You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Jan. 13, 1994 include GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, AM. TREE SPARROW, SNOW BUNTING, TREE SWALLOW, COM. REDPOLL, EVENING GROSBEAK, BALD and GOLDEN EAGLES, PEREGRINE, GOSHAWK, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, waterfowl, AM. BITTERN, RED-NECKED GREBE, and a pelagic trip announcement.
A brief announcement first for registrants for the CMBO field trips this weekend: the programs will go on, but it sounds like it will be bitter cold. Be sure to dress for it.
The GRASSHOPPER SPARROW first reported Dec. 22 continues to be seen in the S. Cape May Meadows. Most often it is found on the east side of the parking lot or in the hedgerow along Sunset Blvd. east of the lot. It was most recently reported on Jan. 10 and 11, and has been joined by an imm. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. A TREE SPARROW was seen in the Higbee Beach parking lot on Jan. 13. SNOW BUNTING and TREE SWALLOW were both seen in the Cape May Point State Park this week.
Several COM. REDPOLL reports have come in recently. Five were flyovers at Reeds Beach Jan. 11, and one was at a feeder in Salem Jan. 6, one day only. A lone EVENING GROSBEAK was at a feeder in Woodbine Jan. 8.
The midwinter Bald Eagle survey was held Jan. 8 - 9; it was very cold but plenty of eagles were found. The iced-in condition in western Salem County and northern Burlington Co. kept birds from being seen in these areas; but good numbers were concentrated along rivers below the ice line. The survey recorded 59 BALD EAGLES and 7 GOLDEN EAGLES. Hot spots were: the Maurice [pronounced "morris"] River, Cumberland County, with 15 birds; Tuckahoe/Corbin City Wildlife Management area, and Lake Lenape, where 8 BALD and 1 GOLDEN EAGLE; the Wading River and Swan Bay WMA, where 10 BALD EAGLES were reported; and the Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge and nearby Leed's Point/Mott's Creek Roads, where five BALD and four GOLDEN EAGLES were found.
As is always the case, many other sightings resulted from the number of observers in the field. Surveyors noted the following on the weekend of Jan. 8-9: 6000+ SNOW GEESE in fields near the Cohansey R.; thousands of Canada Geese moving south near the Delaware Bay; PEREGRINES at: Dividing Creek, Cumberland Co.; Burlington Island on the Delaware R.; Seven Bridges Rd., Tuckerton; Stafford Forge; Wading River; Corbin City WMA; also, more recently, at the Magnesite Plant property in Cape May, on Sunset Blvd., on Jan. 11. One GOSHAWK was seen at Corbin City, and another along Rt. 553 near Newport in Cumberland Co. during the survey, and one was at Cape May Point State park Jan. 11. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK numbers are low this winter, but during the survey two were seen at Mott's Creek, one light and one dark; and one was seen at Stafford Forge and another at Seven Bridges Rd., Tuckerton. Only two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were seen during the survey, both in Cumberland County, one near Sayre's Neck and the other west of the Cohansey River near the Bait Box. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK continues to be seen in Cape May Point, most recently on Jan. 11, in the state park.
Other Eagle notes from the surveys: On Union Lake, near Millville, a huge imm. female Bald Eagle spent a lot of time trying to steal fish from a family of River Otters. The lake was frozen; as the Otter brought fish to the top of the ice, the eagle benefitted. At the Wading River the eagles put on a show harrassing waterfowl. Winter-killed waterfowl attracted eagles at both the Wading R. and the Maurice R., where a huge dead carp was visited by 16 different eagles.
Now is a good time to study winter waterfowl. Ocean Drive marshes near the Two Mile Inn between Cape May and Wildwood held good numbers of N. Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Am. Wigeon, and Red-breasted Merganser Jan. 10. The mouth of Cedar Creek in Cumberland Co. held 15 Canvasbacks on Jan. 8. Seventy-five Ruddy Ducks were in Cape May Harbor Jan. 8, and Lily Lake in Cape May Point held 2 Com. Goldeneye Jan. 13. An Am. Bittern has been seen regularly in Cape May Point State Park. The sea watch at the north end of Avalon still is producing migrants. A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen Jan. 7.
An offshore pelagic trip is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, sponsored by Focus On Nature Tours with Armas Hill. The boat leaves from Barnegat Light at 8:30 PM May 27, goes out to the Hudson Canyon, stays all day May 28 and returns about 6 PM. The charge is $89 per person. For more information call (302) 529-1876.
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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 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.