You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of
the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory.
Highlights for the week ending Oct. 19, 1995 include
SMITH'S LONGSPUR, SELASPHORUS hummingbirds, FRANKLIN'S
GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, huge passerine flight, other
migration news, etc.
A SMITH'S LONGSPUR was found at Island Beach State Park on
Oct. 18 in the parking lot near the Headquarters building
on Oct. 18; it was seen again today, Oct. 19.
Two HUMMINGBIRDS of the genus SELASPHORUS were seen this
week; one was at a private residence off Shunpike Rd., on
Oct. 14-15; the other spent a minute or so in a garden in
The Villas on Oct. 16. Both were immature males, probably
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS. We have no more recent reports of
A FRANKLIN'S GULL was a fly-by at the Avalon Seawatch on
Oct. 16. And a RED-NECKED GREBE flew by there on Oct. 19.
One of the biggest land-bird flights in the past ten years
occurred this past week, the morning of Oct. 18, when an
estimated 75,000 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS flew past observers
along Sunset Blvd. It was estimated that between 100k and
150k YELLOW-RUMPS settled in to Cape Island, that is the
small area of land south of the Cape May Canal.
Other highlights this week included: WESTERN KINGBIRD at
Higbee Beach on Oct. 13; two flyby LAPLAND LONGSPURS over
the Hawkwatch on Oct. 17; an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at
Higbee Beach on Oct. 19; and a VESPER SPARROW at Hidden
Valley also on Oct. 19.
A sprinkling of other warblers were among the hordes of
Yellow-rumps. PALM WARBLERS have been numerous this week,
and we also saw NASHVILLE WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA,
CAPE MAY WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, BLACKPOLL WARBLER,
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, & BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS,
mainly at Higbee Beach and at Hidden Valley. Good numbers
of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS & SAVANNAH SPARROWS have been
around this week; ten White-crowned and 25 Savannah were at
Hidden Valley on Oct. 19.
The gentle northwest winds the evening of Oct. 16 must have
brought some owls. A SAW-WHET owl was heard in Cape May
Point that night, and a BARN OWL was seen hunting the night
of Oct. 17 over the marshes behind REED'S BEACH.
We are in the second month of the CMBO Hawkwatch, staffed
this year by Andre Robinson; Jerry Ligouri and Paul Koenig
are our education interns. It's been an excellent year for
PEREGRINE FALCONS, with the count approaching 900; 818 was
the previous record set in 1990. PEREGRINES have slowed
down, but a few are still coming through. The season's
first GOLDEN EAGLES came through on Oct. 15-16. Other
highlights of the past week include NORTHERN GOSHAWK Oct.
15; 283 OSPREY, 3 BALD EAGLES, 1000+ AMERICAN KESTREL, 117
MERLINS, & 78 NORTHERN HARRIERS on Oct. 16.
The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon is staffed by
Dave Ward, Clay Sutton, Mike O'Brien, Fred Mears. It began
Sept. 22, and already there is good movement and variety.
The third week of Oct. is peak time for Cormorant and Sea
Ducks. Indeed, many thousands of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS
and SCOTERS are passing the Seawatch. LOONS & GANNETS are
coming by in good numbers too but will peak in November.
Local nature notes follow.
Those thousands of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS we mentioned have
been gorging on Poison Ivy berries and also hawking
insects. The terrific numbers of southern butterflies that
made butterfly watching so much fun at Cape May this fall,
must have occurred here for some reason; that same reason
may have also been responsible for the BLACK WITCH that was
discovered Oct. 11 in a garden in Cape May Point. BLACK
WITCH is a huge, dark, tropical moth from South America,
found with some regularity in Florida and Texas. They are
known to stray north, as indeed this one did. Southern
butterflies such as LONG-TAILED SKIPPER, CLOUDED SKIPPER,
FIERY SKIPPER, OCOLA SKIPPER, SACHEM and CLOUDLESS SULPHUR
are still being seen in gardens in Cape May Point.
Marigold, Zinnias, and a few Butterfly Bush blossoms
remaining, are pulling them in.
One of the MONARCHS tagged by Dick Walton and Louise
Zemaitis at Cape May Point on Sept. 4 was recovered in
Forest Hills, GA on Sept. 28; actually only the wing with
tag was found. The butterfly was probably eaten by a
Preying Mantis and its wings fell to the ground.
[program information deleted--LL]
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 a send a request for
info 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 9-5 every day but Monday.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).] Please report
sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609)
884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.