Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/26/1995
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending Oct. 26, 1995 include LONG-TAILED JAEGER, ARCTIC TERN, SEDGE WREN, migration news, announcements and nature notes.

A brief note on the SMITH'S LONGSPUR reported last week: the bird has apparently left the area; it has *NOT* been seen recently.

On Oct. 20, a LONG-TAILED JAEGER was seen flying south by the Seawatch at Avalon. Later on the same day at the watch, an ARCTIC TERN was also seen. More on the Seawatch later.

A SEDGE WREN was at Higbee Beach, in the first field behind the parking lot, on Oct. 22; it has not been reported since.

A major land bird migration swept through the Cape the evening of Oct. 25; by the next morning, thousands of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, SWAMP SPARROWS, hundreds of KINGLETS of both species, HERMIT THRUSHES, BROWN CREEPERS, HOUSE FINCHES, and NUTHATCHES filled the area.

Other highlights this week included a few tardy warblers: BLACKPOLL WARBLER on Oct. 20 at CMBO; NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH & NASHVILLE WARBLER at Higbee Beach on Oct. 22; and BAYBREASTED WARBLER & BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER at Hidden Valley Ranch on Oct. 20.

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Higbee Beach on Oct. 22. A late SCARLET TANAGER was there on Oct. 25, while LINCOLN'S SPARROW was there the same day. PINE SISKINS made an appearance on Oct. 26 over Cape May Point. Thousands of TREE SWALLOWS passed the Hawkwatch Oct. 23, with 2600 counted in one half-hour period.

The night of Oct. 25, the night was clear and the winds were gentle from the Northwest, perfect for Owl migration. Katy Duffy arrived just in the nick of time from Wyoming, and began her banding operation; at dawn on Oct. 26 she had banded 80 SAW-WHET OWLS & one LONG-EARED OWL. The night of Oct. 25 1995 will long be remembered, since in some years 80 owls is a good total for the entire season.

We are in the second month of the CMBO Hawkwatch, staffed this year by Andre Robinson; Jerry Ligouri and Paul Koenig are our education interns. The previous fall record for PEREGRINES was set in 1990, with 818 birds; on Oct. 19 this fall, the PEREGRINE total reached an astounding 1000 birds, with a few still coming through. As of Oct. 25, the PEREGRINE total was 1056.

Hawk flights on Oct. 25-26 were excellent; Oct. 25, 6 imm. BALD EAGLES, 2 GOLDEN EAGLES, almost 1500 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, over 200 COOPER'S HAWKS, over 100 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 75 MERLINS & 6 PEREGRINES were counted. Today, Oct. 26, the flight is also good, with lots of Buteos, and 2 imm. Bald Eagles just during lunch hour. So far, over 44,700 raptors have been counted this fall.

The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon is staffed by Dave Ward, Clay Sutton, Mike O'Brien, Fred Mears. Mind-boggling flights of SCOTER and CORMORANTS passed this week. It all began Oct. 19, when 22,000 SCOTER passed; the biggest flight ever for the Seawatch was on Oct. 20, with 67,000 birds counted; almost 61,000 of those were Scoters, mostly BLACK SCOTER and SURF SCOTER, with only 110 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER.

The following day, Oct. 21, close to 30,000 Scoter were counted, and 12,000 Oct. 22, only 3300 Oct. 23. CORMORANTS totalled 3000 Oct. 21; 12,000 Oct. 22; 17,000 Oct. 23. Other sightings at the watch this week included: CORY'S SHEARWATER Oct. 19; RED-NECKED GREBE Oct. 19 and Oct. 23; 200 to 600 NORTHERN GANNETS daily; max 6 GREAT CORMORANTS daily; PARASITIC JAEGERS daily, including 7 on both Oct. 20 and 21; and a KING EIDER Oct. 20.

Local nature notes follow.

Butterfly numbers are dropping with the temperatures. The last LONG-TAILED SKIPPER and FIERY SKIPPER were reported Oct. 18 in Cape May Point. Butterfiles seen Oct. 23-25 on the Point include OCOLA SKIPPER, CLOUDED SKIPPER, SACHEM, VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, SNOUT, MOURNING CLOAK, AMERICAN LADY, PAINTED LADY & MONARCH. The cold front Oct. 25 triggered a steady flight of MONARCHS.

Porcelain-berry fruits catch the eye; Seaside Goldenrod and asters are in bloom and attracting butterflies; Shrub Groundsel Tree is in full bloom with fluffy white flowers; rose hips (seed pods) are ripe and being eaten by birds; Sumac leaves are bright red and purple.

[program information deleted--LL]

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 a send a request for info 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 9-5 every day but Monday.

The Cape May birding hotline [(609) 884-2626] is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and includes sightings from Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties and adjacent areas. Updates are made on Thursday evening, more often if warranted. [Compiled by CMBO staff; transcribed by L. Larson (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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