Birding Cape May with SPNI

Jonathan Meyrav 13/06/2018 00:00

Our team of birders from the SPNI Ornithological Center has just returned from our annual "spring migration" to North America. The team included Dan Alon (Director of the IOC), Amir Balaban (Director of Urban birding and the Jerusalem Bird Observatory) and Jonathan Meyrav (Director of Tourism and international events). As usual the purpose of our visit is to highlight the amazing birds and birding Israel has to offer and to share our day to day conservation work.

Another aspect of our visit is to spend time in the field with our loyal supporters from the US.

Our first birding adventure took place in Cape May New Jersey where we were joined by a group of SPNI supporters from the East coast (from Philadelphia to Florida) for a migration themed weekend.


Cape May point State Park      Photo: Amir Balaban


Our group met at the Cape May point State Park where we birded for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful day and despite the fact there were not many migrants around we enjoyed a wide range of species including Gannets offshore and great looks at some birds of prey, Terns and more. We had a lovely meal in the evening and an early night.



Icleland Gull - Coral Av platform


On Saturday morning we started at the Coral Av platform where we had some great active migration including Red-headed Woodpeckers, Scoters and jaegers offshore and an Iceland Gull that flew past. Our next stop was the "Beanery" where we got up close and personal with several Prothonotary Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeak and more. After a great breakfast we headed to "Bob's woods" where the long staying Swainson's Warbler was singing it’s little heart out. What a great bird for Cape May!

After a short break the group headed north for a special shorebirds workshop led by local specialist Kevin Karlson. We spent 2 wonderful hours with Kevin at the Heislerville salt pools where we got great looks at many species of waders, Skimmers, Gulls and more. Just before heading out we were lucky to see 2 White-faced Ibis, another rarity in Cape May.



Amir Balaban - Director of Urban birding and the Jerusalem Bird Observatory


That evening we were treated with 2 fantastic talks: "Birding by impression" by Kevin Karlson and a great talk about Cape May Bird Observatory by CMBO director David La Puma.

Early Sunday morning we set out to bird the famous Cape May Meadows. It was a cold overcast morning but we had a wonderful session that included scarcities such as Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, Orchard Orioles, a nice mini fall of Eastern Kingbirds, waders and much more.


Heislerville salt pans


After a productive morning we assembled for a late breakfast and parting words. It was a wonderful weekend for everyone involved and I would like to thank dear friends Kevin Karlson and David la Puma for taking time out of their very busy schedules to spend time with our group.

Thanks also to Robin Gordon from ASPNI for helping with the organization of the weekend and a final warm thank you to the members of the group that travelled from all over to join us in the field. It is thanks to your support that we can keep working for the conservation of birds in Israel and beyond, looking forward to seeing you again next spring in the US or in Israel any time!

Jonathan Meyrav, Dan Alon and Amir Balaban.



Kevin and me

land marks