Morning Flight – 19 August 2014

Today was light in the Morning Flight department. There weren't too many neotropical migrants present (but when can you have TOO many!?) and even fewer seemingly interested in flying for this counter. Flight direction was quite variable and across the board-- more on this below. House Finch led the trickle, and there was a small but present movement of shorebirds, swallows, and blackbirds.

       Weather and time: mostly clear; 64–77ºF; winds E at 10 mph; 20% cloud cover; visibility excellent; 0616 sunrise; 3.25 hours.
       Morning Flight Count totals

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  2
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)  7
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  4
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)  1
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)  29
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)  10
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  1
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)  1
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)  3
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  8
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)  1
warbler sp. (Parulinae sp.)  2
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)  28
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)  1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  48
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  3

Today's full list can be viewed at:

So where does the Morning Flight Project, sponsored by Swarovski Optik, take place?  At the diked impoundment at Higbee Beach WMA (Wildlife Management Area), or just the 'Higbee Dike' to those familiar with it.

As seen from space.......

Hey, that's better! Now we can see the Cape May penisula.

The birds and birders are really closing in now

Everything south of the Cape May canal, including the Coast Guard base around the harbor, is called Cape Island.

That gray slab of mud that the arrow points to is the impoundment, itself.

On days with favorable conditions the night before to bring nocturnal migrants to the area, most species counted at Morning Flight are heading north, often following the contours of ground features, and pass within about 200 meters of the counting location. The birds that are counted, at least, are within 200 meters. Birds are not limited to north-ward paths however, and on a day such as today a variety of flight directions were observed.

Which way will the birds be headed on your first visit?