On our last morning in Cape May, we decided to bird for a little while around Cape May Point State Park and then begin heading back towards PA. The state park was loaded with birds, not surprisingly. Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere, allowing me to take some very up-close photos as they foraging in the low vegetation along the dunes. Ruby-crowned Kinglets and various sparrow species were also present in large numbers. Many Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawk patrolled overhead, waiting for a chance to grab a warbler. Northern Flickers shot past overhead in good numbers.
After about two hours (and after feeling defeated that we couldn’t find the Eurasian Wigeons that had been reported recently) we decided to drive over to the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Northwood Center to see what interesting items they had for sale. On the way over, we spotted some Eurasian Collared-Doves perched on telephone wires and stopped to watch them for a few minutes. Once we arrived at the center, we hadn’t been there for more than five minutes when I got a text alert saying someone had found a Lark Sparrow at Cape May Point State Park. The three of us quickly got back in the car and raced down the road, back to the park. Two other birders arrived at the same time we did, and the five of us spent quite a while searching for this western sparrow. After a while, it was clear the there had been a mis-identification, as one of the many Chipping Sparrows had some odd plumage characteristics that could have been mistaken for a Lark Sparrow. I still didn’t mind the false alarm though, because I was able to photograph a Bay-breasted Warbler at insanely close range.
We then back our way north and towards PA. A quick stop at Nummy’s Island produced a nice assortment of shorebirds as well as some close looks at a few Nelson’s Sparrows. One our way home, Drew called me to say that there was a Brant in Chester County, PA that wouldn’t be too far out of our way, so we swung past and picked that up as well as finding a Surf Scoter on the same lake. Our Cape May trip had come to a very nice end, with a total of 142 species found by the three of us during our three days in the state.