Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/17/1996
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 17 includes sightings of SWAINSON'S HAWK, WESTERN KINGBIRD, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, VESPER SPARROW, 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 SWAINSON'S HAWK was at the Hawkwatch in the Cape May Point State Park on October 15th. The bird was present for over half an hour.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen at Higbee Beach on October 12th.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen in West Cape May on October 13th.

A VESPER SPARROW was at Hidden Valley ranch, today October 17th.

Other interesting sightings this week included a LAPLAND LONGSPUR on Champagne Island in Hereford Inlet on October 11th, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Hidden Valley ranch on October 13th, LINCOLN'S SPARROWS in several locations this week including Higbee Beach and the Beanery.

Late warbler migrants this week included Cape May Warbler on the Point on the 12th, two PRAIRIE WARBLERS at Higbee on the 13th, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER and NORTHERN PARULA at Higbee on the 14th, three NASHVILLE WARBLERS at Higbee on the 15th and MAGNOLIA WARBLER at CMBO on the 15th. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were reported from Higbee Beach, Cape May Point, and West Cape May. More seasonal was a PINE WARBLER at Higbee Beach on the 12th.

Up to 12 DICKCISSELS were reported from around Cape Island on October 12th, with four in the shrubbery at the Hawkwatch on October 17th.

A flock of 360 BLACK SKIMMERS has been frequenting the Cape May beaches over the last couple of weeks just south of Congress Hall.

Brigantine NWR had three HUDSONIAN GODWITS and an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on October 16th.

Besides the aforementioned Swainson's Hawk, Jerry Liguori, CMBO's Official Hawkwatcher at the Cape May Point Hawkwatch, had 21 BALD EAGLES in two days on the 11th and 12th, 1375 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS on the 11th, and seven NORTHERN GOSHAWKS on the 15th. 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 is bracing for some of the biggest flights of the fall. In the next two weeks or so 10's of thousands of Scoters will pass the Seawatch, among many other species. On peak days strings of Scoter will pass at an astonishing rate. In November, 1,000s of Red- throated Loons and Northern Gannets will pass. 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!

Local Nature Notes follow: Monarchs are still migrating. 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 Monarch tagged by Gail in Cape May on September 23rd was seen alive in Pensicola on the Florida panhandle. The warm weather this week also produced excellent flights of both Red Admirals, Question Marks, and American Ladies. On CMBOs Butterfly Walk on October 16th the group enjoyed good numbers of all three of those species and also saw Fiery Skipper, Swarthy Skipper, Painted Lady, Gray Hairstreak, and several other species. 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: 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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