Seawatch - 9 October 2014

Observation time: 0558 - 1839
Observer: Skye Haas

Species counted:
Canada Goose - 2
Brant - 20
Wood Duck - 24
Blue-winged Teal - 5
Northern Pintail - 19
Green-winged Teal - 58
Ring-necked Duck - 6
Dabbler sp. - 6
Duck sp. - 18
Surf Scoter - 2
Black Scoter - 17
Common Loon - 2
Northern Gannet - 5
Double-crested Cormorant - 1705
Great Cormorant - 4
Great Blue Heron - 25
Laughing Gull - 104
Great Black-backed Gull - 26
Caspian Tern - 2
Forster's Tern - 160
Royal Tern - 53
Parasitic Jaeger - 38
Jaeger sp. - 1
American Oystercatcher - 43
Black-bellied Plover - 69
Semipalmated Plover - 10
Sanderling - 45
Western Sandpiper - 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 4
Least Sandpiper - 1
Calidris sp. -12
Ruddy Turnstone - 2

Total: 2,489

A note from Skye:
Today was a mixed bag at the Seawatch; again, our primary count species were somewhat low, though the ducks and comorants began to sneak back up. Also of interest in the waterfowl department, were a few small flocks of Brant were seen in the AM. But overall the waterbirds were not kicking and the afternoon really dragged on with very little moving in the hot southwest winds. However in the last two hours of the count the Royal Terns made quite the push and with them brought a second act to the Jaeger show with 33 Jaegers migrating by in 80 minutes! This brought our overall two day total to 93 Jaegers- a number that is not even reached over the course of entire seasons in some years. 

However the big news from the seawatch was a bird that took me by surprise for its rarity. Many passerines were flying off the ocean in the morning and one of the bird that came flying past me was a Meadowlark. As it passed it made a couple of low-pitched "tuck" calls. Cool I think, a Western Meadowlark... Well as it turns out, this is the first time a Western Meadowlark has been documented for Cape May County with less than ten records for New Jersey! Shocking for place that that has THREE Whiskered Tern records, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Black Swift and the Zone-tailed Hawk from just last week, but that's the wonderful, wacky world of birding! Everything is rare somewhere. Except for Spoon-billed Sandpipers- they are rare everywhere.

Here is a list of the non-waterbirds from today:
Turkey Vulture- 11, Bald Eagle- 1, Rock Pigeon- 14, Mourning Dove- 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker- 2, Northern Flicker- 6, Peregrine Falcon- 2, Northern Rough-winged Swallow- 3, Tree Swallow- 1200, Red-breasted Nuthatch- 1, Carolina Wren- 1, American Robin- 3, Northern Mockingbird- 4, European Starling- 8, Common Yellowthroat- 2, Palm Warbler- 11, Yellow-rumped Warbler- 6, warbler sp- 9, Northern Cardinal- 2, Eastern Towhee- 1 (seen flying off the ocean midday, a very odd sight!), Chipping Sparrow- 1, Savannah Sparrow- 3, Song Sparrow- 1, Swamp Sparrow- 1, White-throated Sparrow- 7, WESTERN MEADOWLARK- 1, meadowlark sp- 3, Red-winged Blackbird- 64, Boat-tailed Grackle- 6, House Finch- 4, House Sparrow- 8

Parasitic Jaeger chasing a Royal Tern. [Photo by Mike Kilpatrick.]

Western Meadowlark. [Photo by Skye Haas.]

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