Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cape May 11/11-White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove
The day started and ended with rare doves.

With almost all the birding spots from Sandy Hook down to Brigantine off limits due to extreme storm  damage, it seemed like the closest place we could go birding was to drive 80 miles down to Cape May. Some interesting birds were being reported there, as always, and we were both antsy to go somewhere, having been pretty much confined to our backyard (which Shari defines as the 11,000 acre WMA behind the house) since Sandy hit.

Our first stop was going to be Cape May Point State Park, but no sooner did we pull into the parking lot did I see small contingents of birders hurrying out of the park. Something was obviously up and when I heard a woman on her cell mention White-winged Dove, we trailed behind. A couple of blocks outside the park, near the corner of Lehigh and Lincoln, beneath a feeder, we were able to see, with no difficulty this southern dove. Not a life bird, but we hadn't seen one since our Arizona trip 3 1/2 years ago. There's something about Lincoln Avenue and doves: back in April, on the same block, we saw a Eurasian Collared-Dove, and today, on our 2nd trip back to Lincoln Avenue we saw 2, right across the street from the yard where the White-winged Dove (above) had relocated. Apparently, there were 3 EUCD's yesterday on Lincoln, but a Cooper's Hawk came along and reduced the population.

We had gone back to Lincoln because it was a white-winged kind of day. Having seen a White-winged Scoter from the dune crossings along Harvard Avenue, we were hoping to add White-winged Crossbill to the day list. A number had been reported in that general area but we weren't able to find any today.

It isn't everyday you get to see 4 dove species in New Jersey--we also saw Mourning Doves (one on a wire along Lincoln, naturally) and a couple of Rock Pigeons at the state park. It is a bit of a stretch--Rock Pigeons used to be called Rock Doves until it was decided by some committee that for the sake of consistency, in the Columbidae family, doves were small and pigeons large (I don't know where the cutoff is) so the Rock Dove, which everyone called a pigeon anyway, went back to being one.

Ducks and other waterfowl were the largest contingent of species today, which is not surprising since we spent most of our time looking at water. Aside from the scoter, we had 11 species of ducks, including our FOS Buffleheads, plus there were also Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots.

In the skies it is always a treat to see a Bald Eagle from the Hawkwatch, a Cooper's Hawk was whooshing about the state park, in the meadows we had a couple of Northern Harriers hunting plus a Merlin.

It was another Heinz day: 57 varieties. It is spooky how often that number comes up after a full day of birding.
Species                       First Sighting
Canada Goose           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Mute Swan           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Gadwall           CM Hawkwatch Platform
American Wigeon           Lily Lake
American Black Duck           Cape May Meadows
Mallard           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Northern Shoveler           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Northern Pintail           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Green-winged Teal           Cape May Meadows
Ring-necked Duck           Lily Lake
Lesser Scaup           CM Hawkwatch Platform
White-winged Scoter           Coral Ave dune crossing
Bufflehead           Cape May Meadows
Ruddy Duck           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Pied-billed Grebe           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Double-crested Cormorant           Lily Lake
Great Blue Heron           Cape May Meadows
Great Egret           Cape May Meadows
Turkey Vulture           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Northern Harrier           Cape May Meadows
Cooper's Hawk           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Bald Eagle           CM Hawkwatch Platform
American Coot           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Sanderling           Coral Ave dune crossing
Ring-billed Gull           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Great Black-backed Gull           Cape May Meadows
Rock Pigeon           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Eurasian Collared-Dove           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt
White-winged Dove           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt
Mourning Dove           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Downy Woodpecker           Lily Lake
Northern Flicker           Cape May Meadows
Merlin           Cape May Meadows
Blue Jay           Coral Ave dune crossing
American Crow           Lily Lake
Tree Swallow           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Carolina Chickadee           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Red-breasted Nuthatch           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
White-breasted Nuthatch           CMBO Northwood Center
Carolina Wren           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Golden-crowned Kinglet           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
American Robin           Cape May SP--entrance
Gray Catbird           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Northern Mockingbird           Cape May SP--entrance
European Starling           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Yellow-rumped Warbler           CM Hawkwatch Platform
Chipping Sparrow           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Savannah Sparrow           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Song Sparrow           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
White-throated Sparrow           Cape May SP--entrance
Dark-eyed Junco           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Northern Cardinal           Harvard Ave, Cape May Pt
Red-winged Blackbird           Cape May Meadows
Purple Finch           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt
House Finch           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt
American Goldfinch           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt
House Sparrow           Lincoln Ave, Cape May Pt

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