Morning Flight - Sunday, September 9, 2018

It was an extra-rainy and windswept day this morning with 20 mph gusts of ENE winds blasting over the top of the dike. A pair of Common Nighthawks were the first birds of the dawn, and they were moving north with a very “get out of dodge” kind of feel. Although it wasn’t captured by any official count, we observed a good movement of Common Nighthawks on Friday night across Cape May, with ~470 seen. Our Migration Count Coordinator Tom Reed is now writing daily summaries of birds seen across Cape May, so if you like reading the blogs, you might be interested to keep up with these posts as well!

Some Northern Waterthrushes zipped and bounded around the dike, and a large Cedar Waxwing flock and a Scarlet Tanager were good bonus birds. The undoubted highlight of the day came when seven Hudsonian Godwits showed up! First reported by Mike Lanzone from the point, we picked up on these birds as they headed north over the Delaware Bay but then they cut east and flew low right over the dike! They even gave interaction calls as they went along before disappearing out of view (I wondered if they had maybe landed on the far side, but I checked the eastern impoundments after I got done counting, and they weren’t there). Shortly after that, we had a split-second look at a White-winged Dove that shot south across the gap before going behind tree cover and down the dune line! Even though the weather has been poor for producing morning flights, there’s almost always something great to see in Cape May.

Thanks to young birders Jordan and Kyle Gallagher for sticking it out with me on the dike in tough conditions, and especially to Jordan for spotting the godwits! It was great to share the experience of watching those champions of extreme migration with y’all!

As always, you can find the link to the official count on Trektellen here and the complete eBird checklist here.

Bring on Day 41!

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