A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Spring in Cape May 2022

May 8-14, 2022 with Tom Johnson guiding

Our week in Cape May got off to a wet and windy start with an unusual storm that flooded the marshes with easterly winds and pushed all those poor Clapper Rails up onto the roadsides. After that, we continued to have a cool and breezy week while sampling the ornithological delights of this storied peninsula, from the woodlands and marshes of Cape May Point to the impoundments of Forsythe NWR and the beaches of the Delaware Bay. Belleplain State Forest hosted a wide variety of migrant and nesting landbirds ranging from warblers and vireos to tanagers and flycatchers, too. Hooded and Prothonotary warblers paraded in the open as Louisiana Waterthrushes and Acadian Flycatchers chanted from the thick understory. During the week, we even found a few notable rarities including a magical Swallow-tailed Kite, a storm-blown Red-necked Phalarope, and a cryptic "Eurasian" Whimbrel (currently a subspecies, but surely a split to be recognized as a full species in the future)—and soaked up as much migration as we could during our week on the peninsula. Oh, and we had some great food by visiting a nice variety of the great restaurants close to our beachfront hotel.

Thanks for joining me in my backyard at Cape May!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BRANT (ATLANTIC) (Branta bernicla hrota)

Hundreds of these Arctic-breeding geese remained in the Atlantic salt marshes.

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

Common and widespread.

MUTE SWAN (Cygnus olor) [I]

Common on freshwater lakes and marshes.

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

These handsome ducks were on the Tarkiln Pond.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

We saw pairs at the Meadows and also at Forsythe NWR.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)



We saw these East Coast specialties repeatedly in saltmarsh habitats where they breed.


Six were at Forsythe NWR.

SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata)

One was loafing along the shore at Cape May Point.

BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana)

One was with the Surf Scoter at Cape May Point.

BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola)

One was at Forsythe NWR.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Two were snoozing at Forsythe NWR.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)

One gobbled at Cape May Point SP.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Common around towns.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Just about everywhere.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus)

We saw one at Cape May Point SP.

BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)

One of these uncommon migrants sang and gave us a great show at Cape May Point SP.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

On the evening we watched from Lily Lake, we saw at least four of these nightjars hunting for insects in the skies over Cape May Point.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)

Common in the skies overhead, with particularly nice views at Lily Lake.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)

Scattered sightings of the only local resident species of hummingbird.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

CLAPPER RAIL (Rallus crepitans)

Remarkable. We arrived in Cape May during a stormy day with strong easterly winds, and the Atlantic salt marsh was flooded. Clapper Rails were forced out of the marshes in large numbers. We saw 125 living Clapper Rails (and another 28 roadkilled individuals) in a short stretch along Avalon Boulevard - a dramatic and sobering experience.

VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)

These small rails called at Cape May Point SP and the Meadows.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus)

Repeated sightings of these striking large shorebirds. Oystercatchers nest on the sandy beaches as well as on wrack-covered marsh islands here.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

Small numbers of these stout plovers were mixed in with other shorebirds, with the largest numbers at Jarvis Sound on our boat trip.

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

These migrant plovers were with shorebird flocks in many locations. The majority were at Heislerville and in the plowed fields on Cape Island.

PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus)

Two were along the beach at Cold Spring Inlet during our boat trip.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

We saw singles on several occasions.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (EUROPEAN) (Numenius phaeopus phaeopus)

The vagrant Whimrel that we saw at Shell Bay Landing with the white rump and white underwings was of this subspecies group. This taxon is very rare along the East Coast. If split in the future, it may be referred to as "Eurasian Whimbrel."

WHIMBREL (HUDSONIAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)

We saw hundreds of this expected American subspecies of Whimbrel, with a max of 210 at Shell Bay Landing.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

We saw a few dozen between Delaware Bay and the Atlantic marshes.

RED KNOT (Calidris canutus)

Probably due to the cold water temperatures and stormy conditions, the horseshoe crabs spawned late this spring, and our tour did not overlap with the normal large numbers of Red Knots that typically gather to feast upon the horseshoe crab eggs in May. We only saw a flock of 7 during the storm along Avalon Boulevard and a single at Cooks Beach.

STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

Five were together at the Meadows.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

Common along shorelines, especially at Cooks Beach.

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

Hundreds were at several of the shorebird sites we visited including Forsythe NWR and Jarvis Sound.

PURPLE SANDPIPER (Calidris maritima)

One was lingering on the rocks at Coral Ave., Cape May Point. These Arctic breeders stick around fairly late in spring at this latitude.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

Dozens were scattered around at many of the marshes, ponds, and beaches we visited.

WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (Calidris fuscicollis)

The close birds along the wildlife drive at Forsythe NWR provided a great identification lesson for us.


Lower numbers than usual for this time of year - we still saw hundreds, with the peak count of 110 from Forsythe NWR.

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

Several hundred scattered between various shorebird sites; one of the common spring shorebirds here.

WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)

One was at the Meadows.

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)

The bird that was paddling and twirling around Lily Lake at Cape May Point was probably blown ashore by the strong northeast winds. These pelagic migrants usually remain offshore during their northbound flights in spring.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

Two at Dias Creek; another at Forsythe NWR.

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

One was at the lake at Belleplain SF; the other was at Cape May Point SP.

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

The most common yellowlegs on this trip; we saw over 50 in total.

WILLET (EASTERN) (Tringa semipalmata semipalmata)

The breeding Willet here on the Jersey shore; seen and heard commonly at most of our marsh stops.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Less common than Greater Yellowlegs on this trip; about 11 total.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BONAPARTE'S GULL (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

Oddly common this spring, perhaps delayed in their departure by the strong northeast winds; we saw a flock of 20 at Sunset Beach and then other scattered individuals later in the trip.

LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)

Omnipresent in Cape May in spring when they create a fantastic soundscape.

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

Small numbers were scattered around with other gulls throughout our travels. Most of the wintering birds depart in early spring to breed farther north.

HERRING GULL (Larus argentatus)

One of the most common large gulls here, where they breed.


Max count of 15 at the Meadows. This species has increased in recent decades.


The common large, dark-backed gull here.

LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum)

Small numbers were scattered around the beaches and shorelines.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Excellent views of these odd, long-winged terns at Forsythe NWR.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Two were with other terns and gulls at Forsythe NWR; the largest tern species in the world.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

Smaller numbers than expected, mostly in Jarvis Sound.

ARCTIC TERN (Sterna paradisaea)

On 14 May, we stopped at Floodgates along the Delaware River on the way back to the Philadelphia Airport and saw two of these locally very rare migrant terns. The persistent easterly winds surely pushed these offshore migrants to the East Coast, as there was a widespread, multi-day "fallout" of Arctic Terns in the region.

FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)

The most common tern we saw during the week - common in marshes and over the ocean.

BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)

About 110 were resting and flying around in a tight flock at Forsythe NWR.

Gaviidae (Loons)

RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata)

A few individuals lingered from the winter around Cape May Point.

COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)

Fairly common this spring, with 14 seen on our boat trip around Cape May Harbor and Jarvis Sound.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

NORTHERN GANNET (Morus bassanus)

We saw four of these large seabirds offshore from Beach Ave. in Cape May.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Nannopterum auritum)

Common and widespread, especially at Heislerville where they nest in large numbers.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

About ten; May is actually the time of year when this widespread heron is least common at Cape May (they don't breed here).

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Very common and conspicuous.

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

One of the common white egrets seen here in the warm months.

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)

Great views of these long-necked southern waders at the Wetlands Institute at Stone Harbor.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

One was along a small creek at Cape May Point SP.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Small numbers were visible at the Ocean City Welcome Center in windy conditions.

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

Only a handful were visible at the Ocean City Welcome Center in the wind during our visit.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

Seen several times including at the Ocean City Welcome Center, where the species has nested since 2020. This striking wader is rapidly spreading north as the climate warms.

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Hundreds, including a flock of 280 at Dias Creek.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

Small numbers on several days. Less common than Turkey Vulture on this trip.

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Widespread and common.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

The most conspicuous raptor seen here in spring - the breeding density of Osprey at Cape May is incredibly high.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

One of these stunning raptors circled overhead at Cape May Point SP during a walk there - this southern overshoot was one of the rarest species we saw here during the week.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

Two sightings - at Cape May Point and Forsythe NWR.

BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Just a few sightings of this now-common raptor.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

These small Buteo hawks were seen at Cape May Point and Belleplain SF.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Just a few individuals of this common and widespread soaring hawk.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

These fish-eaters are common here in winter, but become decidedly scarce in May; we saw a few around Cape Island and at Conswell Road.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Two were in the Delaware Bay ghost forest at Conswell Road. This species is now a rare breeder in southern New Jersey.

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus)

Common and vocally conspicuous.

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

The common small woodpecker here.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Seen at Villas, Belleplain SF, and Elephant Swamp.

NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)

One was in the ghost forest at Conswell Road.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

MERLIN (Falco columbarius)

We saw these late individuals at Cape May Point and Forsythe NWR.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

We saw one of these long-winged falcons during our boat trip out of Cape May Harbor.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens)

These late-arriving spring migrants were singing on territory in woods around the peninsula. The best views were probably the birds at Belleplain SF.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)

All of our Acadian Flycatchers were in the vicinity of Belleplain SF. We were fortunate to both hear their "pizza!" songs and to see these greenish Empidonax flycatchers nicely.

EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)

These flycatchers were nesting near the entrance of the Belleplain SF campground.


These big flycatchers were commonly heard and seen in forest habitats across the peninsula.

EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)

One of our best views was of the bird at the edge of Lily Lake on the first evening of the tour.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

The most memorable bird was the one that came out and sat in the open in the understory at Belleplain SF.

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)

One was in an active mixed flock near the parking lot at Forsythe NWR.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

Two were singing along the Delaware River at Floodgates.

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

A common songbird in all forest habitats, especially around Belleplain SF.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata)

Small numbers were present at many locations throughout the week.

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Fairly common, though outnumbered by Fish Crows in the places we visited.

FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus)

The most common crow. We practiced identifying this eastern species by voice and flight shape and style.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) [*]

We heard one of these big, gruff corvids at the Forsythe NWR. This species is rapidly expanding in the coastal plain of southern New Jersey.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)

Common in woodlands; this is the only chickadee in southern NJ.

TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor)

Common and highly vocal in May in wooded habitats.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

These brown swallows were seen several times at Cape May Point and also along the Delaware River at Floodgates.

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

We saw plenty of these large, social swallows at Cape May Point and many other spots. The birds at Cape May Point SP had a difficult time in the cold weather and on one day huddled together in the parking lot to stay warm.

TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)

We saw these small, well-appointed swallows at Lily Lake and at Floodgates.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Very common, especially when concentrated over freshwater ponds on cooler days.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

One circled around Lily Lake with other swallows, showing off its pale rump.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Corthylio calendula)

We bumped into these lingering migrants on at least three occasions.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

Just a couple sightings of this common hardwood forest resident. This species gets very quiet when nesting during May.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

These little tail-waggers were everywhere we went in forested habitats; they were especially common at Belleplain SF.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

Heard singing frequently, and seen on a couple occasions.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) [*]

We heard one chattering while checking out the marsh at Thompsons Beach.

CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

Very common, though it took a bit of patience to get a look at one of these noisy but reclusive wrens.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]


Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

Common and very noisy in May.

BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum)

These big, brash songbirds were singing at a few spots we visited, and we also saw them fly across the road a few times.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Common and conspicuous.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

One at Belleplain SF was near some oft-used nest boxes. We also had a few fly over at Conswell Road.

VEERY (Catharus fuscescens)

We saw and heard these fawn-colored thrushes on a few occasions at Cape Island and Belleplain.

WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina)

We had a super experience with this striking spot-breasted thrush at Belleplain SF. Their multi-layered songs echoed through the forest on many occasions.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Common and widespread.

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Just a couple of sightings in Villas at Cape May Point SP.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Common around people.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) [I]

Fairly common in ones and twos, mostly around human habitation.


These small finches were scattered around at many locations.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

One of the common trilling songbirds we heard (compared to Pine Warbler and Worm-eating Warbler).

FIELD SPARROW (Spizella pusilla)

Our best looks came in the dunes at the Meadows.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis)

During this second week in May, this species is often gone from southern New Jersey. However, with the delayed migration, we bumped into 27 of these boreal breeders.

SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammospiza maritima)

We saw these big-headed marsh sparrows in colonies at Cooks Beach and Forsythe NWR. This is always a popular species with birders visiting Cape May.

SALTMARSH SPARROW (Ammospiza caudacuta)

The wind conspired against us, but we toughed it out and found five birds along the wildlife drive at Forsythe NWR. Viewing from inside the van, we were able to sneak up on a couple of these very handsome sparrows for some fine looks. A declining species whose Atlantic saltmarsh habitat is seriously imperiled by rising sea levels.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

We saw singles of these migrant sparrows on at least four occasions.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

Oddly uncommon as a breeder in most of the sites we visited near the tip of the Cape May peninsula. Most of ours were at Forsythe NWR.

SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana)

A migrant was in the gardens at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor.

EASTERN TOWHEE (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

These big, handsome sparrows were on territory in a few spots around Cape May and Belleplain SF.

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


We heard this noisy songster whistling and chattering at Cape May Point SP.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

BOBOLINK (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

It took a bit of waiting, but we did luck into some handsome males at a grassy patch in West Cape May thanks to a tip from my friend Jesse.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

We saw these slim orioles at a feeder, in the Bobolink field, and at Cape May Point, too.

BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula)

Several were visiting feeders at Michael and Louise's yard in West Cape May.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Common in most open habitats.


Males were busy chasing females at many edge and woodland locations around the peninsula.

COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)

Common and conspicuous in most mainland habitats.

BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)

These big grackles were common on barrier islands and in salt marsh habitats.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla)

These ground-strolling warblers were singing up a storm in the woods at Belleplain SF, but the most memorable sighting for me was one that was walking along through the leaves at Cape May Point SP.

WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum)

Good looks and nice practice with that dry trilled song (like a short, mechanical Chipping Sparrow song) at Belleplain SF.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

Wow - one came out in the open and sang for us along a stream running through Belleplain SF. This loud warbler is an uncommon breeder in southern NJ.

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)

Just a couple migrants between Cape May Point and the Villas.

BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera)

With some effort, we tracked down two singing birds in the piney woods near Tarkiln Pond.


This tree-creeping zebra warbler is quite common in the woodlands of Cape May in spring; we saw plenty in Belleplain SF and other forested sites.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

One of these golden swamp warblers at Head-of-River really posed and sang at length for us along the side of the road - beautiful!

SWAINSON'S WARBLER (Limnothlypis swainsonii) [*]

We heard but did not see this returning rarity as he sang from the deep thickets of Higbee Beach. This same individual has held a territory in Cape May for several years in a row.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

One was with a mixed flock near the parking lot at Forsythe NWR.

KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa)

On our final morning together, we took a walk at Elephant Swamp in Gloucester Co. and found two singing birds along a slow-moving stream through broadleaf forest. Nice views of one.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

Common in many edge habitats, meadows, and even open woodlands.

HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina)

Great views of a bird singing the alternate song at Head-of-River; likely an immature male.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

Just a few individuals seen as migrants and in the northern part of Cape May County where they breed.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)

Very common as a migrant at Cape May; it's also an uncommon breeder in southern New Jersey. We found many by hearing their fine, rising trills.

MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia)

A migrant was with other warblers along the edge of Lily Lake in Cape May Point.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

We saw these widespread warblers on several occasions, mostly around Cape May Point.

BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens)

Great views at Cape May Point on a few occasions, plus singles at Belleplain SF and Elephant Swamp.

PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus)

Very common in the pine-oak woodlands of northern Cape May County and adjacent Atlantic County. These slow-trillers were singing all over the place at Belleplain SF where we had our best views.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

We saw an unusually high number of these early migrants for the second week of May - about 35 individuals, seen almost every day of the tour.

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica)

This elegant warbler breeds in pine forest in the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain; most of ours were in the vicinity of Belleplain SF, where some came down out of the pine canopy to check us out.

PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor)

Initially just heard, but later on, we found a few individuals that showed off for nice looks.


This migrant warbler was at Cox Hall Creek WMA in Villas on both of our stops there.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

Great looks of this southern songbird at Belleplain SF and adjacent Steelmantown.

SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea)

After just hearing a few singing at Villas, we later caught up to a pair of these stunners in the woods at Elephant Swamp.

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Ubiquitous in woodlands and edge habitats.

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

We saw these stocky, striking cardinalids as migrants at Cape May Point and Villas.

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

Our best views were in the fields at Higbee Beach.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

Common and vocally conspicuous; we saw these blue beauties on many of our birding outings.


EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)

The only bunny found here in southern NJ.

EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis)

All over the place in woodland habitats.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)

These are the common cetaceans seen from shore during the warm months at Cape May.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

Just a few sightings; much less common at Cape May than farther north in New Jersey (where they are very densely populated).

Totals for the tour: 172 bird taxa and 4 mammal taxa