Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 1/8/1998
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending January 8 include sightings of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT, news of the upcoming Bald Eagle Survey, highlights of the Cumberland CBC, local nature notes, and news of our upcoming programs and field trips.

A note: The drive and walking trails at Forsythe NWR (Brig) will be closed for 5 Thursdays: January 15, 22, 29 and February 5 & 12.

The GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW found on New Year's day at the Cape May National golf course continues to be seen, reported most recently on January 5.

The MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER is still present at the entrance to the Beanery, also most recently reported on the 5th.

A EURASIAN WIGEON is in the Coast Guard ponds along Ocean Drive.

Four MARBLED GODWITS were on a sand bar in Hereford Inlet, east of the free bridge along Ocean Drive. A WILLET and over 300 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS were also there. Over 20 WESTERN SANDPIPERS were seen at Stone Harbor Point.

Other interesting sightings include HOUSE WRENS, one along Bayshore Rd. near the Beanery on the 3rd and one at Hidden Valley Ranch also on the 3rd, a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and up to 3 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS along the Yellow Trail in the State Park, and 2 LITTLE BLUE HERONS at 2 Mile Landing on the 7th.

The Cumberland Christmas Bird Count was held on January 4th and tallied in 124 species so far. Dawn and dusk were windless and perfect for owls. So far over 55 SCREECH, 108 GREAT HORNED, and 3 BARRED OWLS were logged in for the count. Other highlights follow: 10 COMMON REDPOLLS at Tom's Bridge Rd., 4 EVENING GROSBEAKS and 2 PINE WARBLERS at Bevan WMA, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Hansey Creek Rd., and 4 EASTERN PHOEBES (with 2 at Hansey Creek Rd.). Interestingly, no Rough-legged Hawks were recorded.

CMBO's Avalon Seawatch officially ended December 22nd, but Dave Ward continues to monitor movement at 7th Street and the beach in Avalon. Recent highlights include a RED-NECKED GREBE and a late FORSTER'S TERN on January 5, GREAT CORMORANT on January 1, a late JAEGER on December 26, 3 KITTIWAKES and an alcid on December 27.

January 10 & 11 CMBO is coordinating the mid-winter Bald Eagle survey for southern N. J. from Trenton south. Over 70 volunteer observers will participate, but if you should see any Bald Eagles on either day, the 10th or 11th, please note the date, time, location including immediate area, nearest road, nearest town, county, and what the bird or birds were doing. Then either call Vince Elia at CMBO at 609-861-0700, x-15, or mail in this information as soon as possible. Include your name and telephone number.

Local Nature Notes follow: Consecutive days of mild temperatures in January are rare, and it has triggered some butterflies to come out of their dormant state. Red Admirals, Question Marks, Mourning Cloaks, Orange Sulphurs, and a Painted Lady were all seen this week at places like the State Park trails, Higbee Beach, Old Robbins Trail off Jakes Landing Road, and Bevan WMA in Cumberland County. Painted Lady and Red Admiral are not thought to winter over here, but it may be that a few individuals try each year. Warm weather on January 4th also produced blooming dandelions, hunting bats, nectaring honeybees, and a sunning turtle. On January 5th 6 Garter Snakes and 4 Ribbon Snakes were discovered along the trails at the State Park. On the bird front it's time to search for nesting Great Horned Owls. A pair were seen copulating at dusk on December 28th at Jakes Landiing Road. Search the woods for large stick nests built this past spring by Red-tails since these nests will be taken over by nesting Great Horned Owls. It's an especially good winter already for northern finches. Keep an eye out if you have pine trees for crossbills, they'll quietly collect in your pines and feed on the cones with their specially adapted crossed bills. Watch your feeders for Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, Redpolls and Pine Siskins. We'd love to hear of your sightings. Be sure to call them in to CMBO.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's winter program schedule should have reached members by now; interested nonmembers should stop by or call for a copy. Some of our special preregistration Winter programs follow. 5 more one-day courses, titled "All About Owls: Workshop & Field Trip" are scheduled for the following dates: Friday, January 16; Saturday, January 17; Friday, January 30; Saturday, January 31; and Wednesday, February 4. A Family Program on Owls, originally scheduled for January 17th, has been rescheduled for January 31. Our Member's Night on January 21st will feature a program on "Monarchs in Winter, a slide program visit to Mexico" with Pat Sutton. The next Bird Watching for Beginners Course is scheduled for January 24 & 25. Two "Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore" field trips will be offered: February 6 & 7. A program on "Backyard Terrorists at the Feeder" and how to cope with them will be offered by Chris Baker on February 7. And an "Ornithology 101" Course will begin March 3rd, every Tuesday evening for 6 weeks. Two different Sunday morning bird walks begin in January, one at Cape May Point from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and one at CMBO's new Center in Goshen from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. If you are not a member and would like a copy of the Winter Program Schedule with all the details, stop by either center or call us at 609-861-0700.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North. The center features gardens and a meadow for wildlife, feeding stations, nature store, and a wildlife art gallery in "The Loft" on our second floor, featuring the work of some of the Bayshore's finest artists, photographer, and carvers. CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding book store and birding information. The CMBO Center in Goshen is open DAILY 10-5. The CMBO Northwood Center in Cape May Point is open 10-5 every day except Tuesday & Wednesday.

The 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, and the Observatory, call 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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