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 12 include sightings of BELL'S
VIREO, WESTERN KINGBIRD, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, ICELAND GULL, news
of CMBO's Avalon Seawatch, local nature notes, an announcement
about an upcoming Mini-pelagic Trip, news of CMBO's upcoming
programs and field trips, local Christmas Bird Count dates and
The BELL'S VIREO, discovered at Hidden Valley on December 4th,
was seen as recently as December 11th. It was last seen on the
east edge of the first field toward the back corner.
A WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen December 12th in West Cape May in the
vicinity of 4Th and Oak Aves. Also in West Cape May, a
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW continues to be seen near 2nd and West
Aves. It is in the company of 35 Chipping Sparrows and a JUNCO
believed to be of the "pink-sided" form, or possibly an
Two ICELAND GULLS were present at the fish docks along Ocean Dr.
near the toll bridge on December 7th. Another was in the South
Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on the same day.
Two EURASIAN WIGEON were in Lily Lake as recently as December
8th, along with a REDHEAD and a CANVASBACK.
A LITTLE GULL was seen feeding with four Forster's Terns and a
number of Bonaparte's Gulls off the Cape May Point State Park on
Two immature COMMON EIDERS continue to be seen around the Cape
May Point jetties , between Saint Mary's and the Gingerbread
Other highlights this week included two American Tree Sparrows at
SCMM on December 8th and one at Higbee Beach on the 12th, a very
late Osprey over Cap May Point on the 9th, five Red Knots on the
beach at SCMM on the 11th, and an Orange-crowned Warbler at the
parking lot at SCMM on the 12th.
The Avalon Seawatch, being conducted at 7th Street and the Beach
at the North end of Avalon, reached its ONE MILLIONTH seabird of
the season today, December 12th, at 10:14 A M, as a male Surf
Scoter migrated by!!! Congratulations go to this year's Seawatch
Crew for their dedication and hard work: Bill Seng, our official
Seawatcher, Mike Lanzone, our Seawatch Education Intern, and
Fred Mears and Dave Ward. Other highlights of the past week
include 6 Common Eiders and over 1,000 Red-throated Loons on
December 5, 7 Common Eiders and a Black-legged Kittiwake on the
6th, 450 Oldsquaw and 130 White-winged Scoter on the 9th, several
hundred each of Oldsquaw, Red-throated Loons, and Bonaparte's
Gulls on the 10th, and a Red-necked Grebe on the 11th.
Some totals from the December 7th pelagic trip out of Brielle
included 101 Northern Fulmars, two Puffin, seven Dovekies, 13
Razorbills, and a Pomarine Jaeger.
A half-day Mini Pelagic trip is scheduled out of Cape May aboard
the Cape May Whale Watcher on December 14th. Trip leaves at 8
a.m., cost is $35. Call 1-800-786-5445 for more details and to
Local Nature Notes follow: Unseasonably warm weather this week
produced several active butterflies. A Red Admiral flew in from
sea at the Avalon Seawatch on December 8th and landed on the
rocks of the seawall. On December 12th a Red Admiral was seen in
Cape May Point along with another butterfly that dashed by that
may have been a Monarch.
Oldsquaw can be readily found now in the surf along the
oceanfront. Often they are in pairs, but you're also likely to
find larger groupings of birds. Lovely looks can be had right
from the Avalon Seawatch. Bonaparte Gulls are quite easy to
study now too as they feed around the jetties in Cape May Point.
They're very dainty and so seem more tern-like than gull-like.
Fox Sparrows are in. Adult Bald Eagles are paired up and on
territory; they might be found near their nests, like the pair
that's been seen sitting side by side on the back edge of East
Creek Lake each early morning.
This year's Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey is scheduled for Janaury
11 and 12. Please share your bald eagle sightings with us here
at CMBO so that we can be sure to have observers at all known
eagle hotspots for th e survey! American Holly trees are heavy
with berries. Sumac fruit clusters stand out now as most of the
leaves have fallen. With the leaves fallen it's time to search
for large stick nests that Great Horned Owls might use for their
nests in a little over one month, they being our earliest
nesting bird - one eggs by January.
Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Every Saturday (through
December) Tom Parsons will lead a "Birding Cape May Point" walk
at 7:30 a.m., meeting in the raised picnic pavilion at Cape May
Point State Park. The Cape May Bird Observatory's winter program
schedule is now in print and being sent to members. Non-members
should give us a call if they'd like to receive a copy. Weekly
"Owl & Hawk Watches at Jakes Landing" will be held every Friday
January 3 through March 14th at 4:00 p.m. Weekly "Winter Bird
Walks" will be held every Sunday January through March at 8:30
a.m., meeting in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point
State Park. A Weeklong Birding Workshop for Hawks, Owls, and
Winter Waterfowl will be led and taught January 6-10th by Pat and
Clay Sutton and Pete Dunne. There's still room; call for the
weeklong workshop flyer and registration form. A special Members'
Night will be held January 15th at the NEW CMBO in Goshen, with
"a Birthday Party for New Jersey Audubon Society in its 100th
Year!" scheduled for 7:30-9 p.m. Six "Owl Workshops" are
scheduled: January 18, 25, February 1, 5, and 15. The "Bird
Watching For Beginners Course" will be taught January 25-26,
February 22-23, and March 29-30. A "Winter Raptors of Bear Swamp and
the Delaware Bayshore" is scheduled for February 8, AND MUCH
The three local Christmas Bird Counts will all be held on Sunday
this year; dates and contacts follow: Cape May CBC on December
22, call Vince Elia or Louise Zemaitis at 609-8 84-2736;
Belleplain CBC on December 29, call Paul Kosten at 609-861-5827;
Cumberland CBC on January 5, call Clay Sutton at 609-465-3397.
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 send a request for information 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 DAILY, 9-5.
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!