Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/31/2002
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This recording was made on Thursday, January 31, 2002. Highlights from the last week include LITTLE GULL, SNOWY OWL, LARK SPARROW, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, SANDHILL CRANE, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, BLACK SKIMMER, and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK.

LITTLE GULLS continue to frequent the waters around Cape May Point, with as many as 4 birds (3 adult, 1 first winter) present. One or more are sometimes seen near the ferry landing, often when a ferry is at the dock with its engines running and large numbers of gulls are drawn to the churning water. At other times they are seen offshore with hundreds of BONAPARTE'S GULLS. Current ferry departures are 8:40 and 10:20 a.m., 12 noon, 1:40, 3:20, and 5:00 p.m. The ferry is usually idling at the dock for 20 30 minutes prior to departure.

A SNOWY OWL is present today, Jan. 31st, in Cape May City, sitting on buildings near Beach and Reading. Another SNOWY OWL report comes from Corson's Inlet on Jan. 29th. The SNOWY OWL at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (better known as Brigantine) is becoming harder to see, though it was found on Jan. 28th

A LARK SPARROW first seen Dec. 16th, has seen through at least Jan. 28th near Cape May Court House. From Garden State Parkway exit 10, go west on Stone Harbor Blvd., which crosses Rt. 9 and becomes Court House South Dennis Road. Go 0.6 miles beyond the traffic light at Winding Way (Ames and Super Fresh on the right here) and look for a small "Firewood for Sale" sign on the left. Park opposite that sign, on the right, and cross the 100-foot wide lawn to a brushy area; on the far side of the brush is an area with piles of garden debris this is where the LARK SPARROW is usually found.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW is being regularly seen in Cape May Point. The bird feeds on seed spilled from feeders in a yard at the corner of Coral and Cambridge.

Eight CRANES were seen Jan. 26th and 29th at Bostwick Lake, near the Cumberland/Salem County line; some were identified as SANDHILL CRANES and others appeared to be SANDHILL CRANE x COMMON CRANE hybrids.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was seen at Cape May Point State Park on Jan. 26th, 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS on Jan. 26th, also at Cape May Point State Park. PALM WARBLER reports come from the Rea Farm on Jan. 26th and from Cape May Point on Jan. 28th. Bunker Pond at Cape May Point State Park is harboring a good variety of birds, including a CANVASBACK and 2 TUNDRA SWANS.

Two immature BLACK SKIMMERS were found at Absecon Inlet on Jan. 26th, along with a dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. Other ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK reports come from Turkey Point on Jan. 25th and from Jakes Landing on Jan. 28th.

A NORTHERN GOSHAWK visited a residential neighborhood in West Cape May on Jan. 29th. The bird actually flew into the garage of the dwelling of two CMBO volunteers; just another of the many benefits that our volunteers enjoy.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has daily walks that require no pre-registration, and many special field trips and programs that do. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call our new natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, 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 Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

*Documentation of Review List species goes to NJBRC at 91 Sycamore Lane, Skillman 08558

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