I stopped by Garret Mountain on my way home from work around 330-4 PM and was surprised at the nice variety of birds around. In fact my best single day for total numbers of Warbler species all spring. Got to see my FOS (First of Spring) Lincoln’s Sparrow and a beautiful Orchard Oriole and racked up 19 warbler species that were rather low in the trees probably on account of the wind. Not many birds calling (it was early afternoon) and I definitely noticed the thicker leave cover than just a week or two ago. Lost a few birds without seeing an exit due to this including the Blackburnian Warbler. Weather was nice and no bugs around. Also heard two Great Horned Owls calling to each other on Wilson Road as I was leaving. What a treasure Garret is!
Cape May is one of the truly special birding locations in New Jersey and Jeanette and I got to spend a week enjoying it. Some inclement weather (a Nor’easter blowing 70mph winds and heavy rain) didn’t dampen our spirits and we birded through most of it determined to get the most out of our time there. Mornings at Higbee and trips to Belleplain and Heislerville filled in when we weren’t at some of the great local spots like the Meadows, Villas, Beanery and Point State Park. Although we weren’t an “official” team we gave the personal “big day” thing a try and saw 105 species on World Series day in Cape May county. We also did okay with some new birds for us like White-winged Dove and Iceland Gull and had 25 species of warbler with great looks at Cape May Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler. It was also great to see some of the local birding faces again and share birding stories since the last time we met. Cape May is truly a “magical” place and we felt lucky to find it within our borders.
Although the day was overcast and slightly cool the birding sure wasn’t! Warblers were everywhere as there had obviously been a good flight the night before (possible aided by that mentioned bad weather). We walked into Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Northern Parula, and glided right through Common Yellow-throat, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-White Warbler, and Prairie Warblers. A single Nashville Warbler and 2 male Blackburnian Warblers stole the show as it was Jeanette and my first good “Spring” look at the orange-throated beauties. Some other birds seen were Black-throated Blue Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-winged Warbler and Magnolia Warblers and American Redstart. Ovenbird, BaltimoreOriole and Orchard Orioles, and Scarlet Tanagers rounded up what was an amazing morning of Spring birding at Garrett Mt.