Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 11/2/1995
Hotline Cooperative mailing list, PROVIDED THAT no changes are made, credit is given and headers are included. Queries regarding transcript to transcriber; regarding birds and birding, to CMBO. You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending Nov. 2, 1995 include sightings of CALIFORNIA GULL, ROSS'S GOOSE, HENSLOW'S SPARROW, migration news, announcements, nature notes etc.

A first-winter CALIFORNIA GULL was see at the Avalon Seawatch on Oct. 29, flying south with Ring-billed Gulls. There are no previous state records. Also at the Seawatch, a dark morph ROSS'S GOOSE was seen on Oct. 31. This species is annual in NJ, particularly at Brigantine during fall, but dark morph birds are extremely rare.

A HENSLOW'S SPARROW was seen Oct. 29 at Higbee Beach; no repeat sightings were made.

Other hightlights this past week include several flocks of EVENING GROSBEAKS at various locations, mainly on Oct. 30-31; two LINCOLN'S SPARROWS at Higbee Beach, Oct. 27; AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACKPOLL WARBLER, & SOLITARY VIREO at the Beanery Oct. 29; BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER at the Hawkwatch platform, also Oct. 29; and NORTHERN PARULA and NASHVILLE WARBLERS at Higbee Oct. 29.

Last week's tape carried word of an incredible OWL migration Oct. 25, when 80 SAW-WHET OWLS were banded. The weather continued with a gentle NW wind, clear skies; and on on Oct. 26, an additional 68 SAW-WHETS, 2 LONG-EARED OWLS, and 2 BARN OWLS were banded. The weather changed again until Oct. 31, when 21 more SAW-WHETS were banded. Birders doing night-watches for owls also are having luck; on Oct. 26, six large owls, either BARN OWL or LONG-EARED, were seen in migration after dark, and four or more BARN OWLS and a SAW-WHET were heard. The best night-watching for owls is from the new Nature Conservancy observation platform in the South Cape May Meadows. SHORT-EARED OWLS are passing now too; one was seen over Cape May Point the evening of Oct. 26, and another was seen Oct. 29 in the Meadows. A roosting LONG-EAR was present Oct. 27 in the State Park all day. On Nov. 2, as this hotline was being written, a Carolina Wren discovered a roosting SAW-WHET OWL outside CMBO at 4 PM.

We are in the third month of the CMBO Hawkwatch, staffed this year by Andre Robinson; Jerry Ligouri and Ulf Koenig are our education interns. [transcriber's apology for getting Ulf's name wrong for several weeks.] This week's cold fronts produced excellent flights. The EAGLE show on Oct. 29-30 will be long remembered. Eleven BALD EAGLES and three GOLDEN EAGLES were seen Oct. 29, and seven BALD and five GOLDEN on Oct. 30. Other highlights of Oct. 30-31 included over 180 NORTHERN HARRIERS, 750+ SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 60 COOPER'S HAWKS, 2 GOSHAWKS, 27 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, 40 BROADWINGED HAWKS, and the season's first SWAINSON'S HAWK, 290+ RED-TAILS, 50+ KESTRELS and 15 MERLINS. PEREGRINE FALCONS are still coming through, and soared way beyond previous highs, 1086 recorded so far (previous high, 818 in 1990). As of Nov. 1, over 50,000 raptors have been counted this fall.

The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon is staffed by Dave Ward, Clay Sutton, Mike O'Brien, Fred Mears. Again, mind-boggling flights of SCOTERS, sea ducks and cormorants passed this week. Oct. 31 will long be remembered for 101,742 seabirds that passed by. Of those, 86,000 were Scoters, including 37,000 BLACK SCOTERS; 33,000 SURF SCOTERS; 16,000 "dark-winged" (Black or Surf) and 200 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS.

Also that day, 488 RED-THROATED LOONS, 315 COMMON LOONS, 750 N. GANNETS, 6900 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 1783 SNOW GEESE, 2100 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 5 PARASITIC JAEGERS, and one RAZORBILL. Three COMMON EIDER passed the Seawatch Oct. 28; PARASITIC JAEGERS are daily, including ten on Oct. 30; and a BLACK BRANT was seen Oct. 26. The Seawatch total as of the end of Oct. was 540,000 birds.

Local nature notes follow. A major migration of AM. ROBINS and SPARROWS, involving thousands of birds, came through Oct. 30. CMBO'S "Night watch" on Oct. 28 witnessed thousands of TREE SWALLOWS going to roost. With temperatures dropping, Butterfly numbers have dropped, but a few are still in the area. On Nov. 2, CMBO's garden had 2 CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, and the State Park trails had a QUESTION MARK, 2 GREEN DARNER dragonflies, and several MONARCHS. A COMMON BUCKEYE was in the Cape May Meadows Nov. 1, and a LONG-TAILED SKIPPER was in the Villas Oct. 28.

[program information deleted--LL]

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 birding hotline. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, and the Observatory, call our office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

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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