Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Weekend at the Villas

Friends of ours have a second home in The Villas, a small town in Cape May County, New Jersey.

And Cape May is prime birding territory.

And May is prime birding time. Warbler migration time.

So when they asked if we wanted to come down for the weekend Patty said yes before they finished the question.

The weekend started in disappointing fashion. A DVOC bird banding trip to Rushton Farm in Pennsylvania, with Patty as leader, was rained out at the last minute. Fortunately we had spent the night at my sister's place, eleven minutes from Ruston Farm, rather than the two hours from our place. And thus we didn't need to wake up at o'dark-thirty to bethere on time. So after a cup of coffee we bid my sister and family adieu and headed off to rainy Cape May.

Carolina Wren

There were reports of a Snow Bunting at the Cape May Hawk Watch. A bird that breeds in the high arctic and has no business being in New Jersey in May. We went to look for it.

When we arrived it was still raining. So we stood under the hawk watch platform, along with a few other folks, in an attempt to stay dry. We did not see the snow bunting. Nor stay dry.

We did see a bunch of Mute Swans. And some swallows. And a few ducks and egrets.

After the rain let up and we had walked the trails at Cape May Point State Park, we headed over to the Villas. To an old golf course, Ponderlodge, which has been converted into a wildlife management area.

Red-bellied Turtle
Cox Hall Creek WMA to be specific.

Solitary Sandpiper
It is located just a few blocks from our friends' place.

Lessor Yellowlegs
There we ran into a group of birders from outside of Boston, down for a long birding weekend in Cape May and vicinity. It was their first visit to Cox Hall Creek and we were able to help get them oriented. And they in turn helped get us a nice variety of warblers.

Black and White Warbler
Later, after helping a fellow from Kansas lost on the trails unable to find his way back to his car, we looked for the reported Red-headed Woodpeckers. Again no luck. So we headed off for some pizza. After which a nightcap back at the house. And then off to dreamland.

The next morning we headed off to Higbee Beach WMA in Cape May. Hoping for more warblers.

Blue Grosbeak
We would be disappointed. Even the Bostonians couldn't help. It seems we were at the wrong end of the state. Sandy Hook National Recreation Area was the place to be that morning.

We did see Patty's favorite mammal, after cats that is.

Virginia Opossum 
We spent of few hours at Higbee, and saw some stuff. But nowhere near what we had hoped.

We then went back to the house and had a nice breakfast. And then a walk on the beach. It was a nice weekend despite the rain and the missed birds.

So until next time.

Laughing Gull

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