Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/21/2004
This is the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, October 21st. Highlights from the last week include CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD, FRANKLIN'S GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, GOLDEN-PLOVER sp., PARASITIC JAEGER, SWAINSON'S HAWK, SNOW BUNTING, LARK SPARROW, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, and news of the migration.

A CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD was seen on private property at a house in Villas from Oct. 18 to 20. Access to this site is restricted; check with the Bird Observatory to see if the bird is still present and if new "visiting hours" are established.

An immature FRANKLIN'S GULL was seen from Cape May Point on Oct. 20th and at the Second Ave. jetty later the same day, where three LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were also present. Three LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were also at Stone Harbor Pt. Oct. 18 to 20.

A puzzling GOLDEN-PLOVER has been frequenting the beach at Cape May Point, most recently seen on Oct. 21st. This well-studied juvenile bird shows characteristics of both American Golden-Plover and Pacific Golden-Plover. PARASITIC JAEGERS continue to be seen daily offshore from Cape May Point, and a BROWN PELICAN was seen here on Oct. 20th. As many as 5 GREAT CORMORANTS continue to frequent the Concrete Ship at Sunset Beach.

An immature, light-morph SWAINSON'S HAWK winged over the Hawk Watch on Oct. 18th.

A SNOW BUNTING was seen on the beach near the Second Ave. jetty on Oct. 21st, and one flew over the Hawk Watch, Cape May Point State Park, on the 18th. There have been multiple reports this week of BLUE-HEADED VIREO, HERMIT THRUSH, PURPLE FINCH, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, CLIFF SWALLOW, PINE SISKIN, and AMERICAN PIPIT. Multiple NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS and SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS continue to be seen in the marshes at Two Mile Landing, along Ocean Drive just south of Wildwood Crest. A LARK SPARROW flew over the Higbee Dike on Oct. 18th. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Hidden Valley on the 15th, and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at Stone Harbor Pt. the same day.

The chilly, drizzly night of Oct. 20/21 brought astounding migratory flights through Cape May, resulting in many birds all over Cape May on the 21st. GREAT BLUE HERONS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were extremely abundant throughout the night, over 14,000 YELLOW-RUMPED WARLBERS were counted in the first two hours of the 21st from the Higbee Dike, and other late season songbirds were also here in abundance. At least four flyover DICKCISSELS were recorded on the 21st, and another was present adjacent to the Hawk Watch platform at Cape May Point State Park Oct. 18 through 21. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS are here in great abundance, including at least one "GAMBEL'S" race bird that is lingering (with at least six other White-crowns) around the Hawk Watch. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Higbee on the 21st. Two LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were at Higbee on the 21st, and two were at Hidden Valley on the 19th. There are other reports of most of these species from earlier in the week as well.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING

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