Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/6/1994
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Sept. 29, 1994 include sightings of: LARK BUNTING, WESTERN KINGBIRD, SWAINSON'S HAWK, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, EURASIAN WIGEON, COMMON EIDER, local nature notes, nature notes and announcements.

A winter plumage male LARK BUNTING was reported from Higbee Beach, at the tower field, on Oct. 2. The bird was described as still having some black remaining on the back and wings. No repeat sightings have been received.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen near the impoundments east of the Seashore Road bridge over the canal, on Oct. 5. The bird was in the vicinity of the radio tower. Another WESTERN KINGBIRD was reported from the Hawkwatch the same day although some observers were not convinced it was that species.

An immature, light morph SWAINSON'S HAWK was seen over Higbee Beach on Oct. 3. What was likely the same bird was captured Oct. 5 at the Hidden Valley banding station.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW has been seen for almost 3 weeks at Hidden Valley Ranch, at the second field west of the clamshell parking lot. A EURASIAN WIGEON continues to be seen at Bunker Pond, in front of the Hawkwatch, at Cape May Point state park. The bird is also occasionally seen at the South Cape May Meadows. Three COMMON EIDER were present at Stone Harbor Point Oct. 1.

Land bird flights were excellent last weekend and early this past week. Some highlights: an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was at Higbee Beach Sept. 30. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was there Oct. 1. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Stone Harbor Point Oct. 1, whle another was at Higbee Oct. 2. HOODED WARBLER was seen at Hidden Valley Ranch Sept. 30, and at Higbee Oct. 2. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was on Sea Grove Ave. Oct. 1, along with a late BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were reported by several observers early in the week at Higbee Beach. A MOURNING WARBLER was at Higbee Beach Oct. 2. A late YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at Higbee Oct. 3. Two DICKCISSELS were with a flock of House Sparrows at the pavilion on the dunes at Cape May Point State Park on Oct. 5.

Announcements: A "mini-pelagic" trip has been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 AM to Noon. The Cape May Whale Watcher boat in Cape May will be used; cost is $25. The boat will explore nearshore waters including Five-fathom Bank, MacRae's Shoal, and the mouth of the Delaware Bay. For more info or reservations, call Jersey Cape Nature Excursions, (609) 898 9631.

Local nature notes: A major movement of GREAT BLUE HERONS was seen Oct. 2; they were settling into the trees all over Cape May Point. Over 3000 were counted but more were passing over all night, attested by campers at Cold Spring Campground on New England Road. Hundreds lifted out of the trees as BALD EAGLES passed over at 7 AM and in the evening. Wednesday Oct. 5, thousands of GREEN DARNER Dragonflies and hundreds of VIOLET-MASKED GLIDERS draped the vegetation at Higbee Beach in the evening. And Monday, Oct. 3, trees and shrubs at Stone Harbor Point were covered with roosting MONARCH butterfiles.

Oct. 5, a butterfly roundup organized by Dick Walton found 17 species including the season's first PAINTED LADY; this species was hard hit by the past hard winter. Also found were 161 COMMON BUCKEYES and 5 MOURNING CLOAKS. The Buckeyes are migrants like Monarchs. Another LONG-TAILED SKIPPER was seen Oct. 2 at Higbee Beach, and one Sept. 30 at the Point; this is a southern emigrant. Great Horned Owls are beginning to set up territories now and can be heard at dusk; males are now calling, with a longer and higher call than the females. Migrant owls are coming through, especially on nights of gentle north wind; Barn Owls are the earliest....

[Program notes omitted -LL]

Fine print: 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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point.

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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