Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/28/1993
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. 28 include: ROCK WREN, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, RAZORBILL, SANDHILL CRANE, FORSTER'S TERN, KING EIDER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, LEAST BITTERN, PINE WARBLER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, RED KNOT, waterfowl news, BLACK VULTURE, PEREGRINE FALCON, GOLDEN EAGLE, preliminary results of the mid-winter BALD EAGLE survey, and news of upcoming programs and field trips.

The elusive ROCK WREN continues to be seen. It was seen the afternoon of Jan. 28 in Cape May Point at the construction site across from 407 Lincoln Ave. It hid for part of the time under wood scrapS, occasionally peeking out and hopping about. On Jan.27, the bird was found perched on the dune fence at the public dune crossing near St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Church, at Lake and Harvard Drives. It sang for about 30 seconds and then dropped down into the dune grass and disappeared. Its call is a lound, ringing [imitation of call].

The 2 SNOWY OWLS seen at Poverty Beach and Cape May Point a week ago have not been seen since. Numbers of KITTIWAKES are being seen 1/4 mile off the Cape May Coast Guard Jetty, best seen from the south end of Wildwood Crest. Some estimated 170 birds on Jan. 24, and on Jan. 28, 30-40 were counted in with the Bonaparte's Gulls.

For those eager to try out your sea legs, regularly running whalewatching trips are going out of Brielle on the boat Atlantis. The boat goes every Sat. and Sun. and costs $18. To learn more, call (908) 528 6620. A trip aboard this boat on Jan. 24 produced over 20 RAZORBILLS, 2 probable THICK-BILLED MURRES, 100+ KITTIWAKES, 200 GANNETS, and 2 to 5 Finback Whales. A bit closer, Capt. Scully, out of Cape May, is running fishing trips every Sat. and Sun with birders welcome; of course you've got to pay the fisherman's price. He also has a birding pelagic trip scheduled for Feb. 15. For details call (609) 884-3939.

A SANDHILL CRANE was seen Jan. 17 when it flew over Alloways in Salem County. On Jan. 26, a SANDHILL CRANE was seen along the Cohansey River south of Bridgeton. The Bridgeton bird was also seen on Jan. 1 during the Cumberland Co. Christmas Bird Count. I wonder if 2 birds are involved.

Two FORSTER'S TERNS were seen Jan. 26 and 28 from the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May. On Jan. 24, an imm. male KING EIDER was seen in Wildwood Crest at the COast Guard Jetty. A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was seen Jan. 26 and 27 in the Cape May Point State Park on the "Yellow" trail. A LEAST BITTERN was heard calling from the Lighthouse Pond in the State Park on Jan. 26. Listen for the harsh late-fall and winter call [imitation].

A PINE WARBLER was seen on Seagrove Ave. in Cape May Point on Jan. 28, and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was in the dunes in Cape May Point at Harvard and Carl Aves. on Jan. 24. Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were seen Jan. 27 on Shunpike Rd. south of New England Rd. near a red barn. A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen Jan. 16 at Salem. Over 100 TREE SWALLOWS were at Brigantine NWR on Jan. 17. On Jan. 26, Reed's Beach held a RED KNOT, an AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, and 5 Peeps.

A Waterfowl survey of the Maurice River on Jan. 25 brought to our attention spring arrivals of some pretty good numbers of waterfowl: over 15000 waterfowl were counted, including 4800 Snow Geese, 3900 Black Ducks, 3900 Mallard, about 2400 Pintail, 154 Green-winged Teal, 95 Buffleheads, 19 Red-breasted Mergansers, 18 Hooded Mergansers, 1 Canvasback, and 1 Shoveler. A winter concentration of waterfowl at Reed's beach recently had 175 Canvasbacks, 80 Scaup, 100+ Ruddy Ducks, 5 Black Scoter, and 1 Pintail seen there on Jan. 26. Other good waterfowl spots around South Jersey follow. Brigantine held 150 Tundra Swans and over 5000 Snow Geese in the impoundments and 90 Horned Grebes in the channel south of Brigantine Jan. 16. Twenty-three Tundra Swans were at Stafford Forge WMA; 20 Com. Goldeneye and over 200 Tundra Swans were in the Wading River at Chips Folly on Jan.16; and Com. Loons, including a pair courting, were at Union L., Cumberland Co., on Jan. 17. Nine Black Vultures flew over the Beanery on Jan. 27; and 2 were seen on the 28th.

The adult female Peregrine Falcon still favors the Cape May Point State Park, and was seen there Jan. 27 flying in from the bunker, which is full of its favorite meal, pigeons. Both an adult and an imm. Golden Eagle were reported from Leed's Point, near Brigantine, Jan. 17. Ocean Drive north of Cape May is still good for herons; on Jan. 28, there were Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, as well as both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

The midwinter Bald Eagle survey was postponed from Jan. 8-10 to Jan. 15-17. Hardy eagle-watchers in the rain still found 20 birds Jan. 8. But the following weekend, 47 Bald Eagles were found, including 22 adults. Sightings came in from Manahawkin WMA, Wading River bridge, Leed's Point, Brigantine NWR, Lake Lenape, Corbin City WMA, Mannington Marsh, Cohansey R., and the Maurice R. Eagle survey observers also spotted other raptors, turning up GOSHAWK at Sayer's Neck, Mannington Marsh, and Back Neck Rd. on the Cohansey R.; also, Red-shouldered Hawks at Greenwich, Alloways, Cedarville, and the Taylor Refuge along the Delaware near Riverton; Cooper's Hawks on the Delaware near the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, as well as at Mannington Marsh, and a Merlin at Chestnut Neck north of Brigantine.

[Program announcements omitted. -LL]

Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office at 609-884-2736 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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