Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 12/5/1996
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 5 include BELL'S VIREO, DOVEKIE, LITTLE GULL, news of CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch and our Avalon Seawatch, local nature notes, an announcement about an upcoming Pelagic Trip, news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips, local Christmas Bird Count dates and contacts.

A BELL'S VIREO was seen at Hidden Valley Ranch on the morning of December 4th and seen again later that afternoon. Although searched for on December 5th it was not refound.

A DOVEKIE was seen sitting in the inlet at the Avalon Seawatch on December 1st.

An adult LITTLE GULL was seen off of Cape May Point on November 29th.

The EURASIAN WIGEON is still being seen, most recently on December 2nd on Lily Lake. A REDHEAD has also been present on Lily Lake.

Other highlights this week include a late PECTORAL SANDPIPER flying by the Hawkwatch on November 29th, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in West Cape May on November 29th, a very late BOBOLINK on December 1st at Higbee's Beach, a flock of 50 SNOW BUNTINGS over the dunes at the Meadows on December 2nd, and 13 FOX SPARROWS at the Beanery on December 3rd.

CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch wrapped up November 30th with a grand tally of 71,026 raptors this fall. Congratulations Jerry Liguori for a job well done! Highlights were many, like record numbers of Turkey Vultures (6,425), Osprey (6,734), Bald Eagles (284), Red-tailed Hawks (5,135), Golden Eagles (38), and Peregrines (1,503)! There were also 4 Swainson's Hawks, a day with 24 Bald Eagles (September 20th), a day with 8 Golden Eagles (November 3rd), and a day with 206 Peregrines (October 1st). The last week of the Hawkwatch tallied in 6 Goshawks and 3 Bald Eagles among other things.

The Avalon Seawatch, being conducted at 7th Street and the Beach at the North en d of Avalon, is still in full swing. November's total alone was 461,155 Seabirds and the grand total to date as of November 30th was 981,404 Seabirds -- we're definitely going to reach over one m illion birds again in 1996! Recent highlights in addition to the Dovekie included Red-necked Grebes on November 28th and 30th, Glaucous Gull on the 28th, 3 Great Cormorants on November 30th, Common Eider on November 28th and December 2, unid. Jaeger on December 1, and good looks still at lots of Red-throated Loons, Horned Grebes, N. Gannets, Oldsquaw, Scoter, and Red-breasted Mergansers.

CMBO's Waterfowl Cruise on November 30th enjoyed good looks at Oldsquaw, both loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Brant, and found terrific numbers of American Oystercatchers on the marsh edges in the back bays, including over 200 Oystercatchers and 4 Great Cormorants perched on Champagne Island in Hereford Inlet.

A SHORT-EARED OWL was seen from Jakes Landing Road on December 3 hunting the marshes way out near the Delaware Bay, along with a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. On November 29th, a Short-eared Owl was discovered at 4 p.m. hunting The Nature Conservancy's refuge on Sunset Boulevard. The dune crossovers in "The Meadows" is also a good place to search for Snow Buntings; 50 were seen there on December 2nd.

A winter Pelagic Birding Trip out of Brielle, NJ, will be offered Saturday, December 7th, leaving at 5 a.m. and returning that evening at 8 p.m. For more information and to register, call Focus on Nature Tours at 302-529-1876.

Two half-day Mini Pelagic trips are scheduled out of Cape May aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher on December 8th and December 14th. Trips leave at 8 a.m., cost is $35. Call 1-800-786- 5445 for more details and to register.

Local Nature Notes follow: The last Monarch migrated by the Avalon Seawatch on November 24th! Butterfliers will have to patiently wait until spring now -- or head south to Florida or the tropics! Fox Sparrows are in. American Holly trees are heavy with berries. Sumac fruit clusters stand out now as most of the leaves have fallen. 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. Most of the leaves have been blown from the trees and it's a good time to search for large stick nests that Great Horned Owls might use for their nests in a little over one month, they being our earliest nesting bird - one eggs by January.

Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: On Wednesday, December 11th, at 7:30 p .m. Paul Kerlinger will present a program on the same topic as his latest book, "How Birds Migrate." This is one of our Members' Nights, ALL ARE WELCOME! Every Saturday (through December) 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 weekong 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. Six "Owl Workshops" are scheduled: January 18, 25, Fe bruary 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!

The three local Christmas Bird Counts will all be held on Sunday this year; dates and contacts follow: Cape May CBC on December 22, call Vince Elia or Louise Zemaitis at 609-884-2736; 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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