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. 27, 1994 include BROAD-WINGED HAWK, COMMON REDPOLL, EVENING GROSBEAK, SNOWY OWL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, COMMON EIDER, COMMON GOLDENEYE, REDHEAD, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, SHORT-EARED OWL, TREE SPARROW, PEREGRINE FALCON, BALD EAGLE, VIRGINIA RAIL, AMERICAN BITTERN, MARSH WREN, and news and announcements.
Month listers will be astounded to learn of two recent BROAD-WINGED HAWK sightings. One was seen Jan. 22 on Rt. 70 at mile marker 25, two miles west of the Four-mile Circle. And an adult was seen Jan. 24 flying over CMBO, heading towards the Lighthouse.
COMMON REDPOLL sightings continue. Many must have been moving on Jan. 21, with reports from many areas. One flock of 25 was found feeding on goldenrod seeds in the dunes at Cape May Point. A flock of 50 - 70 was on the north side of Sunset Blvd. in Cape May Point, inside the fenced area of the former Magnesite Plant. These birds were also feeding on seaside goldenrod seeds. A yard in Dennisville enjoyed a lone REDPOLL along with a single EVENING GROSBEAK on the evening of Jan. 21. A feeder in Woodbine had 2 birds on Jan. 23, and a flock of 25 was seen Jan. 24 in Cape May Point.
Two SNOWY OWLS were still being seen in Holgate as recently as Jan. 23. One was at Barnegat Inlet on Jan. 27, along with 12 HARLEQUIN DUCKS. Three COMMON EIDER, including two males, were at the Coast Guard Jetty on Jan. 23. Over 850 COMMON GOLDENEYE were discovered Jan. 23 in the Delaware Bay, off Cumberland County. This is a possible new state maximum. As the ice moved around, the flock was seen off East Point Jan. 23, while most were at Gandy's Beach, further north, on Jan. 24. Five REDHEADS, including four males, were at the Concrete Ship on Jan. 23. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen Jan. 25 at Cape May Point.
A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen off Ocean Drive, between Wildwood and Cape May, at the first toll bridge on Jan. 22, along with one Ruddy Duck. Another RED-NECKED GREBE flew past the seawatch at Avalon on Jan. 26. The CMBO seawatch continues to produce migrants; on Jan. 23, 110 Red-throated Loons, 24 Horned Grebes, and 225 Scoters flew past headed south.
Two SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen at Jake's Landing at dusk on Jan. 21. Short-ears were also reported from Mott's Creek Rd. near Brigantine, and from Manahawkin Wildlife Mgmt. Area this week.
The cold brought out AM. TREE SPARROWS at a number of locations. Sites included the Magnesite Plant on Sunset Blvd.; Higbee Beach; the dunes at Cape May Point; and five other individuals scattered around Cape May Point. An adult PEREGRINE FALCON used the Bunker in the State Park as a perch on Jan. 25, where it was hunting pigeons. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK is wintering in the vicinity of CMBO; on Jan. 21 it was seen on Sunset Blvd., and on Jan. 26 it was perched in the trees along Lighthouse Ave. across from CMBO, where it has been seen on other mornings as well.
Nearly 70 BALD EAGLES were discovered in southern NJ on the recent Eagle Survey. Sightings continue, with most of these birds wintering. Two adults were perched together at Union Lake in Millville Jan. 25. An adult was at East Creek Light on Jan. 23. The Maurice River continues to be a hot spot; the Mauricetown bridge is one good overlook, and Spring Garden Rd. off Rt. 47 on the east side of the river is another good spot. The eagle survey turned up six adults and ten immatures using the river.
During the freeze, VIRGINIA RAILS have been found at the few open water spots in the area. On Jan. 21, a trickle along Sunset Blvd. held one bird, and another was seen along the Red Trail at the State Park. An AM. BITTERN was seen at the Cape May Meadows on Jan. 24, and one flew over the State Park Jan. 25. A MARSH WREN was seen in the state park on Jan. 22. CMBO's feeders continue to attract FOX SPARROWS, a BROWN THRASHER, RUFOUS-SIDED TOWHEES, CATBIRD, HERMIT THRUSHES, and other local winterers.
The persistent cold took its toll on AM. WOODCOCKS. On Jan. 22, a drive down Sunset Blvd. and around the Point tallied sixteen live birds, six dead of starvation, and six road-killed. Concentrations have not been observed since the warming trend began this past Sunday.
Pelagic trip announcements: the Miss Chris fishing boat, Capt. Fred Ascoli, will offer a birding pelagic trip on Monday Feb. 21 (President's Day), going 15 to 40 miles offshore; leaving at 5 AM, out 12 hours, costs $50/person. Call (609) 884-3939 to register or for more information. Sure to fill quickly, a pelagic trip is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend by Armas Hill's Focus on Nature tours. The boat leaves from Barnegat Light at 8:30 PM May 27, goes out to Hudson Canyon and returns at about 6 PM the following day. Cost is $89. Call (302)5291876 for details or registration. In addition, the Miss Chris runs Saturday fishing trips starting Feb. 19, twelve hours long, leaving at 5 AM, and fishing for cod, pollock and ling. Birders are welcome but the focus is fishing and you still have to pay. Call Fred Ascoli as above for information.
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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.