Gull, a pair of male Black Scoters, and a couple of Black Skimmers kept us interested during our hour of watching.  I'll leave you with this very interesting looking spider that I found while walking in the dunes near Higbee Beach yesterday...