CMBO is pleased to provide weekly summaries of the Cape's birding highlights. Coverage is limited to sightings in Cape May County. Readers should keep in mind that some reports may not be confirmed. The vast majority of information utilized in these reports comes from eBird data and "Keekeekerr" text alerts. Observers are encouraged to send reports and photos to compiler Tom Reed (coturnicops at gmail dot com).
Location Abbreviations/Explanations: ASW (Avalon Seawatch); CMP (town of Cape May Point); CMPSP (Cape May Pt. State Park); Higbee Dike (dredge spoils at northwest corner of Cape Island, site of CMBO's Morning Flight count); SCMM (South Cape May Meadows).
WATERFOWL THROUGH RAPTORS
Waterfowl migration continued to become more obvious in recent days. Numbers of NORTHERN SHOVELERS, AMERICAN WIGEON, and NORTHERN PINTAIL increased at CMPSP and SCMM (m. ob.), and 49 NORTHERN PINTAIL migrated past ASW on 22 Sep (TR). The first southbound BRANT passed ASW on 22 Sep (TR) and 25 Sep (SH). The season's first RED-THROATED LOON shot past ASW 23 Sep (TR). BROWN PELICANS were seen from ASW on multiple days (SH, TR), though the period's max of 8 was notched at CMP 20 Sep (LM). A pair of CATTLE EGRETS took up residence at West Cape May 25?26 Sep (m. ob.), and small numbers of YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS lingered in Atlantic Coast marshes, e.g. 6 at Jarvis Sound 20 Sep (WC). Peak daily totals for various migrant raptors at CMPSP included 554 AMERICAN KESTRELS on 22 Sep, 284 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS on 23 Sep, 116 OSPREY, 129 COOPER'S HAWKS, 68 MERLINS, and 32 PEREGRINE FALCONS on 26 Sep (MR).
RAILS THROUGH TERNS
Multiple VIRGINIA RAILS were found at CMP/CMPSP during stormy conditions 25 Sep (m. ob.), and at least 1 SORA occupied SCMM on multiple days (m. ob.). Notable shorebirds included single AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS at ASW 22 Sep (TR) and South Seaville 25 Sep (CS), multiple MARBLED GODWITS in the Stone Harbor area on several days (m. ob.), and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS at Cape May NWR 20 Sep (MB), SCMM 24 Sep (MG), and the Higbee Dike 26 Sep (TR). A juv. LONG-TAILED JAEGER was an exciting find at ASW 25 Sep (SH), one of only a handful of records at that site. PARASITIC JAEGER was seen from CMP on a daily basis (m. ob.), and 4 migrated south past ASW 22 Sep (TR). A LITTLE GULL was traveling with a flock of FORSTER'S TERNS offshore CMP 22 Sep (SH), the second recorded this season. The season's first BONAPARTE'S GULLS were a bit early when they passed ASW 24 Sep (SH). The WHISKERED TERN was last seen at CMP 20 Sep (m. ob.), and BLACK TERN was last reported the same day (MG).
COLLARED-DOVE THROUGH SONGBIRDS
At least 1 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE continued at CMP this week (m. ob.). RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS have been quite scarce this fall; at least 2 were found at HB 26 Sep (m. ob.). The Higbee Dike played host to a flight of 451 NORTHERN FLICKERS 23 Sep (GD, m. ob.). A BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, possibly the same individual seen earlier in 2014, was detected at CMPSP 22 Sep (MO'B, m. ob). Songbird diversity remained high through the period-- recent sightings of uncommon migrants included WARBLING VIREO at the Higbee Dike 26 Sep (TR), PHILADELPHIA VIREO at HB 26 Sep (m. ob.), and CONNECTICUT WARBLER at HB/Higbee Dike on multiple dates (m. ob.). CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were noted at CMPSP 25 Sep (m. ob.) and at Del Haven 26 Sep (HT). The season's first RUSTY BLACKBIRD arrived at CMPSP 24 Sep (TR, m. ob.). Small numbers of PURPLE FINCHES were reported throughout the county (m. ob.), and Cape Island's first PINE SISKIN of the season flew over HB 26 Sep (MC, m. ob.).
Contributors: Margaret Barbuty (MB), Warren Cairo (WC), Mike Crewe (MC), Glen Davis (GD), Mark Garland (MG), Skye Haas (SH), Larry Meade (LM), Michael O'Brien (MO'B), Mary Raikes (MR), Tom Reed (TR), Clay Sutton (CS), Harvey Tomlinson (HT).
*eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed 27 Sep 2014. Available: http://www.ebird.org
*Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Accessed 27 Sep 2014. Available: http://keekeekerr.com/textalerts/keekeekerr
* Birders are encouraged to submit reports of Review List Species (photos, field sketches, and/or written documentation) to the New Jersey Bird Records Committee at 'report (at) njbrc.net' or hard copy to 14 Crown Drive, Warren NJ 07059. Thanks for reporting.