The smallest bird in NJ outside of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is a joy to watch. Loaded with energy and efficiency they hop quickly through the bushes usually without even noticing they are being watched. This one may have as he flashed his “Ruby crown” which most often isn’t seen. They “display” when excited as I understand it. This morning closed the trip in style landing us all three of our target birds within a two hour period. Three Rusty Blackbirds, five Pine Siskins and calling American Pipits ended the weekend on a high. The Cape May Fall Festival was a great time even with the inclement weather. We totaled 13 new Life Birds with the highlight being the Red Crossbill.
The most plentiful bird of the weekend we saw hundreds of these guys. The chip call becomes old hat and you become accustomed to seeing them at every birding location. Pete Dunne said on our birding walk with him at the Meadows, “Everyone gets to be an expert today…Look up call Yellow-rumped Warbler and 98% of the time you will be right…” We really liked this little guy who stood and looked at Jeanette as curiously as we at him.
An all wet Friday and start of Saturday had Jeanette looking for “alternate” birding avenues. We decided we would try for the Red Crossbill that was being seen in northern Cape May county. While it was still raining when we got there our spirits were quickly lifted when not 3 minutes after we arrived the Crossbill appeared on one of the Nature Conservancy feeders! Many pictures were taken and we enjoyed the moment with our birding friends, and fellow “bird whisperers” Jim and Vicky. The bird was seen at around 10:45 am and was there off-and-on until we left at approx. 11:30 am.
This bird was coming in and out of the shrubbery around the Hawkwatch platform and Paul Lehman was announcing its arrival every time for each new group of birders to see. Only our second Dickcissel. Last one was on May 12th at Higbee beach so it was a welcome site to close out the rainy, wet day.
Just kicking the tires a bit with our new Canon 40D. This shot was dark so I lightened it slightly but this is no where close to what the camera and its 100-400mm lens can do. Should be a fun weekend in Cape May!
Our favorite Hawk Watch is the Scott’s Mountain version. With classy and kind raptor veterans like Henry, Paul, Rich among others, the Scott’s Mountain variety makes new comers welcome. The Merrill creek reservoir gives other distractions and the birds funnel through in an easy to view fashion. This Bald Eagle was a local and spun around a few times for our viewing pleasure.
This is another bird who’s call you hear and don’t forget. This Belted Kingfisher was sitting dead center in a pond in town when he decided to move to a tree right next to me so I could get a better look.