You have reached the Cape May birding hotline. Highlights of the week ending Nov. 13 include: VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, CAVE SWALLOWS, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, possible BAR-TAILED GODWIT, HARLEQUIN DUCK, RAZORBILL, COMMON EIDER, PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGERS, BALD and GOLDEN EAGLES, GOSHAWK, PEREGRINE, BARN OWL, LONG-EARED, SAW-WHET, and SHORT-EARED OWLS, VESPER SPARROWS, TREE SPARROWS, and FOX SPARROWS, WESTERN KINGBIRD, PARULA WARBLER, BROWN PELICAN, BLUEBIRDS, TUNDRA SWANS, BONAPARTE'S GULLS, a pelagic trip announcement, local nature notes and news of upcoming programs.
First, I want to thank you for your patience. CMBO is currently undergoing major renovations, and the hotline could not be updated on Thursday. Those of you wishing to stop by to write down sightings or read of other sightings may have found, or will find, that we are temporarily closed until the middle of next week, when we hope to be partially put back together again. Thanks for bearing with us.
On Nov. 7, not one but four CAVE SWALLOWS and one VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW were seen well by numerous observers, in with a flock of about 200 TREE SWALLOWS, over Bunker Pond in the Cape May Point State Park. This is only the second record for CAVE SWALLOW - the first was a lone bird in April and May of 1991. And it is the first state record, the first county record, and the first East Coast record of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. The VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW and the CAVE SWALLOWS were all seen through Nov. 10 over the Cape May Point State Park and over the South Cape May Meadows. The four CAVE SWALLOWS were again seen on Nov. 11, but only one was seen today, Nov. 13. The VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW was again seen Nov. 13 at 2:45 pm from the hawkwatch. On Nov. 7 and 8 other swallows in the area included about 200 TREE SWALLOWS, 2 BARN SWALLOWS, and one CLIFF SWALLOW.
An ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was a one-day-only sighting on Nov. 9 at the Cape May Point State Park. A possible BAR-TAILED GODWIT was seen Nov. 11 as it flew over the hawkwatch. Two HARLEQUIN DUCKS were seen on Nov. 8 at the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May; and a pair, perhaps the same two birds, were seen at the Cape May Coast Guard Jetty on Nov. 10.
The Avalon seabird watch reports a few days of 100+ Loons and Gannets daily all week, but an excellent flight on Nov. 13 was from 7 - 8:30 AM, when over 1000 N. Gannets and one RAZORBILL migrated by. Also on the 13th, a flock of 100 SCOTERS, mostly BLACK SCOTERS, and 4 COMMON EIDERS were feeding around the Eighth St. jetty in Avalon. One COMMON EIDER was a flyby at the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May on Nov. 12. After the southerly gale last night when gusts reached 50 MPH, another seabird enthusiast was at the Concrete Ship in West Cape May between 7 and 8 am, to witness the seabirds coming out of the Delaware Bay. One POMARINE JAEGER, two unidentified Jaegers, 10 N. GANNETS, 50 RED-THROATED LOONS, one COM. LOON, 6 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, one PEREGRINE and one N. HARRIER were seen; the Harrier crossed the bay. On Nov. 11, a JAEGER, probably a PARASITIC, was seen from the Concrete Ship.
Eagles, eagles, and more eagles this week. On Nov. 7, 4 BALD EAGLES, one GOLDEN EAGLE, and 3 GOSHAWKS, including one adult, were enjoyed from the hawkwatch. Goshawks have been almost daily since, with 2 on the 8th, one on the 9th and one on the 11th. On Nov. 9, 5 BALD EAGLES migrated over the hawkwatch, and another on Nov. 10. Today, a GOLDEN EAGLE entertained hawkwatchers. A sprinkling of PEREGRINES and MERLINS are still coming through.
Owls have been enjoyed over the past week with the aid of the full moon. CMBO's night walk on Nov. 7 witnessed a BARN OWL hunting over the central trail through the South Cape May Meadows at dusk, 5:40 PM. Since then almost nightly a Barn Owl has been seen in the light of the full moon, hunting the Meadows between 11 PM and 3 AM. A Barn Owl was seen Nov. 11 at 4:30 PM flying south over the hawkwatch. A LONG-EARED OWL was seen at dawn Nov. 11, perched on top of one of the Bluebird boxes in the Meadows. Nine SAW-WHET OWLS and one LONG-EARED OWL have been banded this week, with the biggest number occurring the night of Nov. 8, a clear, still, cold night. A belated report of the season's first migrant Short-eared Owl just reached us; it was seen hunting over the State Park, and cruised over the town of Cape May Point on Oct. 30.
Three VESPER SPARROWS and one WESTERN KINGBIRD were seen Nov. 8 at Hidden Valley. On Nov. 9, one VESPER SPARROW and 3 FOX SPARROWS were seen there. Access for Hidden Valley is now via the new parking lot on New England Rd. An AM. TREE SPARROW was in the northeast corner of the Cape May Meadows on Nov. 12, with other sparrows. A PARULA WARBLER was seen on Sea Grove Ave. in Cape May Point on Nov. 12. Four BROWN PELICANS were seen from the hawkwatch platform on Nov. 12, and one was seen flying south past Avalon on Nov. 5.
An excellent flight of BLUEBIRDS passed by Cape May Point on Nov. 13, with an estimated 2500 birds passing. There were swarms of BLUEBIRDS through the morning. 65 TUNDRA SWANS migrated past the point on Nov. 13. A flock of 21 BONAPARTE'S GULLS migrated over the hawkwatch about 2 PM the same day.
On Sat., Dec. 5, an inshore pelagic trip to Five Fathom Bank, about 12 miles off Cape May, will be run by Capt. Ron Robbins on his boat "Holiday". The trip runs from 8 AM to 1 PM. You place can be secured by contributing $25 per person to CMBO; include a note that it is for this boat trip. Be at the dock no later than 7:45 AM. Space is limited; the boat is now half-full. Send a check to CMBO, or call 884-2736.
Local nature notes follow. What are these swallows eating? I'm told that at dusk, midges of some sort hatch out and the swallows come from nowhere and swoop on these flying insects. The Tree Swallows can eat Bayberries and Wax Myrtle berries; so despite freezing temperatures they will certainly survive. But the others are questionable.
The first modern-day record of a SLEEPY ORANGE BUTTERFLY was seen this week at the Beanery. The last blow took most of our fall colors, leaving the trees bare. But this is a good time to begin looking for large stick-nests, which might be used by Great Horned Owls in December and January, when they begin to nest, or by Red-tailed Hawks next spring. Owls do not build their own nests, so any stick-nest left from the previous spring is a potential owl nest.
[Program announcements omitted. -LL]
Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office at 609-884-2736 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.