Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/12/1995
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending Jan. 12 include: NORTHERN SHRIKE, a major ALCID flight at Avalon, continuing RED-NECKED GREBE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, MARBLED GODWIT, EURASIAN WIGEON, and SPOTTED TOWHEE, highlights of the EAGLE survey, and local nature notes.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE was found on Jan. 11 at Higbee Beach. It was also seen today, Jan. 12. It is most regularly seen along the east edge of the pond field, although it is not always easy to find.

CMBO's Sea Watch at the north end of Avalon at Seventh Street is still underway, and a major alcid flight was witnessed from that location on Jan. 11. Twenty-one RAZORBILLS were identified, while another 84 birds were labeled "unidentified" alcids. One flock contained 33 birds. There may have been double that number of birds, since flocks were too far offshore to be sure.

RED-NECKED GREBES are still being seen off Nummy Island, with one there Jan. 8; two MARBLED GODWITS are also being seen on the mudflats near the toll bridge.

The drake KING EIDER at the Cape May Point state park was NOT seen this week; still being seen, however, are the COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL and now two EURASIAN WIGEONS along Ocean Drive at the Coast Guard pond. The SPOTTED TOWHEE is also still being seen at the corner of Sea Grove and Lighthouse in Cape May Point.

Other interesting sightings in the area this week included: a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER near Lily Lake on Jan. 8; a WHITE-EYED VIREO on Sea Grove Ave., also Jan. 8; 3 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS along Ocean Drive in the Coast Guard pond on Jan. 10; and a CHIPPING SPARROW at Higbee Beach Jan. 12.

This looks like an excellent winter for SHORT-EARED OWLS. Good spots include: Jakes Landing in Cape May County; Hansey Creek, Turkey Point and Fortescue in Cumberland Co.; Leed's Point Road, Brigantine NWR, and Corbin City Wildlife Mgmt. Area, in Atlantic Co. Volunteers for the mid-winter BALD EAGLE survey reported SHORT-EARS Jan. 7-8 from all these locations, some hunting all day long in Saturday's overcast weather.

On Jan. 8, an influx of N. PINTAILS and other waterfowl was noted on the Maurice River, with 680 Pintails, 1000+ Black Ducks, and a number of Mallards. Sixty-plus volunteer observers had a very successful Bald Eagle Survey Jan. 7-8.

Sixty-seven Eagles were discovered in southern NJ, including 27 adults and 36 immature BALD EAGLES and 4 GOLDEN EAGLES. Hot spots included Cohansey River, Stow Creek, Mannington Marsh, Bear Swamp, Maurice River, Brigantine, and Leed's Point, Tuckahoe River, Lake Lenape, and Lake Manahawkin. Four GOLDEN EAGLES were all on the Atlantic side of the state; one was at Leed's Point, one at Brigantine, and two were at Harrisville Pond. Some good sightings by Eagle observers included a River Otter at Lake Lenape, and an Bald Eagle fishing there, as well as the Short-eared Owls mentioned earlier.

Local nature notes: The back bay waters behind the barrier islands at Stone Harbor and Avalon are again full of winter waterfowl, Brant, Buffleheads, and Common Loons; numbers of Oldsquaws can now be found in the ocean surf. A large seal has been seen repeatedly in Hereford Inlet, most recently on Jan. 8 when it was sunning on the bank of the creek mouth at Nummy Island. Bald Eagles have begun courtship and in at least one case have already consummated that courtship. It's a good time to look in bare trees for used nests, roost holes and insect cocoons.

[Program notes omitted -LL]

Fine print: Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and preserve the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this birding hotline. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point. The Cape May birding hotline [(609) 884-2626] is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and includes sightings from Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties and adjacent areas. Updates are made on Thursday evening, more often if warranted. [Compiled by CMBO staff; transcribed by L. Larson (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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