Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/30/2003
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 30, 2003. Highlights from the last week include CAVE SWALLOW, LONG-BILLED CURLEW, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, VESPER SPARROW, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, and news of the migration.

A CAVE SWALLOW was seen from the Morning Flight Project Area at the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area ("the dike") on Oct. 29th, and one was seen at the Hawkwatch in Cape May Point on the 29th, where 2 were seen on the 30th.

A LONG-BILLED CURLEW was seen twice this week, Oct. 25th and 26th, feeding on mudflats at low tide from the "toll bridge" at the south end of Nummy Island.

Two BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were seen from the Avalon Seawatch on Oct. 27th, and one was seen here on the 28th. A BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was also found at Stone Harbor Point on the 27th, along with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS. Two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were on the beach at Cape May Point State Park on Oct. 29th. 125 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and 12 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were found at the Brigantine Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 25th.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Higbee on October 28th and the 30th.

It's a great time of year to study sparrows in Cape May. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen from the Hawkwatch on October 28th and 29th, one was at Higbee and one at Hidden Valley on the 28th, one along the active railroad track edges near Cape Island Creek on the 24th, and one in residential areas in West Cape May on the 24th. VESPER SPARROW reports come from Higbee and the railroad tracks on Oct. 30th, Hidden Valley on the 28th, 2 at the Rea Farm on the 26th, and 1 in West Cape May on the 24th. LINCOLN'S SPARROW sightings include 2 at Cape May Point State Park on October 30th, 1 at Hidden Valley on the 28th, and 1 along the railroad tracks on the 24th. A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was found at Higbee on the 28th. Both NELSONS' SHARP-TAILED SPARROW and SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROW were found near Two Mile Landing, just south of Wildwood Crest, on October 26th. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was near the jetty on Two Mile Beach on Oct. 24th.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and PURPLE FINCHES are common around Cape May right now. PINE SISKINS and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES are being regularly reported. We have several reports of SORA and AMERICAN BITTERN from The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge ("The Meadows"), where SHORT-EARED OWLS have been seen several evenings. PARASITIC JAEGERS are being seen many days from the Hawkwatch and from the Avalon Seawatch.

Please note that:the "free bridge" connecting Nummy Island to south Stone Harbor is now closed until further notice at least until spring 2004 for construction. Nummy can still be accessed from North Wildwood Blvd.

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 CMBO's 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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