Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/7/1993
You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Oct. 7, 1993 include: EARED GREBE, EURASIAN WIGEON, N. GOSHAWK, AM. AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, PARASITIC JAEGER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, BARN OWL, WESTERN KINGBIRD, GRAY KINGBIRD, DICKCISSEL, LARK SPARROW, raptor flights, and nature notes.

The NJAS 47th annual Cape May Weekend was a success with numerous exciting events and some very good birds. Chief among these was an EARED GREBE found on a small pond just east of Bunker Pond in the State Park. The bird was found on the afternoon of Oct. 1, and was seen by all who tried until it was seen flying off on the morning of Oct. 4, not seen again.

The GRAY KINGBIRD reported on last week's tape was relocated briefly at the S. Cape May Meadows around 3 PM on Oct. 3. It flew off to the east and was serendipitously seen on a wire on Jackson St. in the town of Cape May around 3:30. It was seen to fly north towards the Acme grocery store and was not seen again.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON first found on Sept. 19 continues to be seen daily on Bunker Pond, and is molting out of eclipse plumage. It now has a gray back, a mostly-yellow crown stripe, and is starting to molt its sides from pink to gray. The bird is often out of sight so some patience is required to see it. Another male EURASIAN WIGEON, this one in full alternate plumage, was seen at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR on Oct. 4. Also at Brig recently were 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, the returning adult bird back for its 8th winter, and a 3d winter bird, seen Oct. 7. MARBLED and HUDSONIAN GODWITS and LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER were also seen Oct. 7. Counts were made of over 1000 Green-winged Teal and similar numbers of Dunlin at Brig that day.

The two AMERICAN AVOCETS reported on last week's tape were re-found on Oct. 3 on Ocean Drive west of the toll bridge near the Breezy Lee Marina. Two MARBLED GODWITS were found on Champagne Island on Oct. 6. Numbers of birds flying past the Avalon sea watch have increased greatly recently. Over 11000 seabirds, mostly cormorants, flew past on Oct. 1. JAEGERS are seen fairly often from the sea watch site at the end of 7th street in Avalon (exit 13 on the Parkway). JAEGERS are also being seen from the Cape May Point State Park, by carefully searching through the feeding flocks of gulls and terns offshore. A PARASITIC JAEGER was seen at Stone Harbor on Oct. 2. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, another returning bird, is regularly seen on the beach at Cape May Point between Sunset Beach and Higbee Beach.

A reasonably good passerine flight on Oct. 5 brought a lot of Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and various sparrows to Higbee Beach. Also seen were both Kinglets, E. Meadowlarks, Am. Pipits, Purple Finches, and a few Rusty Blackbirds and Pine Siskins. The most exciting passerines, though, were seen from the hawkwatch platform: 2 DICKCISSELS and a WESTERN KINGBIRD. A previous WESTERN KINGBIRD, an usually late first for the season, was found at Sunset and Sea Grove Aves. on Oct. 3. A very late MARTIN, presumably Purple, was seen on Oct. 7. To round out the passerines, a LARK SPARROW has been sporadic this week near the Lighthouse in the state park.

Raptor flights this week were good. Over 1000 hawks were tallied on each of 3 days this week, Oct. 1, 3, and 5. 732 Sharpshinned Hawks and 209 Broadwinged Hawks were seen on Oct. 1. On Oct. 3, 31 Peregrines were the highlight, and an amazing 253 Cooper's Hawks were counted on Oct. 5. The same day also saw the arrival of the season's first N. GOSHAWKS; at least 4 individuals were seen including one adult. The first Barn Owl of the season's migrants was heard over the Cape May Meadows on the night of Oct. 5.

[local nature notes omitted -ll]

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 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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