We had heard of a few Black Terns hanging around near the Concrete Ship just off Sunset Beach in Cape May and decided we would try to add them to our 30 new life birds of the trip (what fun being an inexperienced birder can be sometimes!). Not only did we see one but Six Black Tern gathered. We later saw a close fly by of a Black Tern near the Hawk Watch platform.
The ‘Sanderling Dance’ is almost soothing as you watch these little birds chase the waves in and out like young children experiencing the beach for the first time. It seems hypnotic in its ebb and flow and I found it hard to stop watching.
We had just sat down to eat. The Blue Pig (a favorite local restaurant of ours) was just bringing us our Filet and Crab cakes when I decided to check the rare bird alert on my internet ready phone. It was just after 6 PM and birders usually post their sightings for the day around that time. Even as new birders I knew the Say’s Phoebe listed on the alert was rare for the area and time and would be a great sighting for us. ‘Can we take Filet to go?’ I asked. Jeanette’s look told me that finishing the steak might be a better idea. I quickly ate and herded Jeanette towards the car and the Meadows full of steak and sans Mosquito repellent hoping that we beat the sunset and still had a chance that the bird was still around. I walked quickly towards the dunes leading to the beach hoping to find the bird near the fence it was earlier spotted on. As I got closer I saw three people (one with a very large camera) talking and I hoped were discussing the phoebe. ‘Any luck?’ I asked. They replied that it had been around since around noon and as recent as 5 minutes ago was on a fence post about 4 feet away posing for pictures. However, as they had their fill of viewing and pictures had ‘lost track’ of its current location. I quickly panned the beach and its fences as Jeanette walked up and joined the hunt. As it usually goes, Jeanette spotted a bird hopping along the coast of a small pool of water just off to the right of us. We all got on the bird and happily confirmed its identity. We were further granted with confirmation when the bird flew to a fence post close by and showed off its buffy breast color. Pictures weren’t great due to a setting sun and the birds “activity” levels. The gentleman who found the bird earlier in the day (I never got his name but a very nice guy) was one of the guys still there and he was happy to have been able to help us find the phoebe. So were we. 🙂 We came back and looked the next day hoping for a repeat performance but it was not to be. The bird of our vacation for sure.