Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/23/2003
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, October 23, 2003. Highlights from the last week include LONG-BILLED CURLEW, MARBLED GODWIT, SANDHILL CRANE, SWAINSONS HAWK, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, KING RAIL, AMERICAN AVOCET, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, COMMON EIDER, PURPLE FINCH, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, LINCOLNS SPARROW, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, news of the migration, and several announcements regarding access to birding locations.

A LONG-BILLED CURLEW was seen twice this week, on the 18th near the toll bridge at the south end of Nummy Island, and on a sandbar just west of Stone Harbor Point, viewed from near the (closed) free bridge on Nummy Island on Oct. 20th. MARBLED GODWITS are also being seen in this area, with reports of at least 5 on the 18th and again on the 20th.

A SANDHILL CRANE was seen flying over Cape May Point and West Cape May on Oct. 20th.

A SWAINSONS HAWK and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK were seen at several locations around Cape May, including Higbee and the Hawkwatch, on Oct. 20th. One of each species was also seen on Oct. 22nd.

A KING RAIL was seen at the willow-lined pond on the Rea Farm on Oct. 20th. An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen again at the Brigantine Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 19th. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was found at Wildwood Crest on Oct. 22nd. A COMMON EIDER was seen off Cape May Point on Oct. 17th and 18th.

It was a good week for the Morning Flight Project, based at the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area. On Oct. 19th, one ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and 69,639 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were among over 77,000 warblers counted. On Oct. 20th, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, SHORT-EARED OWL, 4 PINE SISKINS, and 112 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were seen. On Oct. 23rd, 28, 408 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 5870 AMERICAN ROBINS, and 116 PURPLE FINCHES were tallied. 125 PURPLE FINCHES were seen over West Cape May on the 23rd. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen adjacent to the parking area at Hidden Valley on Oct. 22nd, one at Higbee on the 17th and 19th, and one along the railroad tracks in West Cape May on the 18th. A LINCOLNS SPARROW was at Higbee on the 17th, 19th, and 22nd, one was along the tracks on the 20th and 3 along the tracks on the 18th. Its an invasion year for WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, with many reports of multiple birds from all Cape May birding locations. One of the biggest counts was 15 from the third field at Hidden Valley on Oct. 21st, where a VESPER SPARROW and a NASHVILLE WARBLER were found on Oct. 22nd. Two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were found at Higbee on Oct. 19th.

It was also a very productive week at the Avalon Seawatch, with 22,191 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS and 20,089 SCOTERS counted on Oct. 20th, 24 GREAT CORMORANTS on the 18th, 87 NORTHERN GANNETS on the 19th, and 4 COMMON EIDERS on the 20th.

Please note that: the free bridge connecting Nummy Island to south Stone Harbor is now closed until further notice for construction. Nummy can still be accessed from North Wildwood Blvd. the Brigantine Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is closed on Thursdays for the month of October.

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 CMBOs Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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