The next day (after Howard S. Stainton), we drove down to Cape May from our temporary home in Ocean City. It was about a 45 minute drive to our targeted location, Cape May Point Wildlife Refuge. Cape May Point is located just about 15 minutes from where the Cape May – Lewes Ferry is docked. We went (and we’ve previously gone) to Cape May Point Wildlife Refuge simply for the popular Hawk-Watch platform and the lighthouse. This time, though, we decided to explore the place more. We took a right from the entrance to the hawk watch platform, and walked until we came to a wooden billboard. We saw that there was a nice boardwalk trail through marsh, woodland, and garden habitats, past a few ponds and an area that got a good view of the lighthouse. The different habitats held mostly Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Red-Breasted Nuthatches, but the ponds were a different story. The first pond that we came upon was called Lighthouse Pond (because of it’s great view of the lighthouse), and had hundreds and hundreds of birds, and almost the same amount of species! The first birds that I noticed were the American Wigeons.
At least 150 American Wigeon were on the pond, with even more Mallards. Then, I see Green-Winged Teals,
which slightly resemble Wigeons, but with orange heads. To go along with all of that, I see Ring-Necked Ducks
(which have much more pronounced rings on their bills than on their necks), a female Ruddy Duck, and an American Coot.
First, the Coot came to a devastating end because of a nasty Great Black-Backed Gull named “Cooter”.
Apparently, Cooter has been coming for a few years now to Lighthouse Pond and typically dines on the only Coot that is in sight on the pond at the time. All of the ducks swam away from the poor Coot as we saw a large shadow pass by, and the next thing we know, there is a Gull eating a Coot.
Now, on a happier note, Mike Crewe, a staff member from the Cape May Bird Observatory,
came by and offered some other species of bird that was on the pond, including a Eurasian Wigeon, a female Redhead, and some Gadwall.
All in all, it was an excellent end to our trip to NJ, although just the beginning to many more. In the winter time, this is a great place to come. If you want to find ducks and other waterbirds, this is definitely the place to come.