Following that trip, fast forward a few months to October, and a few evening drinks in the Scillonian Club with that Black Redstart fancier, Ochruros. After getting somewhat annoyed by overhearing certain birders moaning that there's nothing to see on the Scillies and no yanks (despite there being Blackpoll Warbler, Solitary Sandpiper, Ring-necked Duck and American Golden Plover present on the islands), a random response from me, a bit like Father Jack, was something along these lines:
|You want Yanks? Let's go to Cape May next spring! Drink!|
So that's what we did, with all the arrangements done in March and on Tuesday 7th May off we went.
Birding commenced with a morning spent at the Cape May Point State Park on the 8th. Highlights included 2 smart Palm Warblers, a mysterious pair of Vireos that we eventually realised were Blue-headed Vireos, an all too brief Ovenbird, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow Warblers, a single Cliff Swallow, Savannah Sparrow and an excellent all-round selection of birds that one would expect to see.
|Purple Martin, image courtesy of Kay|
|Northern Mockingbird, image courtesy of Kay|
|Western Grebe, not easy in the waves!|
Not realising it at the time, but this is quite a mega for New Jersey, with only about 20 previous records for the state. Finishing the day off round the saltmarshes of Nummy Island (also the site of my tick incident last year!), highlights included a lucky view of a Clapper Rail, a pair of Black Duck, a few Hudsonian Whimbrel, Brants (or Pale-bellied Brent Geese to you and me!), 2 Common Loons (Great Northern Divers, don't start me off on that one!) and this Boat-tailed Grackle.
A cracking start began in the car park with good views of Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Scarlet Tanager. Also Acadian Flycatcher, with it's call apparently sounding like "Pizza", couldn't recognise it personally. Add in Great Crested Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Worm-eating Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlark, singing Hooded Warbler but not seen. The tour finished with excellent views of Prairie Warbler and a smashing Blue-winged Warbler, something I didn't really expect to see.