Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/21/1999
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 21 include reports of SWAINSONS HAWK, WESTERN KINGBIRD, EURASIAN WIGEON, Collared-dove sp., local nature notes, news of an upcoming pelagic trip, and news of CMBO.

Note: Forsythe NWR (or Brigantine) continues to be closed on Thursdays through October for goose management.

A SWAINSONS HAWK was seen at East Point, Cumberland County on October 15. With ROUGH-LEGGED, BROAD-WINGED, RED-SHOULDERED and RED-TAILED HAWKS also seen at East Point on the 15th, all five regularly occurring buteos were present at one location, an extremely rare event.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was perched on a wire along Rte 626 on October 15.

The EURASIAN WIGEON continues to be seen in Lighthouse Pond at the Cape May Point State Park.

On October 16, a Collared-dove was seen along Sunset Boulevard and again on Cape May Point, but it was never seen well enough to rule out the possibility of an escaped caged bird.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen on several dates at Hidden Valley Ranch last week. Another was at Higbee Beach on the 21st. Hidden Valley Ranch also had a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on October 19 and five VESPER SPARROWS on the 17th. DICKCISSEL was also seen there, on the ground, on the 21st.

Other highlights included: RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Higbee Beach on October 16, LINCOLNS SPARROW at Higbee Beach on the 17th, HOODED WARBLER at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 17th, a ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW and two CLIFF SWALLOWS at the State Park on the 18th, 20+ COMMON TERNS off Cape May on the 18th, and two BLUE GROSBEAKS at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 19th and 21st.

The Cape May Hawk Watch Enjoyed a good day on October 18 with over 2,000 birds, highlighted by four GOLDEN EAGLES, two ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, and over 200 MERLINS. Both light-morph and dark-morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were seen at the watch on October 21.

CMBOs Avalon Seawatch officially began on September 22nd. The Avalon Seawatch is at 7th street and the beach at the north end of Avalon. This years counter is Chris Wood from Lakewood, Colorado. Fred Mears will do the count on Chris days off and on hand during the peak period will be Glen Davis, Jim Armstrong, and Gail Dwyer. The Sea Watch is entering a period of very high activity. Scoter flights will reach maximum levels in the next two weeks, after which the main movements of Northern Gannets and Red-throated Loons will occur. A POMARINE JAEGER was seen at the Sea Watch on October 17.

Local Nature Notes: This seasons monarch flight has been one of, if not the best, ever. Between September 22 and October 20, Chris Wood, the Sea Bird counter, has tallied about 80,000 Monarchs moving south along the coast, and thats just on the barrier island side. About 4,300 Monarchs have been tagged. A recent recovery was of a Monarch tagged in Cape May and recovered the next day at Cape Charles, VA nearly 130 miles south. A rare dragonfly was seen at the South Cape May Meadows on October 16. A Variegated Meadowhawk, a western dragonfly, has been seen in Cape May before, but not in a number of years.

Focus on Nature Tours is organizing a pelagic trip out of Cape May on Sunday November 21 aboard the Morning Star. The trip runs from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $95. For more info call 1-800-362-0869, or email font@focusonnature.com.

On Saturday, October 23 there will be a celebration to recognize the transfer of the former Coast Guard property in Lower Township to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. The site will be known as the "Two Mile Beach Unit". All are welcome. The ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. In addition, the Cape May Bird Observatory will offer 1-hour bird and butterfly walks at the site at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and one following the ceremony at around 11:00 a.m. The site of the celebration and walks is at the south end of Wildwood Crest, with access off Ocean Drive just as you enter Wildwood Crest.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has daily walks, requiring no preregistration, and many special field trips and programs that do. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop our centers, or call 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

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 hotline. For more information call 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. Don't hesitate to visit our two centers of activity. CMBO's Center for Research & Education is located at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen. CMBO's Northwood Center is located at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. Both centers feature gardens, feeding stations, nature & book stores, and birding information. The Center in Goshen also has a wildlife art gallery, featuring artists, photographer, and carvers. Each Center is OPEN DAILY 10-5.

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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