Monday, November 30, 2009

Cape May, NJ Exceeds It's Stellar Reputation!

At 2AM on Sunday morning, I had just returned home from my gig at the Ram's Head Roadhouse with the band. It was a nice night, to be sure. Simply put, I was exhausted from playing four gigs over the holiday weekend. But did that stop me from setting my alarm for 3:15AM to go see a rare bird? To put it even more simply, no.Fellow birder and Cumberland, Maryland resident David Yeany II and I met up at 4AM in Catonsville in order to carpool to Cape May, New Jersey.We were off to see a very rare gull of the polar region, the IVORY GULL. You may recall that I went to Massachusetts earlier this year to see an IVORY GULL earlier this year. So, this bird was not a lifer. But being that this bird is such a rare species this far South, I just had to go see it.Needless to say, we were successful. While we were there, David asked a friend to show us around. Mandy Weston has been a raptor bander in Cape May for this fall's migration. The season just ended today. In any case, Mandy was kind enough to show us around, introducing us to one rare bird after another. SWAINSON'S HAWK, on your left.SELASPHORUS HUMMINGBIRD, on your left.To your right, you just barely missed seeing a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD and a WESTERN KINGBIRD. Two EURASIAN WIGEON, dead ahead.

In Cape May, the birders there have a system in place where rare bird alerts go out via Twitter, a web blog and even texting. Mandy's phone was alerting her of bird sightings all morning! Being a bird enthusiast, she had the ringer set to the call notes for a SCARLET TANAGER. We didn't spot any, but even still... a nice touch.

I was so impressed by the birding network in Cape May, I wrote Don Freiday from www.birdcapemay.org to thank him and his fellow birders for putting on such a wonderful show. Little did I know, he posted one of my photos to the site's blog.

I even got the opportunity to meet world-renown birder, writer, hawk-watcher and columnist Pete Dunne. At that point in the day, I was so exhausted I believe I was only capable of a blurbling mumble. But I did say something along the lines of, "It was nice to meet you."

Cape May... I'll be back soon, and often.

-Dan

3 comments:

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Pete Dunne. Sigh. He is like my Brad Pitt (after Warren, of course). He led a bird trip while we were there one year. I was all stumbling and shy. OK, that is me, for real. Any way, I found this feather and Warren said it was a Northern Flicker (it had a yellow shaft) - So I asked the Master and Mr. Dunne said "good work". That was really great.

Anyway, you should have said "Pleased, pleased, pleased to meetcha" and see if he recongized the song.

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

PS - your pics really are very WOW!

David said...

Great story, Dan! But why are all the good birds on the left and none on the right?

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