Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/29/2004
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, January 29. Highlights from the last week include ICELAND GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, VIRGINIA RAIL, and news of wintering raptors and waterfowl.

An ICELAND GULL was found at the Avalon Seawatch site on Jan. 27th. A RED-NECKED GREBE was seen on Jan. 29 in the Cape May harbor. An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues to be found at the Schellenger Tract of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. Head west from Rt. 47 at Green Creek on Norbury's Landing Rd. Go past the Green Creek Fire House and park on the roadside where a grassy track heads back to the right. There are National Wildlife Refuge boundary signs here. The woodpecker has been frequenting dead trees near the end of this path. Several birders found this bird on Jan. 25th.

The recent cold, icy weather has brought AMERICAN WOODCOCKS and VIRGINIA RAILS into view in sheltered areas where the ground is most likely to be thawed. On Jan. 28th 37 AMERICAN WOODCOCKS were seen on the north side of Sunset Blvd. between Lighthouse and Stevens, just northeast of the CMBO Northwood Center. WOODCOCKS were found at many other locations during the last week, including several back yards. 2 VIRGINIA RAILS were reported from The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge ("The Meadows") on the 25th, and 3 from Cape May Point State Park on the 25th.

A GOLDEN EAGLE was seen at Dividing Creek on Jan. 25th, and another was at the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area on the 23rd. Both CMBO Centers were visited by a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK on Jan. 28th. 20 BALD EAGLES were found around Cumberland County wetlands on Jan. 23rd. Single AMERICAN KESTRELS were at the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, off Woodcock Lane, on Jan. 25th and along Rt. 657 in Dennis Township on Jan. 28th. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was found at 14th St. in Avalon on Jan. 22nd. SHORT-EARED OWLS, a dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, and GREAT HORNED OWLS continue to be seen at Jakes Landing.

Waterfowl numbers are well above average for this time of year in the open waters of the back bays behind Wildwood, Stone Harbor, and Avalon, including 13 REDHEADS seen from 14th & Ocean Drive in Avalon. A drake CANVASBACK was on Lily Lake, Cape May Point, on Jan. 25th.

A pelagic targeting winter seabirds is scheduled for Sunday, March 7 out of Cape May, NJ. The cost is $90. Contact See Life Paulagics for more information at 215-234-6805 or see their web site at http://www.paulagics.com Please note that the "free bridge" connecting Nummy Island to south Stone Harbor is now closed until further notice at least until spring 2004 for construction. Nummy can still be accessed from North Wildwood Blvd. drive past the "road closed local traffic only" sign and over the bridge). Note also that the deer hunting season is underway in New Jersey use caution in areas where hunting is permitted!

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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