Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 11/4/1993
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. 4, 1993 include: TUNDRA SWAN, KING EIDER, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, GOLDEN EAGLE, SANDHILL CRANE, AMERICAN AVOCET, WILLET, PARASITIC JAEGER, SHORT-EARED OWL, WESTERN KINGBIRD, DICKCISSEL, IPSWICH SPARROW, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, SNOW BUNTING, EVENING GROSBEAK, raptor and seabird reports, and Christmas Bird Count dates.

An extralimital rarity: a WESTERN GREBE was found on Sunday Oct. 31 at Belmar NJ on the Shark River Inlet. It was seen daily until at least Nov. 3.

This week's nature highlight was the massive early-morning songbird flight on Nov. 2. Over 25,000 Am. Robins passed over the Hawk watch in 3 hours, along with thousands of blackbirds, goldfinches, 52 EVENING GROSBEAKS, lots of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, PINE SISKINS, and PURPLE FINCHES, hundreds of Tree Swallows and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a few Am. Pipits and Rusty Blackbirds. Also seen and/or heard from the hawk watch that day were LEAST BITTERNS, AM. BITTERNS, 150 Killdeer, 2 Snow Buntings and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR.

This week could have been called the week of the lingerer. Many species normally not found this late in the season were seen. The list includes: 5 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 1 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER Nov. 2, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER Nov. 1, a COM. NIGHTHAWK over Sunset Ave. Nov. 4, a Black-billed Cuckoo, an E. Wood-Pewee, a Nashville Warbler, and a N. Oriole at Higbee Nov. 2; N. Rough-winged Swallows at Cape May Point Nov. 1 and 4; a Bank Swallow Nov. 3; a Cliff Swallow in West Cape May Nov. 1; a Barn Swallow Nov. 1; Tennessee and Prairie Warblers Nov. 1 at the Beanery; a Blackpoll Warbler at the Hawk Watch Nov. 4; four DICKCISSELS there Nov. 3; and 3 more N. Orioles there Nov. 3 and 4.

The raptor count is getting near the 35,000 mark after two very good flights this week. Totals of 1532 and 793 on Nov. 2 and 4 respectively were impressive for November. The count on Nov. 2 exceeded last year's total for all of November. Over a third of the birds counted that day were Turkey Vultures; 545 birds tallied shattered the old record of 200. Also that day there were 3 BLACK VULTURES, 150 N. HARRIERs, 570 SHARP-SHINS, 53 RED-SHOULDERS, 3 BROADWINGS, and 3 imm. GOLDEN EAGLES, and the first ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK of the season. On Nov. 4, 1 BALD EAGLE, 70 N. HARRIERS, 70 COOPERS HAWKS, 10 N. GOSHAWKS, 34 RED-SHOULDERS, AND 225 RED-TAILS were counted.

As of the end of October, the sea watch at Avalon had tallied 288,000 birds. Over 130,000 of these were Scoters, and another 125,000 were Double-crested Cormorants. Other totals include 1000 RED-THROATED LOONS and 41 PARASITIC JAEGERS. Over 13,000 birds were counted on Nov. 3, mostly Scoters.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON first found on Bunker Pond in Sept. was last seen Oct. 26 and seems to have departed. Among the hundreds of Scoters seen flying by the state park Nov. 3, there was a female-plumaged KING EIDER; another was at the sea watch Nov. 1.

A potpourri of sightings from the week: 3 TUNDRA SWANS, the first of the fall, were over the Hawk watch Oct. 30. Another 5 were seen Nov. 4. The WILLET that has wintered along the Avalon Jetties for the past few years returned Nov. 3. An AM. AVOCET continued at Brigantine at least to Nov. 1. A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was at Higbee Beach Nov.1, and 3 IPSWICH (SAVANNAH) SPARROWS were found on Nummy Island Oct. 31. A WESTERN KINGBIRD was at Higbee Oct. 29. Owls are migrating through now, and reports of BARN OWLS, SHORT-EARED OWLS, LONG-EARED OWLS, and SAW-WHET OWLS have been received.

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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