Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | October 31, 2011

Cape May Festival – Fall 2011

This year’s Cape May Fall Festival was held on a weekend that brought between 3 and 19 inches of snow across Central and Northern NJ as a result of a surprise Nor’easter. Cape May had rainy and windy weather, but that wasn’t going to stop the die-hards. Friends (both old and new) could be found all over Cape May. And RF and I saw a total of 105 species of the 203 seen during the entire festival. <click here to read CMBO’s posting>

Saturday's scene. Rain!


RF, AM and I braved Stormy Saturday and did some birding at the State Park, which was still somewhat productive despite the weather. And impromptu seawatches popped up at the Grand Hotel and from the Sunset Grill, overlooking the Concrete ship. The stormy weather produced great looks at Northern Gannet, Parasitic Jaeger, Black Skimmer, shorebirds including lots of Dunlin and Sanderling and Gulls.

Impromptu Seawatch at Sunset Beach produced several Northern Gannets, shorebirds and a Parasitic Jaeger


Saturday’s dinner was quite enjoyable. The food was great, and the keynote speaker, Ken Kauffman rocked it! His talk, themed “Be proud to tell people you are a birder” was spot on, and filled with humor. Absolutely worth the price of admission!


Sunday brought sunny weather and warmer temps, and lots of birds. RF, AM and I (joined by many other friends at times) birded Higbee Beach, The Hawkwatch, the Meadows, the Beanery and CMBO Goshen.

Highlights from these locations include:

lots of Sparrows, including Song, Savy, Field, and Vesper, Juncos, etc…. pockets of Palm and Blackpoll warblers, Sharpies, Coops, Bald Eagles, amazing looks at a flyover Golden Eagle, American Bittern, a late Least Flycatcher, both Vultures, a continuing Rufous Hummingbird in Goshen and a surprise Cattle Egret.


The surprise Cattle Egret wasn’t just another “tick” in eBird for someone near and dear to me – it was RF’s 300th state bird.. breaking his previous record of 299 in a year. On a personal note, I don’t hide the fact that I consider myself blessed to bird with one of the state’s strongest birders/ leaders! Congrats to you RF! I am so proud! Keep rackin’ em up!!! 😉


We finished up the weekend with the tradition of many… a “victory” lap around Forsythe’s Wildlife Drive…

Highlights there included: Many returning ducks (including my favorite, Hooded Merganser), Brant and Snow Geese, shorebirds, a Bonaparte’s Gull, a Snow Bunting, Peregrine Falcon, Harriers,Pied Billed and Horned Grebe, and……


I managed to come away with ONE lifebird… but a GOOOOOODD ONE!

Common Gallinule (formerly Moorhen) has managed to elude me for a while now…. and we got word of one located near the gull tower. After we completed the loop, we headed over, only to find a juvie hanging out with some Coot! GOTCHA, Finally, after many trips to DeKorte, Kearny Marsh, etc….

But, the last laugh was on me. Apparently, I managed to get myself so excited that I finally conquered a nemesis, that I inadvertently made a sacrifice to the birding gods by way of my bins.  😦 Moorhen was the last bird I saw through them before sending them to the unknown. Little buddy, I will miss you, but you are always welcome to come back home!

I am not going to let that put a damper on what was a great weekend filled with amazing birds, great friends, lots of smiles and a few milestones.

Here’s to next year’s events!!! See Ya there!



  1. Wonderful post…wonderful weekend : )

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