Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/14/1993
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 Oct. 14, 1993 include: EURASIAN WIGEON, COMMON EIDER, GOLDEN EAGLE, SANDHILL CRANE, AM. AVOCET, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, MARBLED GODWIT, PURPLE SANDPIPER, PARASITIC JAEGER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, VESPER SPARROW, EVENING GROSBEAK, and hawk watch reports.

Extralimital news: North America's third VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER has been seen in the Toronto, Ontario area since Oct. 8.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON continues on Bunker Pond daily, but is now spending a lot of time on Lighthouse Pond nearby. Look through the large flock of Am. Wigeons at either place. A SANDHILL CRANE put in appearances at the State Park and environs on the afternoon of Oct. 13 and the morning of Oct. 14. The bird was watched disappearing into the distance over Delaware Bay headed south on Oct. 14.

One lucky observer saw a flock of eleven MARBLED GODWITS in the back bay near Avalon on Oct. 10. This is a new county maximum for this species, surpassing the previous record of 5 on Oct. 13 1987. Four MARBLED GODWITS were the best of a good list of 16 shorebird species seen on a boat trip to Champagne Island and the back bay marshes on Oct. 8. Also seen were PIPING PLOVER, 200+ AM. OYSTERCATCHERS, WHIMBREL, and a late WILLET.

Two HUDSONIAN GODWITS flew past the hawk watch at Cape May Point today, Oct. 14. The 2 AM. AVOCETS reported on last week's tape were seen daily Oct. 8-10 along Ocean Ave. at the Coast Guard base. An AM. GOLDEN PLOVER was in the same location on Oct. 10. Another AVOCET and another GOLDEN PLOVER were at Brigantine NWR on Oct. 12. To round out the shorebird news, a PURPLE SANDPIPER was seen flying by the Concrete Ship on the morning of Oct. 12.

This week, the Cape May whale watching boat reported 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS on Oct. 11, and 2 COMMON EIDERS on Oct. 13. Another COM. EIDER, a female, was seen from the South Cape May Meadows beach on Oct. 9. The Avalon seabird count had a good week; over 20,000 Double-crested Cormorants along with 1000+ SCOTERS were counted on Oct. 10. PARASITIC JAEGERS are being seen nearly daily (4 on Oct. 9 the high count), as are BROWN PELICANS. PELICANS are also almost daily off the state park, with 8 there Oct. 14. Great Cormorants and N. Gannets are being seen there in larger but still single-digit numbers. Look for the Cormorants on the jetties, the Bunker, and the Concrete Ship.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS are seen with regularity on the beach at Higbee Beach and with some frequency at the clamshell pile along Ocean Drive. Bonaparte's Gulls are still virtually non-existent; they normally would have arrived by now. One was seen by the counter at Avalon on Oct. 13.

Raptor flights this week were consistently good but not great. Highlights were 5 BLACK VULTURES on Oct. 11; 224 COOPER'S HAWKS Oct. 13; 443 AM. KESTRELS Oct. 10; and 41 PEREGRINES Oct. 13. The season's first GOLDEN EAGLE, a first year bird, was seen Oct. 10; it and four BALD EAGLES flew by the platform within 35 minutes that day.

The flight of Cardueline Finches is gathering momentum. Today Oct. 14, over 100 PINE SISKINS, 150+ PURPLE FINCHES, and at least 6 EVENING GROSBEAKS were seen around West Cape May and Cape May Point. RUSTY BLACKBIRD numbers are increasing, with a flock of 8 being seen at the State Park Oct. 14. A few VESPER SPARROWS were found this week, including one Oct. 10 in a field on the corner of Bayshore and Fourth in West Cape May. WARBLER diversity is still OK, with at least 12 species being seen today at Higbee Beach. Among them were ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

[local nature notes omitted -ll]

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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