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. 7 include: ROCK WREN, GYRFALCON, SANDHILL CRANE, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, LITTLE GULL, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER, FORSTER'S TERN, LEAST BITTERN, SHORT-EARED OWL, PEREGRINE FALCON, CANVASBACK, BALD EAGLE, GOLDEN EAGLE, and highlights of the Cumberland and Marmora Christmas Bird Counts.
The elusive ROCK WREN continues to be seen and was last reported to this office Jan. 2. It was seen at 3:30 PM on that day on the sand dune behind the construction site on Lincoln Ave., where it's been all along. Also look for the bird at the construction site at 405 Lincoln Ave.
One party of observers involved in the Cumberland County count on Jan. 1 had a grand bird: a gray GYRFALCON. The bird was seen near Fairton, south of Bridgeton; it was seen from Back Neck Rd., or Rt. 601. This road looks out on the marshes bordering Delaware Bay. Observers on Jan. 2 failed to see the bird though searching from dawn to 3:30 PM. Gyrs range far, though, so the bird could still be in the area occasionally.
Also on Jan. 1 during the Cumberland count, a SANDHILL CRANE was discovered at Bridgeton, in the dump behind the City Park Zoo. Twenty BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were seen Jan. 1 from Poverty Beach, which is at the eastern end of Cape May's beachfront. LITTLE GULLS have been seen this week in with a flock of between 200 and 500 BONAPARTE'S GULLS, feeding in the rips in the waters just off Cape May Point. On Jan. 3 one adult was seen, and 2 adults on Jan. 7.
A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, a PURPLE FINCH, and 30 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were at Higbee Beach on Jan. 7. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen at the Dix Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County on Jan. 2. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Concrete Ship Jan. 7, along with a MERLIN. A female KING EIDER, and a COM. EIDER, were seen Jan. 2 at Wildwood Crest at the Coast Guard jetties. As many as 8 FORSTER'S TERNS continue at Cape May Point Jan. 7. Two LEAST BITTERNS were in the Cape May Point State Park on Jan. 7.
Two SHORT-EARED OWLS and a GREAT HORNED OWL perched on the blind at dusk at Jakes's Landing Jan. 2, where they were seen by CMBO's owl field trip. Two more Owl Outings are planned for Jan. 30 and Feb. 2. An adult PEREGRINE FALCON continues to frequent the Cape May Point State Park, and was seen as recently as Jan. 6 perched on the bunker. This female Peregrine also like to perch on the pole near the hawk watch platform. The pigeons roosting in the bunker provide easy meals.
Lily Lake held 2 CANVASBACKS and 2 RUDDY DUCKS on Jan. 7. RED-THROATED LOONS are already beginning to congregate off the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May; Jan 7 there were over 200 along with one Com. Loon. Lots of EAGLES were reported Jan. 1 - 3 all over south Jersey. Four BALD EAGLES were seen on the Wading River including 2 ad., 2 imm. One imm. was at Mott's Creek Rd. and one adult was at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge. Two imm. BALD EAGLES were at May's Landing on Jan. 1 - 3. Three ad. BALD EAGLES were at the Tuckahoe Wildlife Mgmt. Area on Jan. 3. In addition, several were seen during the Cumberland Count on Jan. 1, at Hansey Creek, Bear Swamp, and on up the Delaware Bay. A GOLDEN EAGLE was near Leeds Point on Jan. 1, and an adult female GOLDEN EAGLE was seen gliding over Corbin City WMA on Jan. 3.
If you are planning to visit Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge, be prepared to visit only part of the dikes. Construction of a new crossdike through the West Pool and the associated truck activity has meant partial closure of the auto tour route.
The total of the Cumberland County Christmas Count is up to 138 species with several parties results still outstanding. Other highlights follow. PEREGRINE FALCON at Hansey Creek; ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK at Hansey Creek and elsewhere; an ad. male GOSHAWK at Seabreeze; BLACK VULTURES seen lots of places; a BARN OWL perched on the road across the Maple Street causeway near Dividing Creek; a PHOEBE in Dividing Creek on Rt. 553 across from the school, the same location one was seen on the count last year; WINTER WRENS at Dragston Rd. and on Rt. 553; a PINE WARBLER on Haleyville Rd.; lots of SNOW GEESE, with 12,000 - 13,000 seen by one party alone; lots of CEDAR WAXWINGS and CHIPPING SPARROWS.
The Marmora Count was held on Jan. 3; only one party's reports have come in to this office, from Corbin City Wildlife Mgmt., with PHOEBE, TREE SPARROW, BARRED OWL, WILD TURKEY, and the EAGLES previously mentioned.
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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 (email@example.com).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.