Last weekend I took my family to Cape May, New Jersey for the annual Audubon Fall Festival.
I have been birding with my kid since I was pregnant with her and nothing has changed since. Via stroller, carrier, bicycle, car, or walking, we are all-weather birders.
I’ve seen some of my best birds with my kid. The first time I saw a Bald Eagle fly over my house, she was there. Asleep in her stroller, only 10 months old, but still, she was there. The most memorable moment we’ve had, so far, was the Northern Harrier we accidentally flushed from a field near our house.
Traveling to Cape May with the intent to bird was a big step for us as a family. We had some time together, and then apart. Unfortunately, there weren’t “so many birds”, but butterflies and history filled the space!
Cape May was a successful family trip. There were butterflies in the air and everywhere you looked a Monarch was riding the breeze. The image below is of one Monarch, of several, that passed over our heads while we were eating brunch.
On one of my solo excursions, I had the opportunity to bird the Cape May Coast Guard Training Center. The Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May is where ~ 90% of all the Coast Guard train in the United States.
The birds were not plentiful, but I did see my first Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows of the season.
The most interesting part of the tour was the fascinating Coast Guard history that came along with it. The tour guides were both active USCG members and in addition to being bird experts, they knew every detail about the base — I was in good hands.
The above image is a close-up of the structure in previous image. This is a World War II era artillery bunker that was unearthed during a beach restoration project. In fact, it was underwater for decades.
I was able to go inside of it (no pictures because there were a few individuals looking directly into my camera). It was an incredible experience.
Towards the end of the walk, there wasn’t a lot to see. There a lot of Butter butts (Yellow-rumped Warblers), but nothing out of the ordinary. It would be so cool to bird some of the spaces I was introduced to, alone.
The entire family enjoyed the trip and my kid survived the 5 hour car ride better than I did. We will definitely be back for the Cape May Fall Festival in 2018.