Saturday, October 02, 2010

Cape May - Friday

The disaster that was Friday started for me on Thursday evening, when a chap decided it would be fun/clever/entertaining to overturn, in a single vehicle accident, an aircraft refuelling tanker at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. To cut a very long story short, this led to Helen spending the night alone in Baltimore, whereas I spent a much curtailed night at a hotel 20 miles from Chicago airport before catching the 06:40 to fly over and join her.

We learned on Friday, having driven round to lots of IBA's (Important Birding Areas), that we still need nonetheless to visit Audubon reserves and nature preserves. We didn't find a single reserve in all the areas we travelled to, we did however stop briefly along the coastal highway south of Atlantic City on the New Jersey Coastline having seen some birds through the houses we were passing.

First bird of the holiday (and last it turned out later) was a Laughing Gull in non-breeding plumage:



Note the red tip to the bill:



A Herring Gull:



Greater Yellowlegs:



and one of my favourite birds, the Great White Egret:



seen here alongside a Marbled Godwit:



And flying past, a Forster's Tern:


As well as these birds we regularly saw Turkey Vultures and Starlings on our travels, the latter in huge flocks swirling together above grasslands and swamps alike.
We decided to cut our losses and head back to our motel, which I won't recommend as while pleasant enough it was dated, we didn't get the room we'd booked despite having that confirmed months in advance, though they still charged us the same rate and they were generally very tight (e.g. no coffee for the coffee machine, etc.).
If you decide to visit Cape May I recommend you join the New Jersey Audubon Society and also research the Cape May Birding Observatory as the maps and information they provide will really help you structure and fill your weekend.

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