We went to Cape May, NJ last weekend for some fall birdwatching. We arrived on Friday, but couldn't do much outside due to some rain. We've been in a bad drought all summer, so I can't complain too much about the rain. We spent a few minutes at the hawk watch platform and Sunset Beach, but did not see many birds due to the limited visibility.
Saturday was much better. We started at the hawk watch again. After a few minutes there, we walked the trails through the park. We saw plenty of birds in the trees and brush. I also left my notebook on a bench, so afterwards I had to go back and look for it. A nice man picked it up and gave it back to me when he noticed that it looked like I was searching for something. We went from there to the Cape May city beach, where we got to see terns and skimmers close-up. After this we went to Sunset Beach again for a few minutes, and then to the beach to look for sea birds. We did see some Northern Gannets punge-diving out in the water, and lots of terns. We also picked up a bunch of smooth, polished rocks off the beach. These rocks are worn smooth during their trip down the Delaware Bay. The clear quartz crystal rocks can be shined up and polished to look very much like diamonds. That is why they are called Cape May Diamonds, and they sell them in the gift shops. We also went around Lily Lake and saw a lot of neat ducks and a kingfisher there. I dropped Joyce off at the hotel and then I took a walk around the Meadows at the end of the afternoon. There wasn't much there, although I did see a Pelican.
On Sunday we started by walking around Hidden Valley and Higbee Beach. There were plenty of birds there. We made a final stop at the hawk watch, where we lucked out and saw the season's first Swainson's Hawk. The hawk watch people were very excited. After a lunch break we drove north to Wildwood, where we didn't see much, and then to the Wetlands Institute a little west of Stone Harbor. There was a nice trail out into the marsh, and we some some neat birds there.
Overall we had a great time on the trip. Friday was a little disappointing, but we really did need that rain. I plan to post my photos from this trip, plus some from a Ravens football game the week before, over the weekend.