Cape May Weekend

Date: Oct. 1-2, 2011

Location: Cape May, NJ and surrounding areas

Reported by: Joe Giunta

We started the trip at 9:00am on Saturday morning. Leaving from the Audubon Center on 23rd St. we took the van, making one stop along the way, and arrived at the Cape May Point State Park at about 1:30pm. This is the location of the world famous hawk watch. The weather conditions were excellent for a hawk flight. Many Merlins, Kestrels, Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks were flying over the platform. We also made note of few Peregrines and one Northern Harrier. We also saw a few duck species, egrets and herons from the platform. Overhead flew a number of both Royal and Forster’s Terns. After about two hours on the platform we walked the ponds on the ocean side. Here we saw some migrating Palm Warblers. We did an ocean view and we did see about four dolphins breaking water not too far out.

We left this venue and headed towards our motel, the Acacia. Our group made a stop just before turning into the hotel. We explored a marshy area that had some shorebirds and one of the highlights of the trip. From the end of this area and across the bay we were able to scope an adult Brown Booby. The bird has been at this location since hurricane Irene passed this area in August. It was a ‘lifer’ for almost everyone. The motel was very pleasant and its location right on the ocean made for a nice environment. We checked in and almost immediately left for our next venue which was the Wetlands Institute at Shone Harbor. Here we saw some Yellow-crowned Night-Herons as they left their roost area and headed out for an evening of feeding. The sun was starting to set and I want to get to dinner so we drove to the Lobster House which was back near our motel.

The next morning we were on the beach at 6:30am for sunrise over the ocean. We were also looking for birds and did pick up Sanderlings and Dunlin. Over the ocean we saw many Royal and Caspian Terns. After about one half hour we checked out of the hotel, picked up coffee and breakfast items and headed towards the warbler platform of Higbee Field. The warbler flight was very good and we would see 13 warbler species in and around Higbee Field. Many hawks and at least two Bald Eagles were flying overhead. At Higbee Field we also saw the “Big Three , namely Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole and Scarlet Tanager. We left Higbee Field and headed towards the CMBO (Cape May Bird Observatory) visitors center/nature store. Right outside of their building we had probably the highlight of the trip. About 200 feet from the entrance of CMBO we saw 7 Cape May Warblers in one tree at one time. With the Cape Mays were other warblers like Parula, Black-and-white and Blackpoll. There is nothing like seeing a Cape May warbler in Cape May. The bird was a ‘lifer’ for some in our group. After picking up some information brochures and books we headed back to Cape May Point SP and the hawk watch. The conditions were not as favorable as the previous day. We did see some hawks and an excellent view of a Green Heron. We left the tower and explored the trails and ponds on the landward side the tower. We tested out our identification skills on some eclipse plumage Blue-winged Teal and many American Wigeon. Another highlight of the trip occurred here as we had a beautiful Tennessee Warbler at eye-level only 10 feet away. No binoculars necessary!

We left Cape May Point SP, picked up some sandwiches and headed towards our last venue, Jakes Landing. This spot is known for sparrows and rails. In the winter time it’s a great spot for owls, especially Short-eared Owls. We tried to call in both the Seaside and Saltmarsh sparrows but all we got were two birds that popped up and then disappeared. The weather started to turn against us so we got back in the van and set the Tom-Tom for NYC. Just before we left this venue we saw a small flock of Palm Warblers and two perched adult Bald Eagles. They seemed to say “Glad you had a nice time, come back again next year”. We forced ourselves to leave this spot and head back to the city. We exited the van at 23rd St, NYC, at about 7pm. A great trip had by all!

Species Seen: 85

Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Booby
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Wild Turkey
Clapper Rail
Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Laughing Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
American Robin
Carolina Chickadee
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Boat-tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Birding the Andean Slopes: Northwest Ecuador

Date: January 11-21, 2013

Location: Northwest Ecuador and Surrounding Areas

Reported by: John Rowden


[b]Angel Paz Hummingbird[/b][br]© Gerry McGee

Photos courtesy Gerry McGee. See more of his photos here

NYC Audubon's International Travel Program offers participants the chance to visit destinations that are important to the Neotropical migrants that visit New York City during migration, as well as abundant native wildlife.

[b]Cuy Cocha[/b][br]© Gerry McGee

Eight intrepid birders visited northwestern Ecuador in January with NYC Audubon's Associate Director for Citizen Science and Outreach John Rowden, visiting a variety of habitats and seeing for themselves how incredibly rich this area is for avian biodiversity.

[b]Velvet Purple Coronet, Angel Paz, Ecuador[/b][br]© Gerry McGee

They visited both sides of the Andes, went as low as 500 meters above sea level and reached as high as 4,300 meters (over 14,000 feet) in altitude while visiting a variety of habitats from lowland Choco forest to cloud forest to paramo tundra.

[b]Masked Trogon, San Isidro, Ecuador[/b][br]© Gerry McGee

They saw 221 species during the trip, including the majestic andean condor, the gorgeous crested quetzal, and the raucous Inca jay. In addition, they saw a number of neotropical migratory species such as the blackburnian warbler, Swainson’s thrush and spotted sandpiper, a reminder of the incredible distances “our” New York City birds travel during migration and a joyful promise that we’ll all be seeing them again in a few short months.

[b]Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe[/b][br]© Gerry McGee


[b]Crimson-rumped Toucanet[/b][br]© Gerry McGee


Species Seen: 221

Pied-billed Grebe
Torrent Duck
Andean Teal
Yellow-billed Pintail
Andean Ruddy Duck
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Striated Heron
Cattle Egret
Black vulture
Turkey Vulture
Andean Condor
Swallow-tailed Kite
Plumbeous Kite
Bicolored Hawk
Roadside Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Variable Hawk
Black-chested Buzzard Eagle
American Kestrel
Common Gallinule
Andean Coot
Ecuadorian Rail
Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe
Spotted Sandpiper
Band-tailed Pigeon
Ruddy Pigeon
Eared Dove
Pallid Dove
White-tipped Dove
Common Ground-dove
Pacific Parrotlet
Red-billed Parrot
Striped cuckoo
Smooth-billed Ani
Rufous-banded Owl
Andean Potoo
White-collared Swift
Chesnut-collared Swift
Grey-rumped Swift
Speckled Hummingbird
White-whiskered Hermit
Tawny-bellied Hermit
White-necked Jacobin
Brown Violetear
Green Violetear
Sparkling Violetear
Shining Sunbeam
Tourmaline Sunangel
Gorgeted Sunangel
Black-tailed Trainbearer
Andean Emerald
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
Purple-chested Hummingbird
Purple-bibbed Whitetip
Fawn-breasted Brilliant
Empress Brilliant
Green-crowned Brilliant
Buff-winged Starfrontlet
Bronzy Inca
Brown inca
Collared Inca
Buff-tailed Coronet
Sword-billed Hummingbird
Chestnut-Breasted Coronet
Velvet-purple Coronet
Golden-breasted Puffleg
Booted Racket-tail
Long-tailed Sylph
Violet-tailed Sylph
Purple-crowned Fairy
Purple-throated Woodstar
White-bellied Woodstar
Green Thorntail
Tyrian Metaltail
Ecuadorian Hillstar
Crested Quetzal
Golden-headed Quetzal
Western White-tailed Trogon
Masked Trogon 
Toucan Barbet 
Crimson-rumped Toucanet
Emerald Toucanet
Pale-mandibled Araçari
Plate-billed Mountain Toucan
Golden-olive Woodpecker
Crimson-mantled Woodpecker
Smoky-brown Woodpecker 
Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Tyrannine Woodcreeper
Strong-billed Woodcreeper
Black-striped Woodcreeper
Olive-backed Woodcreeper
Spotted Woodcreeper
Streak-headed Woodcreeper
Montane Woodcreeper 
Pacific Hornero
Azara's Spinetail
Red-faced Spinetail
Andean Tit-Spinetail
White-chinned Thistletail
Pearled Treerunner
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner
Stout-billed Cinclodes
Bar-winged Cinclodes
Many-striped Canastero
Long-tailed Antbird 
White-bellied Antpitta
Tawny Antpitta
Sooty-headed Tyrannulet
Golden-faced Tyrannulet
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Sierran Elaenia
Yellow-bellied Elaenia
White-tailed Tyrannulet
White-banded Tyrannulet
Torrent Tyrannulet
Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant
Yellow Tyrannulet
Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher
Ornate Flycatcher
Cinnamon Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Smoke-colored Pewee
Paramo Ground-Tyrant
Masked Water-Tyrant
Black Phoebe
Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant
Brown-backed Chat-Tyrant
Pale-edged Flycatcher
Subtropical Doradito
Rusty-margined Flycatcher
Social Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Barred Becard
Vermillion Flycatcher
Red-crested Cotinga
Olivaceous Piha
Andean Cock-of-the-rock
Inca Jay
Turquoise Jay
Black-billed Peppershrike
Red-eyed Vireo
Brown-capped Vireo
Swainson's thrush
Great Thrush
Glossy-black Thrush
Ecuadorian Thrush
Black-billed Thrush
White-capped Dipper
Brown-bellied Swallow
Blue-and-white Swallow
White-thighed Swallow
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
Mountain Wren
Grey-breasted Wood-Wren
Sedge Wren
Black-and-white Warbler
Tropical Parula
Blackburnian Warbler
Canada Warbler
Slate-throated Whitestart
Spectacled Whitestart
Black-crested Warbler
Russet-crowned Warbler
Capped Conebill
Blue-backed Conebill
Cinereous Conebill
Guira Tanager
Golden-rumped Euphonia
Orange-bellied Euphonia
Thick-billed Euphonia
Masked Flowerpiercer
White-sided Flowerpiercer
Fawn-breasted Tanager
Blue-and-yellow Tanager
Golden Tanager
Silver-throated Tanager
Saffron-crowned Tanager
Bay-headed Tanager
Metalic-green Tanager
Blue-necked Tanager
Golden-naped Tanager
Blue-and-black Tanager
Scrub Tanager
Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager
Hooded Mountain-Tanager
Blue-gray Tanager
Palm Tanager
Black-capped Tanager
Lemon-rumped Tanager
Summer Tanager
White-lined Tanager
Grass-green Tanager
Common Bush-Tanager
Yellow-throated Bush-Tanager
Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager
Yellow-faced Grassquit
Southern-yellow Grosbeak
Pale-naped Brush-finch
Slaty Brush-finch
White-winged Brush-finch
Lesser Seed-Finch
Variable Seedeater
Black-and-white Seedeater
Yellow-bellied Seedeater
Orange-billed Sparrow
Yellow-browed Sparrow
Rufous-collared Sparrow
Saffron Finch
Plumbeous Sierra Finch
Ash-breasted Sierra Finch
Shiny Cowbird
Russet-backed Oropendola
Subtropical Cacique
Hooded Siskin
Yellow-bellied Siskin


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