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Cape May Hawkwatch Update – October 16

Another week in the books for this fall season. The standout flight this week was Thursday October 10th.  Although the forecast of seasonably warm temperatures coupled with a light northerly breeze did not look promising for a large flight to materialize, we were all pleasantly surprised. It was a fantastic day for accipters. The second highest total of Cooper’s Hawk in Cape May history was counted!! A staggering 733 Cooper’s Hawks paraded past the hawkwatch platform. Sharp-shinned also put in an impressive showing with 1,144. That’s a lot of accipiters, 1,877 to be exact. The raptor total for the day was 2,351.

One of the 733 Cooper’s Hawks eyeing me up as it migrated past the hawkwatch platform.

The rest of the week was mediocre with only a few hundred birds counted each day. The weather can’t seem to produce cold fronts in our region now that we are in the peak raptor migration window. However, the forecast does look very promising for the upcoming week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Bald Eagles are a daily sighting at the hawkwatch. On 10/11 this juvenile bird flew right over our heads giving phenomenal views.

As always, there were a ton of other notable birds that were observed from the hawkwatch platform this week. A Townsend’s Warbler made a fleeting appearance on October 10th. Amazingly, White Ibis continue to be a main stay, with 10 more flying over on October 11th. That brings the season total of White Ibis up to 139!!! The annual Big Sit took place on Sunday October 13th which tallied 124 total species, including a first state record of Cassin’s Kingbird. The drake Eurasian Wigeon is still seen daily on Bunker Pond.

Comparison photo of the drake Eurasian Wigeon (top) and American Wigeon (below) as they avoided a Bald Eagle hunting over Bunker Pond .

The hawkwatch platform is also a great location to watch songbirds in the early morning. Here, an Eastern Meadowlark fluttered overhead in search of some fields to drop into.

New Jersey Audubon