Blue-gray Gnatcatchers put in a good showing early this week. Photo by Gautam Apte.

It’s been a fairly uneventful week up on top of the Higbee dike, but migration continues to push steadily on. As is typical in the early season, most days feature only a handful of neotropical migrants, with many birds held up to our north by predominantly south winds over the week. We did record several large flights of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers this week, with totals of 109 and 160 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Otherwise, birds of note have been few and far between, but the highlight bird of the week was an Upland Sandpiper that flew quite close past the dike early on Saturday morning. This grassland breeding species is a scarce migrant along the Atlantic coast, and often hard to find on the ground, so vismig watches are a great way to bump into one.

Barn Swallows are moving through in large numbers and several hundred typically pass through the count every day. Photo by Gautam Apte.

Some easterly winds have brought us some cool waterbirds over the bay over the last few days. Monday featured a subadult Parasitic Jaeger and the first Northern Gannet of the season, and Black Terns showed both Monday and Tuesday. It’s always nice to have some action over the water when songbird migration is slower on east winds.

We’re currently right on the cusp of the next “wave” of migration through Cape May and should see a dramatic increase in both numbers and diversity at the count over the next 1-2 weeks. Some forecasted cold fronts could bring big flights of American Redstarts and other warblers over the next few days, and hopefully a rarity or two passing by in morning flight. As always, you can follow the count live from New Jersey Audubon at, and from Trektellen at  Thanks for reading!

Gautam Apte

2022 Morning Flight Counter

Another bad photo of a good bird: this flight-calling Upland Sandpiper treated myself and several visitors to a flyby through the morning fog on Saturday. Photo by Gautam Apte.

Migrant Chimney Swifts have been starting to move through, and often pause to feed on insects above the dike. Photo by Gautam Apte.