Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/17/1992
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 Dec. 17 include: ROCK WREN, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER, COMMON EIDERS, KING EIDERS, TREE SPARROW, SAW-WHET OWL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, ICELAND GULL, KITTIWAKE, lots of raptor and waterfowl action, and information about Christmas Bird Counts.

The ROCK WREN has persisted in Cape May Point for another week. It can be found at the construction site across the street from 405 Lincoln Ave. It frequents the thickets near the house, the construction site, or the jetty nearby. It also vocalizes: a ringing trill, somewhat like a Carolina Wren but higher pitched and clearer.

An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was present on the 11th at the Concrete Ship, and on the previous day at the S. Cape May Meadows. The first year ICELAND GULL was seen on the 10th at Cape May Point. Two KITTIWAKES, one an adult, were near the Concrete Ship on the 11th, during the storm.

Some interesting songbirds were seen during the week. On the 15th at Hidden Valley, a late YELLOW WARBLER was present, as were PALM WARBLERS, WINTER WREN, HOUSE WREN, and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER. A TREE SPARROW was seen in the S. Cape May Meadows on the 15th along with 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. Another ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was observed on the 13th and 14th of December at the same site as the ROCK WREN in Cape May Point. News of other songbirds include a SEASIDE SPARROW and 4 SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS at Nummy Island along with more than a dozen SAVANNAH SPARROWS this week. Those wanting to wallow in SEASIDE SPARROWS should try Moore's Beach Rd., along the Delaware Bayshore. There are many there. Eleven TREE SWALLOWS were present at Higbee's Beach on the 16th.

Waterfowl action is quite good. Some 1200 SCAUP, SCOTER, and BLACK DUCKS were seen on the 10th at Reed's Beach. Three KING EIDERS were at the Concrete Ship on Dec. 11, and 5 COMMON EIDER were at the Bunker on Dec. 15th. The S. Cape May Meadows has hosted good numbers of AM. WIGEON and GADWALL, between 50 and 60 of each; also SHOVELER, as well as GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL. Sunset Lake, between Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, can be excellent this time of year. On the 16th a few dozen Scaup were present, along with 6 COM. LOONS and dozens of HORNED GREBES and BUFFLEHEADS.

Raptors the past week include at least 4 COOPER'S HAWKS seen in and around the Point, some of them adults. Also seen were GOSHAWK, MERLIN, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and PEREGRINE. Two SHORT-EARED OWLS were observed on Nummy Island on the 14th; also there the same day was a late TRICOLORED HERON. A SAW-WHET OWL was found dead on the Garden State Parkway on the 17th. It was banded in Cape May about a month ago. The automobile continues to be New Jersey's top predator.

Hundreds of PURPLE SANDPIPERS are now present on the jetties of Cape May and Cape May Point, also at the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May. On the 11th, both LEAST BITTERN & AMERICAN BITTERN were in Bunker Pond in Cape May Point State Park. Finally, an unconfirmed BLACK-THROATED SPARROW was reported on the 17th of December at Cherry Hill NJ. We're trying to check this out and will update if the bird is relocated and confirmed.

Dates for upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, and who to contact if you're interested in participating, are as follows. Oceanville count, Sat. Dec 19, contact Ed Bristow, 609 641-4671. Cape May count, Sun. Dec. 20, contact Keith Seager, 609 884-8778. Belleplain count, Sun. Dec. 27, contact Paul Coskins, 609 861-5827. Cumberland count, Fri. Jan 1, 1993, contact Clay Sutton 609 465-3397. Marmora count, Sun. Jan 3, contact Ed Bristow, 609 641-4671.

[Program announcements omitted. -LL]

Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office at 609-884-2736 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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