The Inimitable Todd’s holiday present to me was a pelagic birding trip out of Cape May, complete with a romantic bed and breakfast stay for the weekend. I’ve never been to Cape May nor done a pelagic trip, so as I’m sure you can imagine, I was psyched.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature put the kibosh on the cruise in her own inarguable way, with seven-foot swells. Still, the bed and breakfast was already paid for, and it was too late to cancel. So we decided to go ahead and make the trip. I figured that at the bare minimum, I could get Northern Gannet for my year list and Red-throated Loon for my life list.
The trip down was full of interesting new sights, like the wind turbines outside Atlantic City and my first look at the Pine Barrens and my year first Turkey Vulture (and my year second through thirteenth Turkey Vulture.) Cape May itself smelled good, was picture-postcard charming and pretty darn quiet. While walking around town before dinner, I picked up Fish Crow and Red-breasted Merganser for my year list as well; the Mergansers were particularly nice, a pair right up close in an inlet with the male in good plumage and seemingly intent on impressing his lady friend.
This was all well and good, but would I pick up my life Red-throated Loon and get my Gannets? Only time would tell…
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
American Crow Corvus brachyrhnchos
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos