Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/31/1996
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 31 include WHITE PELICAN, SANDHILL CRANE, SWAINSON'S HAWK, EURASIAN WIGEON, WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and AVOCET from Brig, 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.

Two WHITE PELICANS have taken up residence on the island at the west end of Lily Lake, after arriving on October 26th. In addition, three WHITE PELICANS flew over the hawkwatch and across Delaware Bay on October 29th.

A SANDHILL CRANE was present for most of the week, seen daily from the hawkwatch before departing on October 29th. Two additional SANDHILL CRANES were seen at the Avalon Seawatch on October 26th.

A SWAINSON'S HAWK was seen from the hawkwatch late on October 26th and briefly the following morning before disappearing to the north.

A male EURASIAN WIGEON, present since late August, was seen all week on Lighthouse Pond in the Cape May Point State Park.

On October 30th, Brigantine Wildlife Refuge held a WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, eight AVOCETS, and two HUDSONIAN GODWITS.

Three COMMON EIDERS continue to be seen around the jetties on Cape May Point. They were last reported on the 27th.

The largest flight of CHIPPING SPARROWS ever recorded at Cape May occurred on October 25th. Over a thousand were seen on Cape Island, with around 700 on Cape May Point alone.

DICKCISSELS have been regular this week, with 15 fly-overs at the hawkwatch on October 26th. Also,at the hawkwatch on the 26th were 1400 KILLDEER and 600 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS.

Other passerine highlights this week included ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Higbee Beach on October 25th, EASTERN PEWEE, BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER, and BLUE GROSBEAK at Hidden Valley on the 26th, four VESPER SPARROWS at the Beanery on the 27th, and a MAGNOLIA WARBLER at Higbee on the 29th.

Besides the Swainson's Hawk, CMBO's Cape May Point Hawkwatch had seven GOLDEN EAGLES and six BALD EAGLES on October 29th.

CMBO's Avalon Seawatch at 7th street and the beach is being manned by our Official Seawatcher,Bill Seng, with extra help from Dave Ward, Fred Mears, and our Seawatch Education Intern, Mike Lanzone! Good flights of SCOTERS, LOONS, and GANNETS continue, among many other species.

At dawn on October 29th, 7 large owls (probably Long-eared) were seen from the Hawkwatch Platform as they hunted out over the Meadows in the distance. That evening, between 5:45 and 6p.m. -- just at dusk, 13 large owls (probably Long-eared) were seen as they got up out of the trees and began to migrate. Observers in the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge observed them from the raised platform, while observers at the State Park saw them overhead, out over the Park trails, and circling the lighthouse. One BARN OWL passed over Cape May Point at 6:35 p.m. It was a night of gently north-northwest wind and clear -- perfect for owl migration. Katy Duffy, Director of the Cape May Owl Banding Project, banded 2 SAW-WHETS the night of the 28th and 3 the night of the 29th, but began her month-long stay with ten days of poor migration conditions for owls and no owls until October 24th when the first Saw-whet was caught. 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.

Two half-day Mini Pelagic trips are scheduled out of Cape May aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher on December 8th and December 14th. Trips leave at 8 a.m., cost is $35. Call 1-800-786-5445 for more details and to register.

Local Nature Notes follow: Gayle Steffy, CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project intern, tagged over 5,000 Monarchs at Cape May Point between mid-September and the first few days of November. A few Monarchs are still coming through, but numbers have really dwindled in the last week. Butterfly activity in general has slowed down, but is not over yet. American Snout was still found October 26 in the Villas. In Cape May Point, Variegated Fritillary was seen October 26 and 29, and Pearl Crescent on October 31. The strong winds on October 30th blew away much of our fall color! Great Horned Owls are vocal now at dawn and dusk as they set up their nesting territories. Once the leaves have fallen take the time to search for large stick nests and you may find the nest that they plan to use in January, they being our earliest nesting bird! CMBO's garden is still enjoying the colorful blooms of Pineapple Sage, New England Aster, Pentas, and Montauk Daisies.

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd is "THE BIRD SHOW," a 3-day birding festival here in Cape May! Come on down and enjoy the outings, indoor programs, and huge gathering of vendors displaying at the Cape May Convention Center. 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 weeklong 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 9:30a.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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