Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 11/30/1995
[Permissions: May be redistributed beyond National Birding Hotline Cooperative mailing list, PROVIDED THAT no changes are made, credit is given and headers are included. Queries and comments to CMBO, please, not to transcriber.] 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. 30, 1995 include sightings of CAVE SWALLOW, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, N. SHRIKE, SANDHILL CRANE, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD, announcements, nature notes, and Christmas Count dates.

A CAVE SWALLOW was seen today, Nov. 30, as a fly-by at the Hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point State Park.

An ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was found near the South Cape May Meadows (SCCM) parking lot on Nov. 28. It flew off to the north and was not seen again.

A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was present at a feeder near Heislerville on Nov. 28 and 29.

Four NORTHERN SHRIKES were seen this past week in south Jersey. An adult was near the same feeder that had the dove on Nov. 29. Immatures Heislerville impoundments on Nov. 26, also at Cape May Point on Nov. 25-26, an also at Avalon Nov. 29.

A SANDHILL CRANE flew by the Hawkwatch platform Nov. 26.

Two BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS stopped briefly in a treetop in the Villas Nov. 25.

Other highlights this past week included a continuing LARK SPARROW at Morrison and 2d Ave. in West Cape May, seen today Nov. 30; also, a COMMON REDPOLL along Sunset Blvd. in West Cape May on Nov. 30; a DICKCISSEL and two TREE SPARROWS at the Hawkwatch Nov. 27; and two BALTIMORE ORIOLES at CMBO Nov. 28.

Owls continue to migrate past Cape May Meadows, best seen at dusk against the western sky on nights of gentle northwest wind. A SHORT-EARED OWL was seen hunting at dusk there Nov. 24; and 2 other large owls were seen Nov. 25, as well as 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS. On Nov. 27, 3 SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen over the meadows.

A record number of SAW-WHET OWLS was banded this fall by Katy Duffy at Cape May Point: 637 SAW-WHETS, 3 BARN OWLS, 27 LONG-EARED OWLS, & 1 EASTERN SCREECH OWL. Already quite a few road-killed Saw-whets have been found. If you spot one while driving, stop and check its leg for a metal band; it may be hidden in the feathers. Please note exactly where you found it, band number, the date, your name and full address, and report it to Pat Sutton at CMBO. We will send the report to the Bird Banding Lab and also let Katy know if it is one of her birds. Just such a bird was found Nov. 25 about 4 miles north of Cape May. It was banded by Katy Oct. 26, and apparently had found a good place to winter, until it was hit by a car.

Another good site for owls is Jakes Landing Road on the Bayshore. Four SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen Nov. 24, and 5 on Nov. 26, along with 25 NORTHERN HARRIERS and a GREAT HORNED OWL which was being harrassed by 3 of the SHORT-EARS.

We are at the end of the CMBO Hawkwatch, staffed this year by Andre Robinson. Highlights this week included a BALD EAGLE, GOLDEN EAGLE, & NORTHERN GOSHAWK seen on Nov. 24; a flight of 400+ birds on Nov. 26, with a late OSPREY, 143 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 19 COOPERS HAWKS, 5 N. GOSHAWKS, 6 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, a late BROAD-WINGED HAWK, and 108 RED-TAILED HAWKS. Another big flight was Nov. 30, with 5 BLACK VULTURES, 2 OSPREY, 4 BALD EAGLES, 134 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 25 COOPER'S HAWKS, 3 GOSHAWKS, 29 RED-SHOULDERS, 1 MERLIN, 1 PEREGRINE, and 139 RED-TAILED HAWKS.

The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon is staffed by Dave Ward, Clay Sutton, Mike O'Brien, Fred Mears. To date, the watchers are nearing 900,000 birds tallied, and there's still a month to go; one MILLION is not impossible. An ATLANTIC PUFFIN was a flyby at the Seawatch on Nov. 27. Other highlights were: 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS Nov. 26 and 2 more Nov. 27; 1000 to 4000 RED-THROATED LOONS daily; over 1000 N. GANNETS daily; 15 COMMON EIDERS between Nov. 25 and Nov. 27; a KING EIDER Nov. 27; and many SCOTERS, and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.

Local nature notes:

PURPLE FINCHES, PINE SISKINS, & FOX SPARROWS have been regular at feeders throughout the Cape. BUTTERFLY and DRAGONFLY sightings are real slim now, yet Nov. 28 had a number of reports in the warm temperatures, including ORANGE SULPHUR, CABBAGE WHITE, GREEN DARNER, as well as a number of BATS. The last cold front blew most of the leaves off the trees, and now we can look throught the woods for stick nests that might be used later by GREAT HORNED OWLS.


South Jersey Christmas Bird Counts:

Oceanville, Sat., Dec. 16: call Ed Bristow at (609) 641-4671. Belleplain, Sun., Dec. 17: call Paul Kosten at (609) 861-5827. Marmora, also Sun., Dec. 17: call Ed Bristow at (609) 641-4671. Cape May, Sun., Dec. 31: call Louise Zemaitis or Vince Elia at (609) 884-2736 (at CMBO). Cumberland County, Mon., Jan. 1: Clay Sutton, (609) 465-3397.

Jersey Cape Nature Excursions offers winter waterfowl cruises through protected back bay waters, every Sat. & Sun. 10 AM to 1 PM, aboard a 37 foot catamaran with enclosed cabin; call (609) 884-3712 for reservations or information.

A Cape May mini-pelagic is scheduled for Sat., Dec. 2, 8 AM to noon aboard the Cape May whale-watcher; the destination near-shore waters. In 1994 this trip saw several MANX SHEARWATERS, RAZORBILLS and BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. Call (609) 884-5445 or (800) 786-5445 for reservations or information.

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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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