Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/13/1994
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Oct. 13, 1994 include sightings of: WESTERN KINGBIRD, SWAINSON'S HAWK, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, seabird migration news, local nature notes, news and announcements.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen off New England Road just short of Higbee Beach on Oct. 9; no repeat sightings were received. A dark-morph SWAINSON'S HAWK was seen briefly late in the afternoon of Oct. 11. This is the third SWAINSON'S HAWK of the season at the hawkwatch.

An immature YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen at Cape May Point on Oct. 12 in with a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds; an exact location was not given. Early in the week one or two DICKCISSELS could be seen in the flock of House Sparrows near the picnic pavilion in the Cape May Point State Park. No reports have come in since Oct. 9. The adult male EURASIAN WIGEON at Bunker Pond continues.

A cold front Oct. 11 brought thousands of YELLOW-RUMPED [MYRTLE] WARBLERS to Higbee Beach, along with a fair assortment of other warblers, including NASHVILLE WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, PARULA WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER. A late MOURNING WARBLER was seen at Higbee Beach on Oct. 10, and a very late GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was reported from Higbee on Oct. 7.

VESPER SPARROWS were seen Oct. 9 at Higbee, and Oct. 11 at Hidden Valley Ranch. Jaegers are being seen with some frequency off the State Park; most are PARASITIC JAEGERS but at least 2 POMARINE JAEGERS have been seen. PARASITIC JAEGERS have also been seen from the Cape May - Lewes ferry.

CMBO's full-time sea watch is being conducted from the north end of Avalon, where Seventh Street meets the beach. This watch logged over one-half million birds last fall. Oct. 12 over 20 thousand birds were counted, including a major push of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and several PARASITIC JAEGERS.

The full-time hawk watch is enjoying one of the best flights in years. The total of over 40,000 is 10,000 more than last year, and it's only mid-October. This week, the Bald Eagle total for a season was broken (86 birds in 1992); as of Oct. 9, 92 have been seen. Other highlights this week were 1418 AMERICAN KESTRELS; and 94 MERLIN, with an incredible late-afternoon flight Oct. 10. Two adult BALD EAGLES grappling and tumbling high overhead on Oct. 12; 114 COOPER'S HAWKS Oct. 11; several RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS each day and a handful of PEREGRINES daily.

Owls are migrating now on cold still nights wtih north or northwest winds. The evening of Oct. 11 had perfect conditions; in the South Cape May Meadows, at least 5 were heard.

Announcements: A "mini-pelagic" trip has been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 AM to Noon. The Cape May Whale Watcher boat in Cape May will be used; cost is $25. The boat will explore nearshore waters including Five-fathom Bank, MacRae's Shoal, and the mouth of the Delaware Bay. For more info or reservations, call Jersey Cape Nature Excursions, (609) 898 9631.

Local nature notes: Dragonflies have been numerous this fall; another big flight this week occurred on Oct 7 and 11 when they were reportedly making it difficult to pick out migrating hawks in binoculars. On Oct. 8, Jim Dowdell tallied 18 species of butterflies around Cape May Point, including 2 LONG-TAILED SKIPPERS, 1 OCOLA SKIPPER, 31 FIERY SKIPPERS, 4 GIANT CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, AMERICAN SNOUT, VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, EASTERN COMMA,7 QUESTION MARKS, and 18 SACHEMS. A VARIEGATED FRITILLARY and18 QUESTION MARKS flew by the Avalon Sea Watch Oct. 10-11. CMBO's final butterfly walk on Oct. 11 found another VARIEGATED FRITILLARY at Higbee Beach. MONARCH numbers have lessened but a few still are passing. An exciting natural history sighting this week was of a HOGNOSE SNAKE on the trails at Cape May Point State Park on Oct. 7; this species has not been seen south of the Cape May Canal in about 30 years.

[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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