Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/10/1996
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 October 10 includes sightings of NORTHERN WHEATEAR, WHITE IBIS, WHITE PELICAN, COMMON EIDER, EURASIAN WIGEON, news of CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch and our Avalon Seawatch, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A NORTHERN WHEATEAR spent the afternoon of October 5th in the dunes of Cape May Point State Park. At one point over 200 birders crammed the dune crossing south of the Hawkwatch to get a glimpse.

An adult WHITE IBIS was a fly over at the Hawkwatch on October 4th. It is assumed that this was the same bird reported from Brig last week.

A WHITE PELICAN was a fly-by at the Avalon Seawatch on October 5th.

Two COMMON EIDERS have been frequenting the jetties around Cape May Point. They were last reported from the jetty at St. Mary's convent on October 9th.

The male EURASIAN WIGEON that has been around since late August has been seen irregularly over the last two weeks. It was reported from Lighthouse Pond in the State Park on October 5th, the only report this week.

Other interesting sightings this week included a LAPLAND LONGSPUR from Avalon on October 5th, CLAY COLORED, LINCOLN'S, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS from Higbee Beach on the 6th, 11 BROWN PELICANS off Cape May Point on the 9th, and Great Cormorant and Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Concrete Ship on October 9th.

Jerry Liguori, CMBO's Official Hawkwatcher at the Cape May Point Hawkwatch, had 11 BALD EAGLES on October 9th, bringing the season total up to an astounding 175! The same day 80 PEREGRINE FALCONS, 60 MERLIN,and 174 AMERICAN KESTRELS migrated by Cape May. If you visit Cape May, CMBO is pleased to have two terrific Hawkwatch Education Interns with us this fall: Mike Green and Sue Hopkins. I'm sure many of you have already met them and benefited from their presence on our hawkwatch.

CMBO's Avalon Seawatch had some astounding flights between October 3rd and 6th. Over 11,000 seabirds were counted on the 3rd, another 11,000 on the 4th, 19,697 on the 5th (including close to17,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS), and 8,000 on the 6th. Each day Cormorants and scoters make up the bulk of the flight. Single GREAT CORMORANTS were seen on October 3rd and 7th. Fair numbers of COMMON LOONS and N. GANNETS are daily now. SNOW GEESE began moving on October 4th and have been daily since. 9 PARASITIC JAEGERS have been seen from the Seawatch so far in October with a high count of 3 on October 7th. This fall's full-time Official Seawatcher is Bill Seng. Bill is being helped by Dave Ward, Fred Mears, and our Seawatch Education Intern, Mike Lanzone!

The first migrant BARN OWLS were seen the night of October 4th, a night of gentle north or northwest winds. Katy Duffy is due in town this week an will begin the Cape May Owl Banding Project.

Local Nature Notes follow: GREAT HORNED OWLS are vocal now at dawn and dusk. They are our earliest nesting bird and will be on eggs by January. Males and females are hooting back and forth to declare their territory and send other Great Horneds packing, including their own young from the last nesting season. Sour Gum or Black Tupelo and Dogweed tree leaves are turning lovely shades of purple and orange now. Yes, Monarchs are still migrating. The heavy rains that fell October 8th as a result of Tropical Storm Josephine did not seem to affect the Monarchs -- there were 100's around on the 9th, thankfully! CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project intern, Gayle Steffy, has tagged over 3,000 Monarchs so far this fall and will continue tagging through October. A cold front on October 3rd triggered a noticeable movement of Mourning Cloaks, Red Admirals, and one Variegated Fritillary was seen. On October 9th a Cloudless Sulphur was seen at Higbee Beach and a Long-tailed Skipper came to flowers in CMBO's butterfly gardens at 707 E. Lake Drive. A Black Swallowtail caterpillar could still be found on October 9th on Bronze Fennel at the State Park garden, but most Black Swallowtails are in their winter life stage as a chrysalis now! Several local pear trees have dropped lots of fruit that is rotting now and drawing in feeding Question Marks, Commas, and Red Admirals. Be alert!

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: Pat and Clay Sutton will lead a "Weeklong Workshop for Raptors" October 14-18 and there is still room in this workshop. October 12th, Dr. George Uetz, an authority on spiders will share an indoor program and then take us on a spider outing to see and learn more about the spiders around us. Our next MEMBERS NIGHT is Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m., with Pat Sutton's slide program on owls and owl listen! October 19-20 Dave Ward will teach a 2-day Seabird ID Workshop, to include one morning in the field and one afternoon indoors. October 26-27, Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." And November 1-3 is THE BIRD SHOW, a 3-day birding festival here in Cape May! Every day CMBO offers one or several bird, butterfly, or botany walks that require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Call CMBO (at 609-884-2736) for the Fall Program Schedule, which includes details and information on registration for the special programs and meeting place and times for our daily walks.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. One or both of these trips may run to Champagne Island, a favorite roost site for migrant terns and shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate, Sandwich, Black, and Gull-billed Terns occur here! To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO!

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 our office at 609-884-2736 or send a request for information to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open DAILY, 9-5.

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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