Thursday, May 13, 2010

from southern New Jersey

I had three days in Cape May and southern New Jersey - 1 1/2 days of beautiful, sunny weather, and 1 1/2 days of gray overcast and drizzle.  I'll come back to the nice days in future posts after I've had more time to sort the photos. For now, a few samples from a gray day at Brigantine (Forsyth NWR).

First an observation. On Monday and Tuesday the number of shorebirds was very small, and at the famous Reeds Beach where so many feed on the horseshoe crabs, there were none - zero - on Monday. Then Wednesday morning I began with a drive across Nummy Island: the shorebirds arrived overnight or early morning. There were thousands feeding in the marshy puddles of the island.

The same was true at Brigantine. In spite of the gray day and poor light, the birding was good.

Willets did not just arrive, however. They are well into their courtship and breeding cycle, chasing across the marshes with "pee - will - willet, pee - will - willet." This one was attending to its good grooming - bathing and preening.


Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, both yellowlegs, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated & Black-bellied Plovers, Whimbrels - all were present in large numbers. Focus here is on the Ruddy Turnstone, with Dunlin nearby ...


Four tern species were busy with their courtship - Common, Forster's, Gull-billed, and Caspian. This Forster's Tern was busy flying the channels and fishing, proving that he could be a good provider for the lady nearby ...


One highlight of the day was the American Bittern, which I do not see every year and seldom see very well ...


Good birding!

4 comments:

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Awesome captures in today's post.

Cindy said...

Great shots and great patience. Hope they have nmoved north and are still around this weekend. Goind out to Jamaica Bay tomorrow.

Angie said...

Great shots and I love the first one.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Chris. This reminded me of a visit to Brigantine (Sept 2003). I don't recall seeing Willet or Bittern but there was plenty to keep me occupied and I probably added over a dozen lifers in 2 or 3 hours. FAB.

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