Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/19/1995
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. 19 include: NORTHERN SHRIKE, LITTLE GULL, ICELAND GULL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, and local nature notes.

The NORTHERN SHRIKE which was originally found on Jan. 11 at Higbee Beach, was found again Saturday, Jan. 14, at Hidden Valley Ranch, on the hedgerow running east-west from the small pond at the back of the second field. It was seen again on the morning of Jan. 15 but has not been seen since.

An adult LITTLE GULL was seen at Norbury's Landing on Jan. 15. It was in the company of several hundred Bonaparte's Gulls along with 6 [? - nearly inaudible] FORSTER'S TERNS. A first-winter ICELAND GULL was found at the Cape May Point State Park today, Jan. 19. It was seen again later in the day at the Second Ave. Jetty but then flew off to the southeast.

[Qty inaudible] female HARLEQUIN DUCKS were seen at the Concrete Ship Jan. 15; no repeat sightings have been reported. RED-NECKED GREBES are still being reported off Nummy's Island... as recently as Jan. 18. Two MARBLED GODWITS are also being seen on the mudflats near the toll bridge.

Two male EURASIAN WIGEONS and a COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL are still along Ocean Drive near the Coast Guard pond. A SPOTTED TOWHEE is still being seen at Sea Grove and Lighthouse Aves. in Cape May Point.

Other interesting sightings this week included: AMERICAN BITTERN and a VIRGINIA RAIL at the South Cape May Meadows on Jan. 18?; and an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW at the State Park on the same day. Also, a first winter LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Ferry terminal on Jan. ??.

CMBO's Sea Watch at Seventh Street in Avalon has finally wound down though Fred Mears and Dave Ward continue to check it at dawn and dusk. The weather, one of the warmest January's in history, ...proved by the Coast Guard Pond along Ocean Drive between Cape May and Wildwood Crest. It held 60+ N. PINTAIL and 70+ GREEN-WINGED TEAL Jan. 17. These ducks normally hug the ice line, moving into the area in early spring with the thaw. This year that line is well north of Cape May County....

A SNOWY OWL was seen Jan. 16 from the north dike at Brigantine NWR. The night of Jan. 17 a COMMON BARN OWL was heard over Cape May Point. This is an excellent winter for SHORT-EARED OWLS; good spots include Jakes Landing (Cape May Co.); Hansey Creek, Fortescue, and Turkey Point (Cumberland Co.); Leed's Point Road and Brigantine NWR and Corbin City WMA (Atlantic Co.).

A mini-pelagic trip has been scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 8 AM - noon. For more information, contact Dave Githens (609) 884-3712 for more details.

Local nature notes: Good numbers of American Oystercatchers are wintering at Hereford Inlet and Nummy Island. The warm weather is triggering some real unusual January experiences, like a Spring Peeper heard on Jan. 13 at Higbee Beach; and 3 species of BUTTERFLIES have been glimpsed: Orange Sulphur in Goshen (Cape May Co.) on Jan. 13, when temperatures were at 68 F; a Mourning Cloak and a Question Mark type on Jan. 14 near Thorofare (Gloucester Co.).

[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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