Friday, June 3, 2011

Cape May Point State Park, NJ 2011.06.01

There is a great diversity of species in one of the best parks for birding in the U.S. right now: glossy ibis, great egret, snowy egret, great blue heron, red-winged blackbird, mute swan, mallards, turkey vulture, Canada goose and their chicks, nesting least terns, Forster's terns, numerous gulls and many small birds in the brush that fly far too fast for me to identify.

Glossy ibis seem to be plentiful this summer as compared to last. Not only did I see a flock of at least a dozen with two snowy egrets in a small pond near the back of the red trail, but I've consistently seen them flying over the Garden State Parkway en route to the numerous marshland areas.  (If you're not from the tri-state area, South Jersey is largely rural with vast marshlands in the southernmost areas.)

I took my hike during the worst possible time for photography (11:00 a.m. through noon) but still managed a few shots:

[JPG] IMG_3772

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Though generally skittish, snowy egrets will tolerate human presence if they're hungry and there's a lot of food around.  I photographed this snowy for at least 20 minutes and he clearly stared right at me here without flying off.

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Though tough to see here, that's a blue damselfly in the egret's beak.  That gives you an idea of how quickly these manic hunters can move.  Click on the photo to see the larger version on my flickr account.

[JPG] IMG_3821

2011.06.01  Red-winged Blackbird
Birders know that the red-winged blackbird is the real sign that spring is in the air, as opposed to robins which tend to winter in PA and NJ.  These small birds have the most distinctive call I have ever heard.  It almost sounds electronic.

2011.06.01 Resting Terns
Forster's terns hanging out on the pier on the pond.  They are not afraid of humans. They're smart enough to know that they are much quicker and faster than any human outside of Kenya.  Also an intelligent species, researchers believe that their migration is governed by internal sensors attuned to the Earth's electromagnetic field.