Monday, September 08, 2008

An Unusual Bird

On Saturday night before nightfall I ventured out one last time to look for any storm birds. I stood on an observation platform atop a dune and scanned the sky while the wind made my binoculars dance. As I watched, I saw a strange avian form drift sideways past me. It was about the size of a medium tern or small gull, with pointed wings and forked tail, and (as far as I could tell) an all-dark upperside. I did not get a look at its underside, and the bird disappeared into the gloom very quickly. The only bird I can find that fits that description is a juvenile sooty tern, a species spotted elsewhere around the Cape yesterday and this morning.

It looks like sooty tern is my second life bird of the fall.

I mentioned in another email that I would be working with raptors while here in Cape May. Yesterday as part of my training, I got to hold and release a few raptors - a kestrel, a Cooper's hawk, and a red-tailed hawk. Once raptor migration picks up I will be doing raptor banding demos and releases near the hawk watch. I will post more details on that in a week or two.