Cape May water birds

Just to add to the previous two posts on Cape May, I thought I’d share a few pictures of some of the water birds we saw.

The most common gull by far was the Laughing Gull:

Laughing Gulls

We often saw Laughing Gulls and Forster’s Terns together:

Laughing Gulls and Forster's Terns

These Forster’s Terns were doing a courtship thing, with the male offering the female a fish, to show he is a good hunter. (She seemed disinterested.)

Forster's Terns courting

I thought this Herring Gull was a beautiful specimen:

Herring Gull

There were also a good number of Great Black-backed Gulls:

Great Black-backed Gull

Because of the Horseshoe Crab spawning, there were hundreds of thousands of sandpipers and other shorebirds. In this picture, the largest bird is a Laughing Gull, the medium sized birds in the foreground with the black bibs are Ruddy Turnstones, and the smaller birds are Semipalmated Sandpipers. There were several other species besides these.


Here is a Piping Plover. It is endangered and closely watched at this time. When one lays eggs on the beach, conservationists quickly build a fence around the nest to keep out predators like Fish Crows.

Piping Plover

A Short-billed Dowitcher:

Short-billed Dowitcher

An American Oystercatcher (sitting on its nest, right in the middle of the beach):

American Oystercatcher

In inland ponds, we saw a number of ducks and geese, including the ever-present Mallards and Canada Geese. We also saw Ruddy Ducks, and these Gadwall:


And these Mute Swans:



We saw a number of raptors, including Bald Eagles, Red-talied Hawks and a Red-shouldered Hawk. But by far the most visible raptor was the Osprey. Check out the talons!


Here’s an Osprey carrying a fish meal back to the nest:

Osprey with fish

Marsh habitats were active, too. There were countless Great Egrets and Double-crested Cormorants. We saw a few Black-crowned Night Herons and Snowy Egrets, and a random Green Heron. This Tricolored Heron was a life bird for Gail and me:

Tricolored Heron

Other life birds included the Marsh Wren and this stealthy Clapper Rail:

Clapper Rail

This is by no means a complete photo record of all we saw. Like I mentioned a few posts back, in the four days we spent in Cape May we saw or heard 120 different species. It was an awesome trip!

I’m happy to share these pics with you, and truly blessed to always share these experiences with Princess Gail! 🙂

Gail observing



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