Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Long weekend in Cape May

On Friday we traveled to Cape May, NJ, for the fourth time in search of migrating birds. Cape May is on a major migration flyway for various types of birds - hawks & falcons, warblers, and shorebirds. In the past, we've always visited during the fall. This was our first spring-time trip, so it allowed us our first view of (tens of?) thousands of shorebirds gobbling up millions of horseshoe crab eggs.

We saw beautifully-colored Ruddy Turnstones, more rare Red Knots, Boat-tailed Grackles, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plovers, among others. The hawks were in short supply and the weather was counter-productive for warblers. The weather was warm, dry, and stable, so the birds had no reason to stop and rest/eat/take cover as they would've had the weather been stormy.

We came home to more cicadas in the yard - piles of shells litter the ground underneath some of our trees while some trees have no cicadas around them. A look through our binoculars at the tops of the trees showed a plethora of black and orange beasts with red eyes. My range around the yard is now limited to cement and asphalt surfaces with a very close look at anything I sit or lean on. Once they start flying more and falling to the ground to die, my range will be further restricted. Andy is planning to mow the grass today, but he's likely going to only work on the front yard, where there are far less of the crunchy creatures to walk through and chop up with the mower.

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