Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/5/1995
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 endind Jan 5 include: RED-NECKED GREBE, RAZORBILL, KING EIDER, BLACK-HEADED GULL, MARBLED GODWIT, EURASIAN WIGEON, SNOWY OWL, highlights of the Cumberland County Christmas Bird Count, local nature notes. All at CMBO also want to wish you a very happy new year.

Two RED-NECKED GREBES were found this week on Jan. 3, both off Nummy Island. One was at the toll bridge and one at the "free" bridge. Also at the "free" bridge on Jan. 4 was a RAZORBILL. Two MARBLED GODWITS are also being seen on the mud flats near the toll bridge.

The drake KING EIDER continues to be seen near the Bunker at Cape May Point State Park; it was seen as recently as Jan. 4. Also still being seen are the COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL and the EURASIAN WIGEON along Ocean Drive in the Coast Guard Pond. Both were seen on Jan. 2. Two SNOWY OWLS were seen at Holgate on Jan. 2.

Other interesting sightings in the area include up to 12 TREE SWALLOWS and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Higbee Beach on Jan. 5. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was along Ocean Drive, also on Jan. 5, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the State Park the same day.

The Cumberland County CBC tallied 125 species as of this tape. Highlights included SURF SCOTER, BLACK SCOTER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, lots of SHORT-EARED OWLS and the count's first IPSWICH (SAVANNAH) SPARROW.

CMBO's Sea Watch, from the end of Seventh street in Avalon, is still being manned, but only if there is a push of birds, which is still happening some days. Jan. 4 was one of those days: 2 RAZORBILLS, an unidentified ALCID, and 2 KITTIWAKES flew by the watch between 7 and 9 AM.

SHORT-EARED OWLS can be seen hunting their usual salt-marsh haunts; good spots to watch include Jakes Landing in Cape May County; Hansey Creek, Fortescue and Turkey Point in Cumberland County; Leed's Point Road, Brigantine NWR, and Corbin City State Wildlife Mgmt. Area in Atlantic County.

The back bay waters inland from Stone Harbor and Avalon are full of wintering waterfowl; BRANT, BUFFLEHEAD, and COMMON LOONS are all there in numbers. Numbers of OLDSQUAW can now be found on the ocean, and several can be viewed in the Cape May Harbor from the Lobster House parking lot.

Local nature notes: Bald Eagles have begun courtship and in at least one case have already consummated that courtship; on Jan. 1, Christmas Bird Counters witnessed the Cohansey River pair copulating. Some of us think it's winter; to the Bald Eagles, it's spring. It's a good time to look in bare trees for used nests, roost holes and insect cocoons.

[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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