Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/1/1994
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Dec.1, 1994 include sightings of: PAINTED BUNTING, SPOTTED TOWHEE, WHITE PELICAN, EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL, general migration notes, announcements, etc.

THE PAINTED BUNTING continues at Higbee Beach, with a sighting there on Nov. 30; there was no report today, Dec. 1. A SPOTTED TOWHEE, the western race of Rufous-sided Towhee, was seen along Seagrove Ave. near Sunset Blvd. on Cape May Point today, Dec. 1.

A WHITE PELICAN was seen briefly over the hawk watch on Nov. 29. It came from the southwest and flew off to the northeast. A EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen in the South Cape May Meadows on Dec. 1.

Other interesting passerine sightings this week included: an AMERICAN REDSTART at the Beanery Nov. 26; a SOLITARY VIREO along Alexander Ave. in Cape May Point on Dec. 1; two AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS at Higbee Beach Dec. 1; and two dozen PURPLE FINCHES between the Point and Higbee Beach Dec. 1.

One or two SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen here Nov. 27. One was seen at dawn along the Cape May beach front migrating south and the other several hours later from the hawk watch migrating over the water very high. Jakes Landing has been excellent for these owls lately, with an astounding 18 there on Nov. 25.

The Cape May autumn hawk watch ended with a bang Nov. 30. Jerry Ligouri broke all kinds of records with the season's total of 70,830 birds, the best hawk flight the Cape has seen since 1984; record high season totals for seven species included: Black Vulture, 110; Turkey Vulture, 2260; Bald Eagle, 144; Northern Harrier, 3115; Cooper's Hawk, 3330; Red-shouldered Hawk, 872; and Red-tailed Hawk, 3901. Jerry's final bird of the season was an American Kestrel; the same species was also the first recorded in 1994, and a Kestrel was also the one-millionth raptor recorded at the hawk watch, recorded on Sept. 12 1994. On Dec. 1, Jerry wrote up the season's report, while a major hawk flight took place: an immature Bald Eagle, a kettle of over 40 buteos, mostly Red-tailes; and a kettle of 55 Turkey and 3 Black Vultures. A Rough-legged Hawk was also seen on Dec. 1.

CMBO's full time sea watch is being conducted from Seventh Ave. at the north end of Avalon. Over one-half-million birds have been logged, over last year's total, with a month to go. Highlights this past week included: 2 RED-NECKED GREBES on Nov. 30; big flights of Red-throated Loons on Nov. 29 and 30; 150 Common Loons on Nov. 29; and a late Black Skimmer also Nov. 29. Further south along the beach front, at 114th street in Stone Harbor, a female KING EIDER was seen on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Christmas bird counts are less than a month away. Contact local compilers if you are interested; phone numbers follow. Oceanville: Sat. Nov. 17; Marmora, Sun. Nov. 18, both organized by Ed Bristow (609) 641-4671. Cape May, Sun. Nov. 18, organized by Louise Zemaitis and Vince Elia; call Louise at CMBO, (609) 884-2736. Belleplain, Mon., Dec. 26, Paul Kosten, (609) 861-5827. Cumberland, Sun. Jan. 1, Clay Sutton, (609) 465-3397.

Announcements: A "mini-pelagic" trip has been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 AM to Noon. The Cape May Whale Watcher boat in Cape May will be used; cost is $25. The boat will explore nearshore waters including Five-fathom Bank, MacRae's Shoal, and the mouth of the Delaware Bay. For more info or reservations, call Jersey Cape Nature Excursions, (609) 898 9631.

Local nature notes: ALERT: Deer ticks have been found south of the canal. Absent until now, an increase in deer has brought them along. Birders should be cautious in areas such as Higbee Beach for this Lyme Disease vector.

Only at Cape May can New Jerseyans continue to enjoy butterflies and dragonflies this late in the season. The cape is buffered by warm bay waters. A few GREEN DARNERS, a sprinkling of MONARCHS, some CLOUDED SULPHURS, and an AMERICAN LADY were seen this week.

[Program notes omitted -LL]

Fine print: 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 [(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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