New Jersey Birding – Part 2

On Sunday morning, November 21st, we started off the day by going to Reed’s Beach in Cape May. It was pretty slow and there wasnt too much around, but we did find 5 Boat-tailed Grackles perched in the top of a tree.

Boat-tailed Grackle

Next, we drove over to the Cape May Hawk Watch at Cape May Point State Park. They were having a fairly slow day as far as actual raptors migrating out of Cape May and crossing the Delaware Bay, but plenty of raptors were soaring around. The highlight of the morning was a sub-adult Golden Eagle that first appeared to the northeast, soaring and slowly made its way a bit closer to us for some good looks. Other raptors seen included Red-tailed Hawks (even the famous leucistic one named Lucy that has been hanging around Cape May Point for a while, check out a picture of her here), Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, a Peregrine Falcon, Red-shouldered Hawks, Northern Harriers, and both vultures. We also searched through the large flock of waterfowl at the various ponds around the state park in hopes of finding one or both of the Eurasian Wigeons that had been reported there on and off for quite a while. We were not able to find them, but it was nice to see the other ducks at close range.

Golden Eagle (sub-adult); note retained inner tail feathers

Sharp-shinned Hawk (juvenile)


Northern Shoveler

Drew Weber drove down to Cape May and joined us for some birding for the rest of the day, until a report of the Anna’s Hummingbird in PA sent him back. The whole gang, with Drew now included, drove over to the Nummy Island area. Shorebirds were present in good numbers, but they were WAY out on a mudflat, so could only be seen “well” through a scope. New trip birds here included Willet, American Oystercatcher, Semipalmated Plover, and Marbled Godwit. We then made the quick jump over to Stone Harbor Point to search the dunes for Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. However, out over the ocean hundreds of Northern Gannets, Red-throated Loons, and scoters were migrating past which distarcted me while everyone else continued to search the dunes…, I ended up missing the 15 or so Snow Buntings that Drew, Josh, and Tim found. Luckily both Josh and Tim needed Snow Bunting as a life bird. I was pretty content with seeing the gannets and loons though. There were also some shorebirds on the beach that let me get in close for some photos.

Northern Gannet

Semipalmated Plover

Check back here for New Jersey Birding – Part 3!