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. 2, 1993 include
AM. WHITE PELICAN, COMMON EIDERS, HARLEQUIN DUCK, PARASITIC JAEGER, LITTLE GULLS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, SEDGE WREN, RED CROSSBILL, seabird flights, final hawk totals, and Christmas Count announcements.
Three AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were found on the ground the morning of Dec. 1, along Ocean Drive; they were seen the rest of the day in the area and were still there today, Dec. 2. To find them, drive east on Ocean Drive from the end of the Parkway and look off in the salt marsh to the north for three very large, white birds.
Highlights have been many this week at the sea watch in Avalon. Small numbers of unidentified EIDERS were seen on Nov. 24, 25, 26. A PARASITIC JAEGER flew by Nov. 28, and an unidentified JAEGER was seen Nov. 29. The first BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE for the season was found Nov. 30. The Red-throated Loon and Com. Gannet flights have subsided somewhat but many are still to come; high nimbers this week were 978 Red-throats and 808 Gannets on Nov. 26 and 848 Gannets Nov. 27.
Other waterbird news includes the following: a flyby subadult male HARLEQUIN seen by two observers offshore from the town of Cape May Nov. 26; 2 imm. male COM. EIDERS also off Cape May that day; an ad. LITTLE GULL flying with a small flock of Bonaparte's Gulls off Cape May Point Nov. 27; an ad. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continuing on the beach north of the Concrete Ship.
A GREEN HERON continues to linger at Bunker Pond, being seen Nov. 30; also seen that day was an AM. BITTERN. One YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON and 100+ BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS were heard calling as they migrated over Cape May Point the night of 11/26. VIRGINIA RAILS are still being heard as they migrate over the meadows.
Finches have been scarce this week, but a new species was added to the list. At least one RED CROSSBILL was heard calling overhead at Turkey Point, in Cumberland County, at dawn on Dec. 1. Northern Orioles continue to linger all over Cape May Point. Birds were seen at Hidden Valley Nov. 27, and West Cape May Dec. 2. Two GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS were seen at Higbee on Nov. 30, at least one of them still there Dec. 1. A White-breasted Nuthatch was at Higbee Dec. 2, and a SEDGE WREN was heard at dusk at the Cape May Meadows Nov. 30.
The hawk count is over, but cold days of NW winds can still produce hawk flights. The Beanery is the best place to watch them. The final hawk watch tally was 30971. All time records were set for 3 species: BLACK VULTURE 76, TURKEY VULTURE 1540, and NORTHERN GOSHAWK 80. The 57 BALD EAGLES was the second-best total on record. Totals for Sharp-shinned Hawks and Kestrels reflected their recent low levels.
Cape May's owl banders had a great fall, banding 209 owls. They left Nov. 29 but owls can still be seen migrating, with a good vantage point being the South Cape May Meadows at dusk (after 5 PM). If you try, you may also see Am. Woodcock, Com. Snipe, and waterfowl flocks.
Christmas Count dates for this year: Oceanville (Brigantine), Dec. 18, contact Ed Bristow at (609) 641-4671. Belleplain, Dec. 19, contact Paul Kosten (609) 861-5827. Cape May, Dec. 26, contact Keith Seager, (609) 884-8778. Cumberland County, Jan. 1, contact Clay Sutton, (609) 465-3397; Marmora, Jan. 2, contact Ed Bristow as above.
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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 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.