Cape May 
October 2023

Sunday October 22,2023

    We dropped off our pet Whisper at Kelliís sister and were on the road at 9 AM.  Made it to near Brigantine in Galloway at 11:30 and stopped for lunch. We tried the pizza at Primo Pizza. It was not that good and had only one slice. We met Mark at the refuge after shopping their little store. Kelli got a nice T-shirt with a variety of local birds on it.

    We headed out on the drive and did the tower at Gull Pond first.  A Caspian Tern was swiftly flying about. Among the many Tree Swallows , I spotted a single Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Green-winged Teals and immature Pintails were on the ponds. We then skipped the Woodlands Trail. The big ponds had Great Egrets, a single Snowy Egret, Great Blue Herons, Gadwalls and American Wigeon.  An Osprey flew by the cars and a couple of Northern Harriers patrolled the marshes. After the right turn we had some shorebirds including Black-belied Plovers and Dunlin. On the return dike we ran into several Ruddy Ducks. 



Boat-tailed Grackle

    We walked part of Jenís Trail but mainly had Yellow-rumped Warblers.

    There was a new area that overlooks the refuge with a small parking lot. We had both Swamp and Savannah Sparrows here.

    In the woods I heard some Carolina Chickadees and stopped. With some spishing we had some migrants come in including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue-headed Vireo and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We also had some poor views of the chickadees.

    We then made our way down to Cape May and checked in at the Jetty Motel. Our room was on the first floor. Mark got one on the second floor; because he asked. We should have done that since you can see over the dunes and the beach outside the room. No complaints, our room was clean, nice, and comfy.

    We decided to have dinner up in Rio Grande at Menz Restaurant & Bar. They had a great Halloween display outside while waiting for our table. We were seated down from the bar and had a guitar player sing some songs as we ate.

    For drinks Mike had a Black Magic Martini (Lemon Drop) and Kelli and Mark Chocolate Martinis. They hit the spot after a long day

    Mike tried their Famous Crab Chowder. Our meal was great as usual.

Monday October 23

    We met at 6:30AM for breakfast and headed to Uncle Billís Pancake House, but it did not open till 7 (off season hours). It was a great breakfast and recommend this place if you are down here.

    Our first stop was Cape May Meadows.  We had tons Yellow-rumped Warblers, and many Song and Swamp Sparrows. We added an Eastern Phoebe while a few Sharp-shinned Hawks past by. Near the beach I had a glimpse of an Orange-crowned Warbler but could not spish it out. We met a group of birders and within was Bill Boyle who wrote ďA Guide to Bird Finding in New Jersey.Ē Bill and I worked at Allied-Signal in the labs together 35 years ago and I had not seen him in a couple of decades. It was great to see him.

Yellow-rumped Warbler


    On the return leg Kelli spotted a Common Gallinule. We also added Hermit thrush, Field Sparrows and Common Yellowthroats.

    It was then on to Cape May Point State Park. In the parking lot, just as we were getting out of the cars, 3 White Ibis flew by; two immatures and an adult. We spent two hours exploring the trails. We got some great looks at Carolina Chickadees and added Golden-crowned Kinglet and Gray Catbird. The ponds gave us close looks at Green-winged Teal, more Pintails, and Northern Shovelers. We had a cooperative Winter Wren that popped out on the edge of the boardwalk in the woods. We came across a Ribbon Snake (Note the white mark in front of the eye.) The pond at the shore had Blue-winged Teal, another gallinule, American Coot and I briefly spotted an Eared Grebe, but could not find it for the others.

Green-winged Teal                                                                                                       Carolina Chickadee

Green-winged Teal pair

Common Buckeye

Ribbon Snake

Blue-winged Teal

    At a bathroom break we tried to visit the Museum and Nature Center but both were closed.  We relaxed at the Hawk Watch. 60 Turkey and Black Vultures swirled overhead. We added Bald Eagle, Cooperís Hawks a three Red-shouldered Hawks.

    Lunch was tough to find. We had to try four places before we found an open restaurant, George's Place. This small dinner like restaurant had a Greek flare and was across from Uncle Billís Pancake House. We enjoyed some great Greek food.

    After lunch we split up. Kelli and I headed to the Sunset Beach Gift shop then I relax at the room, while Kelli sat outside.  Mark took a long walk to downtown shopping area.

    We took one car at 5:30 PM and headed for Sunset Beach. One slab of the Concrete ship was left. Sunset was spectacular with clear blue skies as it set at 6:10 PM.




    Dinners was at Delaneyís Irish Bar and Grill, where of course had Cajun Pierogies! This surprisingly works, and I might try this at home

    When we got back at the hotel we went on the beach to look at the night sky,


Tuesday October 24

    Before breakfast at Uncle Billís we met on the beach in front of the motel and watched the sun rise. Before Mark caught up to us we had a Palm Warbler and a flyover Eastern Meadowlark. I found a Lesser-blacked Backed Gull near the jetty as it got light. We then realize that there was eight lessers on the beach!  A few Sanderling were near the jetty and Brant were passing by far out in the ocean.


Lesser Black-backed Gull


    After another good breakfast; we went to the Nature Center of Cape May. On the grounds we added White-throated Sparrows and another sapsucker. In the third floor overlook we added Forsterís Tern and a Belted Kingfisher. 


    It was on to shop at the CMBO on Lake Lily followed by the Hawk watch. The museum was still closed.

    On the platform everyone got great looks at the Eared Grebe through a spotting scope.

    We briefly visited Higbee beach but it was late and mainly saw more Yellow-rumps. We did hear a Killdeer to add to our trip list.

    On the way home we got off exit 10 of the Garden State Parkway to visit the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor. Both yellow legs and Willets were cramming onto small grass islands in the marsh.

Greater Yellowlegs                                                                           Ruby-crowned Kinglet



    This small quick trip yielded 85 species.

Thanks for reading.  

Michael, Kelli, and Mark


Read our other trip reports at Kelli and Mike's Adventures

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