Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/20/1994
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. 20, 1994 include sightings of: RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD, COMMON RAVEN, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, COMMON EIDER, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT, migration news, local nature notes and announcements.

An immature male hummingbird, identified as either RUFOUS or ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD, was at a feeder in Woodbine from mid-afternoon on Oct. 14 to mid-morning on Oct. 15. Separation of this plumage in the field is nearly impossible, although probability would point to RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD.

A COMMON RAVEN was seen briefly on a telephone pole along Sunset Blvd. near the South Cape May Meadows on Oct. 19. The bird flew east towards Cape May; it was not seen again. An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN circled the Cape May Point State Park for about 30 minutes on Oct. 14. It landed briefly in Bunker Pond and in Lily Lake. It could not be relocated after it left Lily Lake.

Two COMMON EIDER, one adult and one immature male, were present off Cape May Point on Oct. 17 - 18. After disappearing for two days they reappeared on Oct. 20 off Cape May Point State Park. The EURASIAN WIGEON can still be seen most days in Bunker Pond. Up to four MARBLED GODWITS continute to be seen in the back bays near Wildwood.

Warbler diversity is on the wane but a few hardy species are still found among the hordes of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. Both CONNECTICUT WARBLER and NASHVILLE WARBLER were present at Higbee Beach Oct. 16, along with YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. On Oct. 17, AMERICAN REDSTART was there, and Oct. 18 CAPE MAY WARBLER was at the State Park. A CHAT was also seen Oct. 20 at Higbee, as well as a BLACKPOLL WARBLER. Other passerine highlights this week include, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and BLUE GROSBEAK at Higbee Oct. 16. The same day, a LAPLAND LONGSPUR flew over the Cape May Meadows.

Sparrow diversity is up; besides the Grasshopper Sparrow, LINCOLN'S, VESPER, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were present at Higbee this past week.

The season's first PURPLE SANDPIPER was seen Oct. 18 at the jetty on Stites Ave. on Cape May Point. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Higbee Oct. 19.

Owls are migrating through on cold, still nights on north or northwest winds. The evening of Oct 17, two owls, probably BARN OWLS, were seen from the Cape May Meadows as they got up out of the State Park woods.

CMBO's full time sea watch is being conducted from Seventh Ave. at the north end of Avalon. PARASITIC JAEGERS have been putting on a show there, chasing terns and stealing fish from them. Oct. 16 was the first 100-plus NORTHERN GANNET flight, and GANNET numbers have been good since. Oct. 14 was a major push of SCOTERS, with over 17,000 counted that day. Cormorants and Loons are also coming through in good numbers.

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: YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS are everywhere. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS are back and some are singing. Brigantine NWR is hosting thousands of SNOW GEESE and other waterfowl. Hundreds of Monarch butterflies lingered this week in protected areas out of the wind; the Seaside Goldenrod behind the dunes in the State Park was full of them. A LONG-TAILED SKIPPER was in a garden in Goshen Oct. 20. Hundreds of GREEN DARNER dragonflies are still being seen as they migrate through. Spring Peepers can be heard, and Persimmons are ripe.

[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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