Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 11/11/1993
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 Nov. 11, 1993 include ROSS'S GOOSE, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, BALD and GOLDEN EAGLES, MARBLED and HUDSONIAN GODWITS, DICKCISSEL, SNOW BUNTING, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, COMMON REDPOLL and other finches, raptor and seabird reports, and Christmas Bird Count dates.

An extralimital rarity: a WESTERN GREBE at Belmar NJ, reported on last week's tape, turned up missing for a few days but was refound at the original location on the Shark River Inlet Nov. 8. Call the Voice of NJ Audubon at (908) 766-2661 for details.

The excellent finch flight continues. On Nov. 8, at least 4 COMMON REDPOLLS were found. One observer found one feeding in a flock of Am. Goldfinches at Higbee, and heard at least 2 others fly over. The fourth bird was heard as it flew over the hawk watch with a flock of Goldfinches. A flock of 18 finches that flew by the hawkwatch that day may also have been Redpolls. Another 3 Redpolls were found at Higbee on Nov. 11. Listen for their somewhat-Siskin-like chattery call note.

Redpolls were just the icing on the cake on Nov. 8, as hundreds of PINE SISKINS and AM. GOLDFINCHES were seen from many locations south of the Cape May Canal. Also seen were hundreds of PURPLE FINCHES and lots of EVENING GROSBEAKS. We hope Crossbills are not far behind.

The raptor count nearly crossed the 30,000 mark today, but fell 39 birds short. Tomorrow or Saturday should do it. This will be the first time since 1988 that over 30,000 raptors were counted in the fall; however, this should not cause complacency about the recent decline in raptor numbers, as the Cape May count used to average over 40,000 Sharpshins a year - not all hawks, just Sharpies. Nov. 7 through 9 brought consistently good flights, highlights of which were: 4 BLACK VULTURES Nov. 7 and 9, 2 OSPREYS each Nov. 8 and 11; 72 N. HARRIERS and 278 SHARPSHINS Nov. 7; 27 COOPER'S HAWKS Nov. 8, 38 on Nov. 9 and 19 Nov. 10; N. GOSHAWKS daily, with 9 Nov. 10 and 8 Nov. 11; 41 RED-SHOULDERS Nov. 9; 1 BROADWING and 159 RED-TAILS on Nov. 8; and single GOLDEN EAGLES Nov. 7 and 8. Single ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were seen near Hidden Valley Nov. 8 and 11 but were not seen from the Hawk watch.

Many lingerers were still around this week, including: an E. Wood-Pewee at Higbee on Nov. 7 and another at the State Park Nov. 9; a N. Rough-winged Swallow at the State Park Nov. 7; a House Wren at Cape May Point Nov. 10; a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at the Point Nov. 10-11; a Solitary Vireo at the State Park Nov. 9; Tennessee and Prairie Warblers at the S. Cape May Meadows Nov. 10; a Magnolia Warbler and a N. Oriole at Hidden Valley Nov. 8; a Nashville Warbler at Hidden Valley Nov. 8-11; another Nashville Warbler in Cape May [town] Nov. 8; a Blackpoll Warbler at the Hawk watch Nov. 8; an Ovenbird at the Beanery Nov. 7; Dickcissels at Bayshore Rd. Nov. 7 and at Higbee and the Hawkwatch Nov. 11; and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the State Park Nov. 6.

As of Nov. 10 the Avalon Sea Watch had tallied 373,910 birds. Almost 180,000 of these were Scoters, and another 148,000 were Double-crested Cormorants. Other totals of note include 9600 Red-throated Loons, 10,000 N. Gannets and 56 Jaegers. Over 15,000 birds were counted Nov. 7, many of them Red-throated Loons.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was found on Ocean Drive Nov. 5 and was seen for a few days. It was assumed by many to be the male that spent over a month on Bunker Pond at the State Park, present to Oct. 26. But today, a male was rediscovered on Bunker Pond; no word was received on the status of the Ocean Drive bird today. To be safe, check in both places. The Ocean Drive site is the second pond on the right after the toll bridge.

Species reported this week at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR included: ROSS'S GOOSE, AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, and HUDSONIAN GODWIT. Another MARBLED GODWIT was found on a sand bar in Hereford Inlet on Nov. 8. Also there were 2000 Dunlin, 150 Oystercatchers, and 150 Black-bellied Plovers. Another 3400 Dunlin and a Willet and a White-rumped Sandpiper were at Heislerville in Cumberland County on Nov. 10.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR and 2 SNOW BUNTINGS flew over the S. Cape May Meadows today, Nov. 11. Two AM. BITTERNS were seen on Bunker Pond from the Hawk watch on Nov. 11. A good variety of ducks are being seen on many bodies of water south of the canal, most in small numbers still. A few herons also are lingering in small numbers. PURPLE SANDPIPERS can now be found on many jetties in Cape May Point.

This past week was perfect for migrating owls. After the cold front went through on the weekend, it was followed by clear cold nights with only a light wind. The number of owls caught by the Cape May owl banding project proved the point. A record 73 owls were caught on Nov. 7: 68 N. Saw-whets, 4 Long-ears, and a Barn Owl. The rest of the week added 75 more Saw-whets and 2 Barn Owls. Despite so many owls around, none of us has found any roosting by day, yet there must be hundreds of them tucked into evergreens and tangles.

Christmas Count dates for this year: Oceanville (Brigantine), Dec. 18, contact Ed Bristow at (609) 641-4671. Belleplain, Dec. 19, contact Paul Kosten (609) 861-5827. Cape May, Dec. 26, contact Keith Seager, (609) 884-8778. Cumberland County, Jan. 1, contact Clay Sutton, (609) 465-3397; Marmora, Jan. 2, contact Ed Bristow as above.

[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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