Back east for a short visit with my friend Yvonne. I slept at Yvonne’s house in Stow Creek where I awoke to dismal skies offset by the cheering sound of a Carolina Wren. I checked out Yvonne’s feeders while she got her stuff together. Not much action due to the invading gray squirrel who has apparently developed the ability to eat safflower seeds while hanging upside down on her feeder. Yvonne told me that he dominated the feeder this winter after learning that trick as all the other squirrels had to right themselves to eat and this little guy could unseat them while they were upright. In addition to this trickster, a small mixed winter flock of Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinal, and Tufted Titmice visited the feeder. A shot walk down to the back yard pond yielded Mallard, Wood Duck, Canada Goose, a vocal Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a a pair of gorgeous Golden-crowned Kinglets. We could have stopped here as these guys turned out to be the best bird of the day, but, of course, we weren’t even in Cape May yet!
During the trip to Cape May, we made a few stops. The first was to enjoy a group of about 20 Wild Turkeys feeding in one of the fields by the road. A second stop was at the Mauricetown Bridge and the other at Jake’s Landing Road. Mauricetown yielded nothing while at Jake’s Landing, we saw a Great Blue Heron that gave us wonderful looks. An odd sight on the way back to 49 from Jake’s landing was a pair of Rhode Island reds along the road. Not really sure where they came from, but they sure were cute!
Our first stop in Cape May was Sunset Beach were we encountered Ring-billed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Red Throated Loon, DC Cormorant near the Concrete Ship. Stops at Lily Lake and the Point gave us a bunch of ducks, including Redhead Duck, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, American Coot, and Mute Swan. In addition to all the swimmers, we found American Robin (good to see that guy again!), Common Grackle, Turkey Vulture, Mourning Dove, American Crow, Fish Crow, Blue Jay, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Song Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, & Northern Mockingbird.
After lunch at my favorite Asian restaurant for lunch with Ron (can anyone say Roma Curry Tofu or is it Curry Roma Tofu?), Yvonne and I drove up to Forsythe NWR in Brigintine. On the way, we stopped at the Wetlands Institute and picked up Tree Swallow, Northern Harrier, Red Tail Hawk, & White-throated Sparrow. Forsythe was pretty bare except for lots of ducks, but we were able to add Brant to the day’s list. It was a pretty short trip as we weren’t allowed to travel ¾’s of the drive because of the controlled burn the rangers were doing. So we stayed around and watched them burn for a little while and then headed out. The number of species wasn’t bad for late March and it sure was great to bird with Yvonne again. Next time, it’s her turn to come to Tucson to bird!