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cape may in late September? (1 Viewer)

Jeff51

Member
United States
is late September a good time to see fall migration in cape may? I realize migration takes place over a many month period, so I wonder whether to see birds in numbers earlier, or later, might be better? there's nothing specific I want to see -- I'm just getting started -- but timing of trip can be flexible and hoping to have some avian company when I do go. many thanks for the help, jeff
 

rdcny

Well-known member
for raptors...cold fronts in early to mid-October. For warblers...that can be as early as August...Personally I prefer October as a good/great day means many falcons flying low past the observation deck (Peregrines/Merlins)...days with northwest winds usually are best for migrant raptors.
 

Jeff51

Member
United States
thanks Robert! would warblers still be passing through in later September? would the numbers and varieties be much reduced? for raptors, thinking of hawk mountain in October.
 

rdcny

Well-known member
Hawk Mtn gets very crowded in October though it is the best time to visit to watch the Accipiter flight (10-15 Oct approx). Go during the week...say Mon-Thu. Book your hotel now because there are limited number of places to stay in the Kempton area (check Air BnB's too). I trust you will have a vehicle? Where are you coming from? Both Hawk Mtn and Cape May are known for their raptor flights in autumn...Cape May gets more (and to me) better birds often closer. BUT one is coastal and one is in the autumn colors of the deciduous eastern forest...Small birds better seen at Cape May because the coastal scrub/forest is not too tall so birds are lower...

As for Cape May, yes warblers throughout the entire period and many through mid-October. Look to stay in Absecon (about 30-40 min drive north of Cape May)..you can find mid-week hotels from $25-50/night on the low end in Absecon. Cape May very expensive for hotels/Air BnB's etc. The advantage to staying in Absecon is that a few minutes drive away is Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (formerly Brigantine) that has a great great 10 mile loop drive. So if few birds (no flight) at Cape May, go there and nearby. Absecon also has Bob's Seafood (look them up) a wonderful cafeteria style place for fresh seafood at very good prices. (Crab Cakes are pretty good here.)

Of the two places I'd opt for Cape May unless you prefer the fall colors of the eastern forest.
 

NorthernHarrier

Well-known member
Yes, late September is a good time generally for birds at Cape May. You will find passerines at Higbee Beach (dunes and woods) around sunrise and just after sunrise. Also check the South Cape May Meadows for shorebirds and waterfowl.

At Cape May Point, falcon migration usually peaks between late September and mid-October, from what I remember during the years I went their regularly. The New Jersey Audubon Society website states that 90% of peregrine falcons go by the Point between September 26 and October 12, on any given year. Accipiters and falcons are in general most common from mid-September through mid-October, while buteos are most common from mid-October onward (except for the majority of broadwinged hawks coming through mid-September to mid-October). The highest total numbers of raptors are seen between late September and mid-October, while diversity of species is higher from late October to mid-November, according to past records.
 

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