Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/4/1997
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 4 include sightings of MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, WESTERN TANAGER, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, KING EIDER, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, dates for three local Christmas Bird Counts and news of a Pelagic Christmas Bird Count.

Quick note: Alan Brady is trying to get enough people to run a PELAGIC CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT on Friday, December 19th, out of Brielle, NJ, on the boat "The Atlantis." The trip will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the cost would be $50. If interested, call Alan Brady at 215-598-7856.

The MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER, found on November 12, continues to reside at the Beanery. It was reported on December 4.

Two WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were located on December 3. One was a fly-over at Higbee Beach , while the other was in the dunes at the Cape May Point State Park on the same day. RED CROSSBILLS are also being recorded, mostly as fly-overs. A few REDPOLLS have been seen also.

A WESTERN TANAGER made a brief visit to the woods at the Cape May Bird Observatory on Cape May Point on November 29.

An ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was present early in the week at Hidden Valley Ranch, but has not been reported since November 29.

An immature male KING EIDER has been seen this week near the Bunker in the State Park, most recently on December 4.

Other interesting sightings this week include 3 BLACK SKIMMERS still present on a beach at Cape May on November 28, SEDGE WREN at Turkey Point (Cumberland County) on the 30th, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at the State Park on November 29 & December 3, CATTLE EGRET north of the Beanery on December 4, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the beach at the South Cape May Meadows on the 4th, and a PRAIRIE WARBLER at Cape May National Golf Course on the 4th.

The Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch ended November 30th with a total of 84,737 raptors. Record highs for the count's 21 year history included BLACK VULTURE (369), NORTHERN GOSHAWK (89), and PEREGRINE FALCON (1,791). The final week of the count enjoyed 2 late OSPREY on November 27th, lots of GOSHAWKS (including 12 on the 27th and 4 on the 29th), along with 24 RED-SHOULDERS and 109 RED-TAILS, and the season's last 2 PEREGRINES. 13 of the season's 18 GOLDEN EAGLES were seen in November, 77 of the season's 89 GOSHAWKS, and 37 of the season's 226 BALD EAGLES. Jerry Liguori did a terrific job!

CMBO's fulltime Seawatch at the north end of Avalon, 7th Street and the beach, is still underway. Highlights this week include 4,680 RED-THROATED LOONS on the 29th, RED-NECKED GREBES on the 29th & 30th, KITTIWAKE on the 30th, 2nd winter LITTLE GULL on the 26th, 5 PARASITIC JAEGERS for the week, eiders on December 1 & 2, and the first numbers of OLDSQUAWS this week with 750 on December 3. In addition to migrants, the jetties in front of the Seawatch have attracted large rafts of scoters and oldsquaws, often close. Many of these birds have been seen surfacing with small clams. This fall the seawatch is manned by Bill Seng, Fred Mears, Dave Ward, and on occasion Clay Sutton, and on weekends Gail Dwyer. As of November 25th the Seawatch had tallied in 685,270 seabirds.

Local Nature Notes follow: A few butterflies linger on. On December 3rd Orange Sulphur, Question Mark, Red Admiral were all seen. And on November 29th the season's last MONARCH, COMMON BUCKEYE, and GREEN DARNER dragonfly to date. Virginia Creeper berries and hackberries have been pulling in flocks of robins this week. Persimmon fruits are attracting hungry birds too. Dusk is about 4:45 p.m. these days and a perfect time to scan good edges for Great Horned Owls coming out to begin their day. Jakes Landing is a great place to scan, especially the dead trees near the marsh edge.

The Cape May Bird Observatory hosts Saturday morning bird walks through December. Special preregistration programs coming up include a "Feed the Birds Workshop" on December 6 and a "Family Program on the Birds of the Backyard" on December 13. CMBO's winter program schedule has been sent to members and should be arriving within the next week or two. If you are not a member and would like a copy, stop by either center or call us at 609-861-0700.

Details on upcoming local Christmas Bird Counts follow: The Cape May Count will be held December 21 (contact Vince Elia at 861-0700, x-14; or Louise Zemaitis at 884-2736); the Belleplain Count will be held on December 28 (contact Paul Kosten prior to December 21 at 861-5827; the Cumberland Count will be held January 4 (contact Clay Sutton at 465-3397).

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North. The center features gardens and a meadow for wildlife, feeding stations, nature store, and a wildlife art gallery in "The Loft"on our second floor, featuring the work of some of the Bayshore's finest artists, photographer, and carvers. CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding book store and birding information. Both are open, 10-5. Call to learn of holiday closures.

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 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores.

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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