Cape May-Day 1-What Came After the IVORY GULL

I suppose after reading the post about the IVORY GULL you’re wondering what came next. After all, I have been talking about this birding weekend for awhile and although the Ivory is a pretty special bird, definitely the best in Cape May right now, there were others that also drew me in.

I’ll start my story after the IVORY GULL.

Just wanted to include this shot of a male Bufflehead that provided great looks while waiting for the gull

After the gull, we headed over to the Northwood Center to report our sighting. Mike wasn’t there, but our friend Susan was. After showing her some of my pictures and writing a note about the gull, me and James headed off to the hawk watch.

Before we got there we stopped at lighthouse pond and had great views of a variety of waterfowl, that included:

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeon

Northern Shoveler

American Black Duck


Ring-necked Duck

Ruddy Duck

and others……

Male Eurasian, molting into adult plumage. You can kinda see the yellow front starting to come in. 2 females also present.

Shovelin’ away!

At the Hawk Watch, another one of our Cape May friends, Pete Dunne was there, along with some people inquiring about the Ivory. I gave them some info and told them to give it a go. The watch was much, much less crowded then the last time I was there so I sat down and chatted with Pete for awhile. Our conversation turned to Cape May rarities and the Swainson’s Hawk that had been hanging around. A nearby birder heard me and said it was at the Beanery (or Rea Farm whichever you prefer). We raced over there. After searching and searching and seeing a lot of vultures, we returned to the hawk watch, empty handed.

Black Vulture, The Beanery

When we got to the hawk watch nobody was there. I walked onto the beach and spotted a flock of Black Skimmers-a great photo opportunity! Me and James headed down the beach. I spent 30 minutes with the skimmers, and was allowed to get pretty close. Please see my gallery for all the shots of these beautiful birds.

Black Skimmers

Skimmers and the lighthouse

After the skimmers, we headed off to the Northwood Center. There was a book I had been eying before and I wanted to get it before they closed. When we got there we got into a conversation with Mike about the Swainson’s. He said it had changed location, and was no longer at the Beanery. He gave us directions to a new spot, and as we were getting into the car, Mike flew down the steps, yelled you-hoo, and then told us two people had just walked in and just seen the Swainson’s! It was back at the Beanery. They also said they would take us to the spot!! We followed them down the roads, my heart beat faster and faster, what if it flew away? But, when we got there it was sitting, perched on a tree, unfortunately in private property. I had it!! My second lifer of the day, James’s  third! 2-lifer days do not come around for me a lot anymore. After a couple minutes of watching he flew down and never reappeared. Maybe catching dinner?

The Swainson’s, far out on private property. I feel lucky to have gotten this good a shot as the sun was going down and the bird was far away.

A great day! So many great birds, great people, and great adventures!

Please see my photo gallery for more shots of the beautiful birds seen!

Day 2 soon to come!


This entry was posted in Elsewhere Birding, Rarities. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cape May-Day 1-What Came After the IVORY GULL

  1. Nick Bonomo says:

    Great trip Alex! I spent two great days with the adult Ivory in Gloucester last winter, but I will definitely go for this one too if it hangs around for another week. I’m busy with school stuff until next Monday or so.

  2. Nick,
    Hope it does for you!


  3. david says:

    Very impressive-both.

    i was on the edge of my chair.

    Thank you.


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