Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/26/1996
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 19 include BELL'S VIREO, RED CROSSBILL, KING EIDER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, highlights from the Cape May CBC, local nature notes, news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips, local Christmas Bird Count dates and contacts.

The BELL'S VIREO was seen this week on December 23 at Hidden Valley Ranch. It was seen in the south end of the first field and was with eight PALM WARBLERS.

A RED CROSSBILL was perched on a wire in Cape May Point near the Gingerbread Church on December 22.

An immature male KING EIDER was seen on the Cape May CBC on December 22 at Reed's Beach off the jetty at the north end.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, and the 'OREGON' JUNCO were seen along Second Avenue in West Cape May on the Cape May CBC on the 22nd. Two CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were there on the 23rd.

A DICKCISSEL was seen on Cape May Point on December 23 at Pearl and Knox Streets. That one and two others were seen on the Christmas Count on the 22nd, with additional birds at Hidden Valley Ranch and Cape May Point.

Other Cape May CBC highlights included LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS at both Reed's Beach and Bunker Pond in the state park, three EURASIAN WIGEONS (two on Lily Lake and one on Lighthouse Pond), ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER on Cape May Point, COMMON EIDER near the jetty St. Mary's and three AMERICAN BITTERNS along Ocean Drive.

Two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS of the subspecies Gambelii were seen this week. An Adult at Hidden Valley Ranch and an immature at Higbee Beach.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was near mile marker 26.6 northbound near Marmora on December 23.

Local Nature Notes follow: Numbers of Oldsquaws can be enjoyed in the surf now along the Oceanfront. 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. 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 January 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 hot spots for the 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 less than a month, they being our earliest nesting bird - on eggs by January.

Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Saturday, December 28, 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 week long 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. "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 MORE!

Two more local Christmas Bird Counts will all be held on Sunday this year; dates and contacts follow: 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!

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