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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/24/1996
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 24 include BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, AMERICAN AVOCET, SANDHILL CRANE, SEDGE WREN, WESTERN KINGBIRD, EURASIAN WIGEON, news of CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch and our Avalon Seawatch, local nature notes, an announcement about an upcoming Pelagic Trip, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was found at Higbee Beach on October 20th and was seen again on October 21st. No further reports have been received.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen at Stone Harbor Point in the cove behind the southern most jetty. An AMERICAN AVOCET was also seen at Brig on October 23rd, along with two HUDSONIAN GODWITS.

A SANDHILL CRANE was seen today, October 24th, low over the Beanery and also from the hawkwatch out over the town of Cape May. It could still be in the area.

A SEDGE WREN was in the marsh at the end of Two Mile Landing off Ocean Drive on October 22nd. This area, to the right of the restaurant, also held a dozen each of SALTMARSH and NELSONS SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS.

WESTERN KINGBIRDS were seen in two locations this week. One was along Bayshore Rd. near 4th St, on October 22nd and the other was near the parking lot at Hidden Valley Ranch on October 23rd.

The EURASIAN WIGEON, which has been seen infrequently around Cape May Point the last few weeks, was on Lighthouse Pond on October 23rd.

A good variety of late warbler migrants arrived in the area on October 22nd amid a huge flight of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. About 40,000 YELLOW- RUMPS were estimated flying out at the dike at Higbee Beach on that day, and have been nearly everywhere since. Also seen on the 22nd were TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, CAPE MAY, and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS along with AMERICAN REDSTART and NORTHERN PARULA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACK- THROATED BLUE, and PRAIRIE WARBLERS were in the area that day also. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Higbee Beach on the 20th and at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 21st.

WARBLING VIREOS have been obvious this week, seen at the Beanery on the 20th, at Higbee Beach on the 21st, and at Hidden Valley Ranch and CMBO on the 24th.

Other passerine highlights included BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO on the 20th at Higbee, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER at the South Cape May Meadows on the 21st, VESPER and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS at Hidden Valley on the24th, along with BLUE GROSBEAK.

Jerry Liguori, CMBO's Official Hawkwatcher at the Cape May Point Hawkwatch, has recorded over 45,000 raptors so far this fall. Highlights of the previous week include: a good late flight of 38 PEREGRINE FALCONS on October 20th, 142 COOPER'S HAWKS and 81 RED-TAILED HAWKS on the 21st, over 700 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS on the 23rd, and a GOLDEN EAGLE, today, the 24th. If you visit Cape May, CMBO is pleased to have two terrific Hawkwatch Education Interns with us this fall: Mike Green and Sue Hopkins. I'm sure many of you have already met them and benefited from their presence on our hawkwatch.

CMBO's Avalon Seawatch at 7th street and the beach an excellent week with almost 48,000 birds on the 18th alone. Highlights include: over 32,000 SURF SCOTERS on October 18th, Two RED-NECKED GREBES on the 21st, a POMARINE JAEGER and 11 PARASITIC JAEGERS on the 21st, and a RAZORBILL on the 20th. COMMON LOONS and RED-THROATED LOONS, NORTHERN GANNETS, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, SCOTERS, and a variety of other waterfowl are moving by in excellent numbers. This fall's full-time Official Seawatcher is Bill Seng. Bill is being helped by Dave Ward, Fred Mears, and our Seawatch Education Intern, Mike Lanzone!

The first SHORT-EARED OWL of the fall was seen October 18th hunting the marshes behind Wildwood, by observers aboard THE SKIMMER on a back bay boat tour. Katy Duffy, Director of the Cape May Owl Banding Project, has arrived and is awaiting coldfronts to produce owl flights.

A winter Pelagic Birding Trip out of Brielle, NJ, will be offered Saturday, December 7th, leaving at 5 a.m. and returning that evening at 8 p.m. For more information and to register, call Focus on Nature Tours at 302-529-1876.

Local Nature Notes follow: Gayle Steffy, CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project intern, has tagged over 5,000 Monarchs so far this fall, including 300 October 22nd and 23rd. Already there have been some fascinating returns on Monarchs tagged at Cape May Point. 4 have turned up at Jim Dowdell's garden in the Villas a day or so after they were tagged at Cape May Point. Not a big surprise, since we know that many of the migrant songbirds reach the tip, round it, and go back up the Delaware Bayshore to cross the Bay where it is not so wide. We've also seen Dragonflies taking this route. And now we've documented a fair number of Monarchs following the same pattern. Two long distance returns on Monarchs also came in recently. One originally tagged on September 23 in Cape May Point was found on October 13th in the Florida Panhandle in Pensicola. And another originally tagged September 30th at Cape May Point was found near Augusta, Georgia, on October 9th! WOW! Great job, Gayle! Great Horned Owls are vocal now at dawn and dusk. They are our earliest nesting bird and will be on eggs by January. Males and females are hooting back and forth to declare their territory and send other Great Horneds packing, including their own young from the last nesting season. Dogwood and Winged Sumac leaves have turned a crimson red. Persimmon fruits are obvious now that Persimmon trees have lost their leaves. CMBO's garden is still enjoying the colorful blooms of Pineapple Sage, New England Aster, Pentas, Seaside Goldenrod, a few Butterfly Bush blooms, and Montauk Daisies.

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: October 26-27, Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." November 1-3 is "THE BIRD SHOW," a 3-day birding festival here in Cape May! November 9th, Pat Sutton will lead a "Field Trip to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge's Great Cedar Swamp Division." November 16th Vince Elia will teach a "Gull ID Workshop & Walk." November 23rd Louise Zemaitis will teach a workshop on "Binoculars & Spotting Scopes For Birders." November 30th Pat Sutton will lead a "Waterfowl Cruise" aboard THE SKIMMER, a 37-foot catamaran, where we'll expect to enjoy good looks at mergansers, loons, grebes, scaup, bufflehead, oldsquaw, N. Harrier, great cormorants, shorebirds, Bonaparte's gulls, royal terns, and more! January 6-10th, 1997, Pat and Clay Sutton and Pete Dunne will lead a Weeklong Birding Workshop for Hawks, Owls, and Winter Waterfowl. There's still room; call for the weekong workshop flyer and registration form. Just about every day CMBO offers one or several bird walks that require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Call CMBO (at 609-884-2736) for the Fall Program Schedule, which includes details and information on registration for the special programs and meeting place and times for our daily walks.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday afternoon from 1:30-4:30 p.m. through the end of November and Every Monday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through November 4th. One or both of these trips may run to Champagne Island, a favorite roost site for migrant terns and shorebirds, and an occasional Peregrine or Brown Pelican. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO!

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 office at 609-884-2736 or send a request for information to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open DAILY, 9-5.

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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