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Stop 5 - New Jersey : CAPE MAY SP, HIGBEE BEACH WMA, BELLEPLAIN SF
The following page is devoted to my roadtrip photos of birds from a few locations around Cape May, New Jersey. Clearly, I did not photograph every kind of bird that can be found at Cape May, but I have provided a selection of some of my favorite photos of the birds I did happen to see as I passed through.
From the warm beach and Painted Buntings of South Carolina, I headed north for Cape May, a well-known migration site on the southernmost tip of New Jersey. Cape May is especially famous for the volume and variety of birds that pass through during fall migration, usually stopping to refuel and rest before continuing southward over the Atlantic Ocean. Cape May can also be filled with birds during spring migration, especially when the conditions are right (southwesterly winds that trigger a migration over the region are ideal). In the Spring, birds that began their flight the evening before reach Cape May in the early morning and stop to refuel before continuing their northward migration.
I arrived at Cape May in a severe wind and rainstorm that lasted a couple of days. I enjoyed the nicer weather that followed the storm, but unfortunately there was a north wind over the East Coast that continued to put bird migration at a near standstill. Even so, I still managed to find a number of resident birds and migrating stragglers at the popular Cape May State Park and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area as well as at Belleplain State Forest (which hosts more nesting birds) about an hour to the north of Cape May. I eagerly stalked some robins, starlings, and house finches around the parking lots, as these familiar and common birds had been relatively scarce in the southern states (and it was also my goal to get a decent photo of every kind of bird I saw at each location I went to on my travels). My camera seemed drawn to the yellow birds, as my favorite photos included a Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Pine Warbler, and White-eyed Vireo. I also saw some waterbirds and shorebirds in the Cape May area that, although all of them are common, I did not see anywhere else during my travels, such as a Glossy Ibis, Domestic Muscovy, Least and Solitary Sandpipers, and Surf Scoter.
After Cape May, I headed west to Warblerville at Magee Marsh on Lake Erie, as well as several other birding hotspots around the Great Lakes.
(My favorite photos are highlighted.)