Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/7/1994
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. 6, 1994 include GRASSHOPPER & LECONTE'S SPARROWS, BROWN PELICANS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, RAZORBILL, SNOWY, SHORT-EARED, LONG-EARED & SAW-WHET OWLS, N. ORIOLE, Christmas Bird Count news.

The GRASSHOPPER SPARROW first reported Dec. 27 continues to be seen in the South Cape May meadows. Most often it has been found on the east side of the parking lot or in the hedgerow along Sunset Blvd. east of the parking lot. It was most recently reported Jan. 4.

The LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen Jan. 4 on Ocean Drive north of Cape May as you head toward Wildwood. It was on the shell piles behind Axelsson & Johnson's Fish Market. The CMBO Sea Watch at the north end of Avalon continues to produce sightings. Fourteen RAZORBILLS were counted migrating by on Jan.1, along with 37 HORNED GREBES, and an excellent Loon flight. On Jan. 5, a RAZORBILL flew into the inlet and landed; strong winds and choppy seas made it impossible to rediscover. If you visit the site, look for the huge raft of sea ducks off shore. On Jan. 2, 2-3000 birds were counted, mostly Scoters and Scaup. A BROWN PELICAN, missed by the Cape May Christmas Bird Count, was seen Jan. 1 from the Cape May Point State Park.

A late report came in of a SNOWY OWL seen at Point Pleasant on the North Shore Dec. 24. SHORT-EARED OWLS have been discovered in a number of locations, but sightings are still spotty. Three were seen Jan. 1 & 2 at the end of Mott's Creek Rd., north of Brigantine NWR. And one was seen Jan. 1 in Cumberland County over the marshes on Hansey Creek Rd. An imm. GOSHAWK was seen Jan. 6 over Cape May Point.

The Cumberland Co. Christmas Bird Count held on Jan. 1 recorded 126 species, a very nice total. The count was graced with a very still night for owling. GREAT HORNED OWLS were hooting everywhere. Highlights of the count include: five AM. BITTERNS found at Turkey Point and Fortescue; over 90 CANVASBACKS on the Delaware Bay; 12 BALD EAGLES, along the Cohansey and Maurice rivers, Bear Swamp, and other sites; 3 LONG-EARED OWLS, 1 SAW-WHET OWL, a number of SAPSUCKERS, a N. ORIOLE near Bridgeton, and a LECONTE'S SPARROW, the first count record, found on the upper Cohansey R. on private property.

Last week's hotline covered the highlights of the Cape May CBC, held Dec. 26. A total of 137 different species were seen, 99 of them south of the canal. CLAPPER RAILS have been quite vocal on still nights in the salt marshes, and VIRGINIA RAIL reports have come in from the State Park nature trails. A SNOW BUNTING was seen at the State Park on Jan. 5. Take note that small game season (rabbits, etc.) is open at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area until Feb. 14; birders should use the Hidden Valley section instead, accessed from the parking lot on New England Rd.

This winter's Bald Eagle Survey will be held this weekend, Jan. 8-9. Please report all Bald Eagle sightings to this office, including details of plumage, location, and time and date seen.

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 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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