The standout day this week was without a doubt Friday November 8th. It was a classic fall day in Cape May; brisk northerly winds and cool temperatures. The kind of weather all hawkwatchers look for in the forecast and circle on their calendars. The birds did not disappoint either! Diversity was good from the start. Once the sun warmed things up a bit, the buteos got up and began kettling in the warm thermals. Surprisingly, two Broad-winged Hawk were observed, which are quite uncommon in November, as they should be in their wintering grounds in South American at this time. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks began rolling as well and moved past in solid numbers. Final totals were 61 Red-shouldered Hawks and 46 Red-tailed Hawks. All three falcon species were seen as well which is always a treat this late in the season.
As the day progressed and the north winds had been kicking for over half a day, the bigger birds starting making an appearance. Bald Eagles, glided past unbothered by the strong winds as if they were being towed across the sky. By days end 18 Bald Eagles were tallied. However, the headliner of November 8th was the trio of Golden Eagles. Each one, flying past a little closer than the last, giving all the visitors breathtaking looks at these gorgeous birds of prey. They were the perfect end to a fantastic day of hawkwatching. The grand total for the day was 368 raptors.
The rest of the week was very slow. Temperatures warmed back up, winds shifted to the south, and periods of rain all contributed to very little raptor migration. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to see from the platform. We have seen very good diversity of songbrids and waterfowl as of late. A Black-throated Green Warbler surprised us on November 9th and 11th. A Vesper Sparrow also hung out for a few days. November 8th also brought us another Cave Swallow, the sixth this season. The Eurasian Wigeon continues to be seen almost daily, and Tundra Swans have joined the hordes of Mute Swans on Bunker pond.