CAPE MAY HAWKWATCH: Early-September Update

[Peregrine Falcon. Photo by Gautam Apte.]

Hello and welcome to the 47th season of the Cape May Hawkwatch! This is Jerald Reb, your 2022 Hawkwatch counter. Some of you may remember me from past seasons as a Morning Flight and Springwatch counter. This is my first season counting at the Hawkwatch, and I’m hoping it will be one for the books!

The 2022 hawkwatch is once again sponsored by Swarovski Optik. We are grateful for their continued support and invite you to check out their fantastic offerings at the platform!

[Red-shouldered Hawk. Photo by Gautam Apte.]

This season got off to a rousing start on September 1st, with 373 Osprey tallied on westerly winds. Additional highlights that day included 38 American Kestrels and an early Red-shouldered Hawk. Another Red-shouldered Hawk made an appearance on September 2nd, along with 77 Osprey.

The 2nd also boasted some cool surprises, headlined by a White-winged Dove and a Brown Booby. Both are rare but annual visitors that are always fun to see!

[Osprey. Photo by Gautam Apte.]

After the first two days, winds shifted to the south and east, resulting in lower raptor numbers. Fortunately, a few days of northeast winds bolstered numbers of Osprey and falcons; the Osprey total is already slightly above average for recent years, with 1,100+ counted so far.

Kestrels are also moving in decent numbers, with a tally of 218 during the first part of the month and hopefully many more to come! Merlins have been putting on a good show in recent days as well, with a season count of 109 to date, many of them stopping briefly to harass the shorebirds and swallows over Bunker Pond.

[Merlin. Photo by Gautam Apte.]

Aside from raptors, some other migrants have been passing through in large numbers. 430 White Ibis have already made an appearance, setting us well on our way to breaking last year’s new season record. Bobolink has been an especially numerous songbird migrant, with 2,250 totaled in the first ten days.

Warblers are starting to arrive in numbers, including nearly 20 species in morning flight over the Point. The most numerous of these were American Redstart (349) and Northern Waterthrush (109). For non-avian migrants, a Hoary Bat arriving from the ocean was a pleasant surprise on September 9th. Many insects are moving, including Monarchs, Swamp Darner, and Black Saddlebags.

[White Ibis. Photo by Gautam Apte.]

This coming week looks to be a good one for migration. A cold front moves in by Tuesday night and northwesterly winds will dominate through Friday. We should be seeing many more Osprey and falcons. Hopefully our first big push of Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged hawks will also arrive. Hope to see you on the platform!


Jerald Reb

Cape May Hawkwatch Counter