Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/23/1997
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 23 include sightings of SANDHILL CRANE, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, SEDGE WREN, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, local nature notes, an update on the horseshoe crabs issue, an invitation to join us for The Bird Show, and news of our upcoming programs and field trips.

On Friday, October 31 and Saturday, Sunday, November 1 and 2, CMBO will be hosting THE BIRD SHOW in Cape May. This 3-day Festival features speakers like Kenn Kaufman, Paul Lehman, Clay Sutton, and John Kricher; a convention center filled with booths manned by companies like Swarovski, Leica, Nikon, Wings, and Field Guides; banding demos, indoor workshops and programs, field trips, and of course BIRDS at what many of us who live here consider to be the most exciting time to bird Cape May. The cost is cheap -- $55/person for all three days; or $20 per person per day. Non-members add $5 to these rates. To register, call CMBO and ask for a registration form or register over the phone. The number is 609-861-0700.

Two SANDHILL CRANES flew over the Hawkwatch on October 22, and out over the bay to Delaware.

A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was a fly-by along Sunset Boulevard on October 20.

A SEDGE WREN was at Higbee Beach in the pond field on October 20.

GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS were seen in three locations this week. One was at Hidden Valley Ranch on October 17, one was in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on the 19th, while another was near the old magnesite plant along Sunset Boulevard on the 22nd.

The VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW was last reported over SCMM on October 19th.

A HUDSONIAN GODWIT was a fly-by at the Hawkwatch on October 22.

Other highlights this week included a night count of 23 AMERICAN BITTERNS on October 17, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Cape May Point on the 18th, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at SCMM on the 19th, VESPER SPARROW at SCMM on the 22, another at Hidden Valley on the 23rd, and two late BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS in West Cape May on the 23rd.

The Hawkwatch to date has tallied over 60,000 raptors. Over 7,000 raptors, including close to 6,000 SHARP-SHINS were counted on October 20. On the 21st there were 10 BALD EAGLES and a GOLDEN EAGLE, and on the 22nd four GOSHAWKS. This year's hawkwatch team is Jerry Liguori, Pete Dunne on Tuesdays, Vince Elia on Wednesdays, and our Education Interns, Peter Gustas and James Paolino.

CMBO's fulltime Seawatch at the north end of Avalon, 7th Street and the beach, is manned this season by Bill Seng, Fred Mears, and Dave Ward, along with our Education Intern, James Paolino, and Gail Dwyer on weekends. October 17th was a 21,000+ CORMORANT day and the 18th over 23,000 scoters (mostly BLACK SCOTERS) were seen. Hundreds of GANNETS are daily. Other highlights include: 1-2 GREAT CORMORANTS daily, the first BUFFLEHEAD and HOODED MERGANSERS on the 23, and 20 PARASITIC JAEGERS for the week.

CMBO's October 18th Champagne Island Cruise had good looks at 4 MARBLED GODWITS, numbers of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS & BLACK SKIMMERS, A BROWN PELICAN, and CASPIAN and ROYAL TERNS. The next trip is scheduled for Saturday, November 15th, from 1:30-5:00 p.m. Stop by either CMBO center to register or call 609-861-0700.

CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project has tagged close to 4,000 monarchs so far this fall. The last big push was October 20th when Elizabeth Hunter, our Monarch Monitoring Project Research Intern, tagged 140 Monarchs. Cold fronts could still bring a few more waves of monarchs.

At last, the offshore trawl of Horseshoe Crabs has been made illegal -- it was responsible for boatloads of crabs coming into New Jersey daily this month. And it looks as if the recommended regulations that New Jersey Audubon worked so hard on over the last year will be instituted. We thank all of you for your support of the Horseshoe Crab issue -- your letters and phone calls were crucial to a long-term solution!

Local Nature Notes follow: A frost the night of October 22nd did in many of the flowers that were still in bloom in Goshen. At Cape May Point, 17 miles south buffered by the ocean and bay still has some flowers blooming. CMBO's butterfly walk at Pavilion Circle Gardens on October 22 had a Comma, Sachems, Common Buckeyes, Clouded & Orange Sulphurs, American Lady, 2 Painted Ladies, and a handful of Monarchs. Red Admirals and a Variegated Fritillary were seen in Goshen on the 20. The Painted Lady sightings were due to a local school releasing them on the 20th. Leaves are turning colors. Persimmons are ripening and falling to the ground and in fact the Comma on October 22 was feeding on one.

On the butterfly front, it is a great fall for southern butterflies. Ocola Skippers are being seen daily all over the Peninsula. A garden in the Villas, 7 miles north of Cape May Point, attracts 2-5 Ocola Skippers daily that are "on the move". Long-tailed Skippers too are being seen in gardens around the Peninsula. Fiery Skippers are numerous in all the gardens around Cape May and Cape May Point and as far north as the Villas. This week saw an influx of Red Admirals and an emergence of Question Marks and Commas.

Conservation News Flash -- At the end of September the marine fisheries council vetoed the Governor's Moratorium on horseshoe crab harvest, much to our dismay and following a lot of hard work. On October 8th the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a "STAY" on the Marine Fisheries veto and harvesting has been stopped until October 15th. One small battle won. We'll keep you posted.

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North, either 1 mile south of the traffic light at Rt. 657 or 1.7 miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, brand new sign, large parking lot, and big new building beyond. This center features gardens and a meadow for wildlife, feeding stations, nature store, and an wildlife art gallery in "The Loft"on our second floor, featuring the work of some of the Bayshore's finest artists, photographer, and carvers. The Center is open daily 10-5, and "The Loft" art gallery is open weekends (Fri, Sat, and Sun). CMBO's Northwood Center now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding bookstore and birding information. It is also open daily, 10-5.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's Program Schedule offers daily bird, butterfly, or wildflower walks, hawk & seabird id mini-workshops. Also offered weekly, but requiring preregistration, are Birding By Boat trips each Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Stop by either center to pick up the fall issue of the Kestrel Express, to learn of all our programs or call us at 609-861-0700.

Special upcoming preregistration programs include; "a Bird Watching For Beginners 2-Day Course" October 25-26; "THE BIRD SHOW" October 31 through November 2, and MUCH MORE!

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 new Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores. The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point and the Center for Research & Education in Goshen, both 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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