Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/3/1996
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 3 include sightings of BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, RED PHALAROPE, WHITE IBIS (at Brig), MARBLED GODWIT, COMMON EIDER, record PEREGRINE FALCON counts at the Hawkwatch on consecutive days, other news of CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch and our Avalon Seawatch, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

On October 1st, a BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK flew past the Hawkwatch and perched for five minutes on the distant tree line before disappearing. It was not relocated.

A RED PHALAROPE was seen on the Mini-pelagic trip on NJ Audubon's Autumn Weekend on September 27th. The bird was at Five Fathom Bank, about 8 to 10 miles offshore.

An adult WHITE IBIS was at Brigantine [division of Forsyth National Wildlife Refuge] on September 27th and 28th, but has not been reported since.

Two MARBLED GODWITS were seen near the toll bridge to Nummy Island along Ocean Drive on September 27th.

Two COMMON EIDERS were fly-bys at the Seawatch on October 2nd.

The old one day Hawkwatch record of 157 PEREGRINE FALCONS was broken on September 30th with a total of 176 birds. That record lasted exactly one day as an amazing 206 migrated by on October 1st. That day included a one hour total of 96 birds between 3 an 4 pm.

Other interesting sighting this week included nine AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS over the Hawkwatch on September 30th and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the beach at Higbee's Beach on October 3rd.

A good passerine flight on September 30th included TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, BLACKBURNIAN, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS along with good numbers of SCARLET TANAGERS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS.

Jerry Liguori, CMBO's Official Hawkwatcher at the Cape May Hawkwatch, reports several fantastic flights this week, including one today, October 3rd, triggered by a nice cold front. 24,000+ hawks were counted at the Cape May Hawkwatch in September, including 5,500+ OSPREY, 153 BALD EAGLES, 7,800+ SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 944 COOPER'S HAWKS, 2 N. GOSHAWKS, 2,300+ BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, 4,600 AMERICAN KESTREL, 1,000+ MERLIN, and 558 PEREGRINE FALCONS. A GOLDEN EAGLE was seen on October 1st and one on the 3rd too. Please also welcome CMBO's two terrific Hawkwatch Education Interns, 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 began full time in mid-September with the terrific efforts of Bill Seng, Dave Ward, Fred Mears, and our Seawatch Education Intern, Mike Lanzone! The first RED-THROATED LOON passed on September 26th along with 3,700 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, and on October 2nd they had the previously mentioned COMMON EIDERS and 2 BROWN PELICANS.

Local Nature Notes follow: The overcast, rainy cold front that came through on September 29thproduced terrific Monarch numbers the following day. 1,000's were covering the bushes at natural coastal areas like Stone Harbor Point at dawn on the 30th. CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project intern, Gayle Steffy, tagged over 500 Monarchs on the 30th. As of October 2nd we're still finding sizable Monarch caterpillars on swamp and scarlet milkweed in gardens in Cape May Point. A blustery cold front October 3rd is triggering the next major wave of Monarchs and southern vagrants.A Variegated Fritillary was seen from the Hawkwatch on the 3rd, along with several migrating Mourning Cloaks. On October 1st a garden in the Villas just north of Cape May had Fiery Skipper, White-M Hairstreak, 2 fresh Painted Ladies, and a Clouded Sulphur. A Cloudless Sulphur was seen September 30th at Cape May Point. A butterfly round up held October 2nd tallied 19 species, where most years 25-30 are possible. Sachems were higher than previous October tallies. Sachems and Monarchs are the two commonest butterflies this fall! Thousands of TREE SWALLOWS are coming through now and swirling masses are a sight to behold! Groundsel-tree, the bush covered with white fluffy flowers, is in bloom now and some days attracting numbers of butterflies. Seaside Goldenrod is in full bloom and attracting hungry Monarchs and Common Buckeyes!

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: Pat and Clay Sutton will lead a "Week long Workshop for Raptors" October 14-18 and there is still room in this workshop. On Saturday, October 5th Pat Sutton will teach a "Backyard Habitat for Wildlife Workshop," to be followed by a plant sale. October 12th, Dr. George Uetz, an authority on spiders will share an indoor program and then take us on a spider outing to see and learn more about the spiders around us. Our next MEMBERS NIGHT is Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m., with Pat Sutton's slide program on owls and owl listen! October 19-20 Dave Ward will teach a 2-day Seabird ID Workshop, to include one morning in the field and one afternoon indoors. October 26-27, Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." And November 1-3 is THE BIRD SHOW, a 3-day birding festival here in Cape May! Every day CMBO offers one or several bird, butterfly, or botany 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 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. One or both of these trips may run to Champagne Island, a favorite roost site for migrant terns and shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate, Sandwich, Black, and Gull-billed Terns occur here! 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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