I don't think that the best of Cape May can be experienced in any one season - each has its own unique experience to offer. While I can jump in the car on a late May day to see shorebirds on the Delaware Bayshore or migrating monarchs in late September - what does it offer in late October/early November that will give a sense of what it is that makes Cape May so special?
Recently there's been a discussion on NJ Birds about the top places to bird in NJ. I've been pleased to see the discussion turn more to the merits of some of the top bird-related experiences one might have in NJ, rather than relating it to any one particular place in the state. Considering the vagaries of weather and migration, I would agree that it's difficult to limit the discussion to a particular time or place.
In an effort to further entice you guys (or maybe some others who might like to join us) I'm including a list from the NJ Birds discussion of some *experiences* that we might witness in Cape May in the late Fall. I'd like to see those of you that know Cape May as well or better to add to the list. Maybe we can come up with a top ten list of sorts?
- That near-mythic, near-annual "big" day somewhere around Halloween when every scoter, and other littoral migrant in the western north-atlantic decides its a good day to fly past the Jetty in Avalon.
- A late fall Buteo flight- the kind that produces Ravens and Golden Eagles.
- Bald Eagles doing just about anything just about anywhere in NJ- remember when there was one nest in an undisclosed location in Salem County, and 5-8 was agood fall?
- Fall warbler fallout
- Short-distance migrant flight/fallout (kinglets, robins, hermit thrushes, yellow-rumps, etc)
- Major nocturnal migration of thrushes and other land birds
- A marsh at dawn
- A peregrine hunting
- Gannet/scoter migration
Photo of the lighthouse at Cape May taken in late September/early October - my favorite time of year for a visit.