Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/11/1997
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending December 11 include sightings of MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER, KING EIDER, RED CROSSBILL, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, dates for three local Christmas Bird Counts and news of a Pelagic Christmas Bird Count.

Quick note: Alan Brady is trying to get enough people to run a PELAGIC CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT on Friday, December 19th, out of Brielle, NJ, on the boat "The Atlantis." The trip will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the cost would be $50. If interested, call Alan Brady at 215-598-7856.

The MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER continues to be seen at the entrance to the Beanery, seen as recently as December 11.

A KING EIDER spent the week at the Bunker in the Cape May Point State Park. The last report is from December 9.

RED CROSSBILLS continue in good numbers around Cape May Point, with at least 30 present on December 9. Most are fly-overs, with observers alerted by their call note.

Other interesting sightings include: a CATTLE EGRET along Bayshore Rd. just north of the Beanery to at least December 5, about 10 TREE SWALLOWS at the South Cape May Meadows until at least the 6th, BLACK SKIMMER lingering on the beach at Beach Ave. in Cape May on the 8th, and an EVENING GROSBEAK perched in a pine tree at the Center for Research and Education in Goshen.

CMBO's fulltime Seawatch at the north end of Avalon, 7th Street and the beach, continues. December 9, 10, and 11 were all stellar days at the Seawatch. Highlights on December 9 include: 1,300 RED-THROATED LOONS, 2,300+ SCOTER, and 13 Eiders (including 7 KING EIDERS). On the 10th the flight included 1 RAZORBILL, 1 KING EIDER, 1 COMMON EIDER, and 2 RED-NECKED GREBES. On the 11th, 13 COMMON EIDERS were seen by 9:30 a.m. This fall the seawatch is manned by Bill Seng, Fred Mears, Dave Ward, and on occasion Clay Sutton, and on weekends Gail Dwyer.

Local Nature Notes follow: The leaves have fallen and winter's starkness has set in, but with the leaves gone it is much easier to search the woods for large stick nests built this past spring by Red-tails. These sturdy stick nests will be or probably already have been selected by courting Great Horned Owls. Keep track of stick nests you find and monitor them over the next few months, and you may be treated to an intimate encounter with a family of Great Horned Owls. It's an especially good winter already for northern finches. Keep an eye out if you have pine trees for crossbills, they'll quietly collect in your pines and feed on the cones with their specially adapted crossed bills. Watch your feeders for Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, Redpolls and Pine Siskins. Be sure to call your sightings in to CMBO.

The Cape May Bird Observatory hosts Saturday morning bird walks through December 27th. Otherwise we're busy preparing for 1998 and filling the calendar with fun programs, workshops, and activities. CMBO's winter program schedule is on its way to members; interested nonmembers should stop by or call for a copy. Some of our special preregistration Winter programs follow. CMBO will again host a "Kick-off: Start Your Year List" at the new center on January 1st. 6 one-day courses, titled "All About Owls: Workshop & Field Trip," are scheduled for the following dates: Saturday, January 3; Friday, January 16; Saturday, January 17; Friday, January 30; Saturday, January 31; and Wednesday, February 4. A Family Program on Owls will be held January 17th. Our Member's Night on January 21st will feature a program on "Monarchs in Winter, a slide program visit to Mexico" with Pat Sutton. The next Bird Watching for Beginners Course is scheduled for January 24 & 25. Two "Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore" field trips will be offered: February 6 & 7. A program on "Backyard Terrorists at the Feeder" and how to cope with them will be offered by Chris Baker on February 7. And much more! Two different Sunday morning bird walks will begin in January, one at Cape May Point from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and one at CMBO's new Center in Goshen from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. If you are not a member and would like a copy of the Winter Program Schedule with all the details, stop by either center or call us at 609-861-0700.

Details on upcoming local Christmas Bird Counts follow: The Cape May Count will be held December 21 (contact Louise Zemaitis at 884-2736); the Belleplain Count will be held on December 28 (contact Paul Kosten prior to December 21 at 861-5827; the Cumberland Count will be held January 4 (contact Clay Sutton at 465-3397).

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North. The center features gardens and a meadow for wildlife, feeding stations, nature store, and a wildlife art gallery in "The Loft"on our second floor, featuring the work of some of the Bayshore's finest artists, photographer, and carvers. CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding book store and birding information. Our Cape May Point Center is open, 10-5. Our new Center in Goshen is open Thursday through Monday, 10-5. Call to learn of holiday closures.

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 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING

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