Friday, May 15, 2009

On the Way to Cape May...

Why is it I plan such lengthy trips to far away places to try and see new things when I haven't visited many of the attractions that are so near to me? I have lived in Pennsylvania all my life,
30+ of those years in southeastern Pa. and yet I have never taken the time to visit Cape May, New Jersey!! ...not until this past weekend! In a little over two hours we were pulling into the parking lot to join a bird walk.
Our bird walk was meeting at the Migratory Bird Refuge, which is near Cape May Point State Park, at 7:30 am. We arrived a little early and met some of the other birders including our bird walk leader Pete Dunne, a well-known author and expert on birds and birding.

We were heading out to the beach to visit some nesting Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers. The weather was over cast and a little rainy but comfortable. We were visited by a few Meadowlarks and several terns as we walked toward the beach.

A beautiful Great White Egret met us as we approached the top of the dunes.

We were lucky to see many different shore birds, along with those that were nesting...but the bird that created all the high fives and ya-hooing by our group was the Swallow-tail Kite. Three of them gracefully soared over our heads as we stood and watched in awe. They are small hawks, black and white with blue-black under parts. A very striking bird and apparently one that is not seen too often in Cape May.
Upon spotting them one of our bird leaders was instantly 'twittering' the info ..telling ALL that not ONE but THREE Swallow-tails had been spotted!! A record for Cape May birders!!
After the excitement of the Swallow-tails we were graced by the appearance of this Little Blue Heron. An immature in transition, but oh, what beautiful blue-blacks and gray hues against those heron whites! He was with two other Little Blues but he was definitely the most attractive one!
and when I looked down into the water near the board walk, I spotted this Least Sandpiper quietly getting its breakfast..what a name, I wouldn't want to be called least..
As we were ending our bird walk we came across a lake filled with Mute swans! Several families were paddling around together...

Mom was demonstrating how to forage the lake's bottom for food but several of the little ones still seemed a little puzzled about the whole process.

20 comments:

Shellmo said...

The egret and that juvenile heron were especially beautiful! What a great place to bird! Laughed at those little swan babies looking at the water - they did seem a little confused - lol!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Lucky you.This sounds like a lot of fun.Great birds.
Blessings,Ruth

The Early Birder said...

What a great place to go birding Tina & worth the effort. It brought back good memories for me & I also rubbed shoulders with Pete D during a holiday some years ago but in the Autumn.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Lucky you Tina! I went to Cape May last October and hearing about the places you went sure brings back the memories! You saw such amazing birds too. Your Swallow tail Kite pix are terrific.
The goslings are too cute.

George said...

It sounds as if you had a great experience at Cape May. Your pictures of the Swallow-tail Kite are beautiful and I like the little swans as well. A great post.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful Tina... I am so glad you got to go... I thought at one time you were going with Barb to the West Va. one..

How long will you be there???? I am so envious. Have fun and take lots and lots of pictures.
Hugs,
Betsy

NCmountainwoman said...

Beautiful photographs. Everyone I know comes away from Cape May totally amazed at the birds they see there.

Chris said...

Very nice Tina. I love the swan family shots. It looks like you got a very good time there.

Bird Girl said...

A simply WONDERFUL post, Tina! That shot of the white egret is spectacular! Funny how l-o-n-g his toes go down the fence! And that Kite - who could MISS that TAIL! You captured him perfectly in flight - bravo!!! I so enjoyed the Mute Swans having a lesson with their mom! And last but not LEAST (pun intended;-) Your sandpiper picture is so nice and I love the pretty feathers! You lucky duck to meet up with Pete Dunne!!!

fishing guy said...

Tina: What a really neat show of all the birds, you got some nice photos from the trip.

dAwN said...

Cape May????? Cape May????? OMG are you still there? we are just a ferry ride away and will be there tommorow afternoon for five days!
Omgoodness three swallow tailed kites! Wow...
if you are still around give me a shout..would love to bird with you!

Neal said...

Very interesting Tina. I really need to get into taking bird pictures. Wish I could have gone with you to that place. :)

T and S said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time going by your images.

The images of the great white and the swallow tailed kite flight shot are my favorite.

jalynn01 said...

Birding trips can be so much fun! Loved your photos...the swans and babies were so cute. I've never been there, but have heard it is a great birding place and by the looks of your pix I would say they are right.

troutbirder said...

What a wonderful outing. Wish I could have been there!

Abe Lincoln said...

This is a very nice adventure for you all. Nice photos.

Gobsmacked

Craig Glenn said...

Great Adventure Tina! I am so happy for you. Very exciting birds you captured as well.

Craig Glenn

Eve said...

What a great time Tina! You must have been thrilled to be there!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely series of photos, especially the egret!

Leedra said...

It does seem we forget about what is so close by when we plan trips. With everything the way it is right now we might all be looking closer to home. Absolutely love the Swan family portrait.

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