Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 10/7/1999
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 7 include reports of EURASIAN WIGEON, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, more details on the huge falcon flight from the Sept. 30th, local nature notes, and news of CMBO.

Note: Forsythe NWR (or Brigantine) will be closed on Thursdays until October 28 for goose management.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen in the ponds at the Cape May Point State Park on October 2. This is likely the same bird that has been seen for a number of years at the same site.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was present at Hidden Valley Ranch on October 7.

There were several reports of CLAY-COLORED SPARROW this week. Two were near the parking lot at Hidden Valley Ranch on October 6. Another entertained a Hawk Watch full of observers on October 2 as it fed in plain view on the ground in front of the watch. One was also tallied at Stone Harbor Point on October 1.

Good songbird flights occurred on October 6 and 7. Some highlights included: 2 DICKCISSELS, 2 PHILADELPHIA VIREOS, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, and a LEAST FLYCATCHER on the 6th at Higbees Beach. The 7th produced VESPER SPARROW, LEAST FLYCATCHER, and HOODED WARBLER at Higbees Beach and perched DICKCISSEL and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Hidden Valley Ranch. Also at hidden Valley was a late BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Earlier in the week, Higbees Beach had CONNECTICUT WARBLER on the 1st, along with HOODED WARBLER and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. A Pine Warbler was on Cape May Point on the 5th, along with a late VEERY.

An unusual bird on Cape Island, several WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH reports were received this week. 2 were on Cape May Point on the 6th, 2 were in West Cape May the same day, and 1 was at CMBOs Northwood Center, also on the 6th.

CMBOs sunset Cruise for Fall Migrants on October 2 had 2 MARBLED GODWITS, 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS, and about 50 WILLETS.

The Cape May Hawk Watch began its 24th year on September 1 on the newly constructed hawk watch at the Cape May Point State Park. This years primary counter is Dave Hedeen from Cincinnati, OH. Vince Elia will be spelling Dave on his days off. Also there our hawk watch Education Interns, Lara Moeckly and Glen Davis. The final totals on the incredible falcon flight on September 30 were record smashing. The total of 5,038 AMERICAN KESTRELS was a daily record, crushing the old record of 3,694 and the total of 867 MERLINS easily bested the old mark of 558. The total hawk count for the day of 8,192 raptors was the 4th highest daily count of all time.

CMBOs Avalon Seawatch officially began on September 22nd. The Avalon Seawatch is at 7th street and the beach at the north end of Avalon. This years counter is Chris Wood from Lakewood, Colorado. Fred Mears will do the count on Chris days off and on hand during the peak period will be Glen Davis, Jim Armstrong, and Gail Dwyer.

Local Nature Notes: An incredible of Monarch movement took place on October 2, possibly the biggest ever recorded at Cape May. Observers at the Cape May Point State Park estimated that about 65,000 to 70, 000 Monarchs passed the Hawk Watch between 8 a.m. and noon. At times, there were as many as 400 to 500 per minute passing the watch. The main flight-line was along the dunes, where clouds of Monarchs passed continuously. The hawk counter had difficulty in finding raptors amid the swirling kettles of Monarchs. The Monarch Project tagged over 700 Monarchs during that day. Estimates for the overall flight around the Cape May peninsula were as high as a quarter million Monarchs.

On Saturday, October 23 there will be a celebration to recognize the transfer of the former Coast Guard property in Lower Township to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. The site will be known as the "Two Mile Beach Unit". All are welcome. The ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. In addition, the Cape May Bird Observatory will offer 1-hour bird and butterfly walks at the site at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., and one following the ceremony at around 11:00 a.m. The site of the celebration and walks is at the south end of Wildwood Crest, with access off Ocean Drive just as you enter Wildwood Crest.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has daily walks, requiring no preregistration, and many special field trips and programs that do. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop our centers, or call 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

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 hotline. For more information call 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. Don't hesitate to visit our two centers of activity. CMBO's Center for Research & Education is located at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen. CMBO's Northwood Center is located at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. Both centers feature gardens, feeding stations, nature & book stores, and birding information. The Center in Goshen also has a wildlife art gallery, featuring artists, photographer, and carvers. Each Center is OPEN DAILY 10-5.

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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