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 Dec. 15 include sightings of FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER,
SANDHILL CRANE, REDHEAD, ICELAND GULL, COMMON EIDER, local nature notes, program notes and announcements.
The bird of the week is a FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, discovered Dec. 12 and seen daily since, including today, Dec. 15. It is being seen on Second Ave. near house #435 in West Cape May. It flits around yards on Second and sometimes Third Ave., which are parallel to and north of Sunset Blvd. near the Cape May Meadows. We hope the bird will linger until the Cape May Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, Dec. 18. If you plan a trip to see this bird call the Observatory at (609) 884-2736 for updates.
Two SANDHILL CRANES were discovered near Hidden Valley Ranch late in the day Dec. 11. The birds then disappeared, apparently headed north. They were seen again early the following morning heading south over Delaware Bay.
A WHITE PELICAN was seen Dec. 13 flying north over Leed's Point Road near Brigantine NWR, and 3 GOLDEN EAGLES have settled into the marshes at Mott's Creek, just north of Brigantine, perhaps for the winter. Also in Atlantic County, an OSPREY was seen Dec. 12 migrating south over Brigantine NWR - a very late date.
Four REDHEADS, three males and one female, have taken up residence at Bunker Pond, in front of the Hawk Watch platform at Cape May Point State Park. First discovered on Dec. 12, they have been seen as recently as today, Dec. 15.
An ICELAND GULL was a fly-by at the Sea Watch in Avalon Dec. 13. Other highlights of the Sea Watch this week include 6 COMMON EIDERS Dec. 14, along with a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE the same day. Four COMMON EIDER were also present near the Bunker at the Cape May Point State Park Dec. 14. All 3 SCOTER species were found around the point this week. Three WHITE-WINGED SCOTER were at the Bunker on Dec. 13; while several BLACK SCOTER and SURF SCOTER were found around the jetties in the State Park. These jetties have also been holding lots of PURPLE SANDPIPERS at low tide.
The only passerine of note reported this week, aside from the Fork-tailed Flycatcher, was a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT in the State Park on Dec. 9.
Christmas bird counts begin this weekend. Contact local compilers if you are interested; phone numbers follow. Oceanville: Sat. Dec. 17; Marmora, Sun. Dec. 18, both organized by Ed Bristow (609) 641-4671. Cape May, Sun. Dec. 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.
Local nature notes: It's truly winter, although seabird migration continues. Leaves are down and it's time to look for used nests and nests which may be re-used by Great Horned Owls.
[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 (email@example.com).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.