Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 2/27/1997
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 February 27 include sightings of LITTLE GULL, SNOWY OWL, SHORT-EARED OWL, PIPING PLOVER an announcement about CMBO's ANNUAL SPRING OPTICS SALE, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's other upcoming programs and field trips.

LITTLE GULLS are still being seen this week. Four adults were at the outfall of Fishing Creek on February 23 and one was seen at Cape May Point on the 25th.

CMBO received a report of the Forsythe NWR SNOWY OWL on February 21st. The Voice of NJAS also has a report from the 24th. Please give CMBO a call at either 609-884-2736 or 609-861-0700 if you are still enjoying this marvelous bird. It is apparently still being seen within the impoundments from the east dike, a bit north of the southeast corner of the east pool. Check the Refuge sighting sheets before driving around the dike to see where it's most recently been seen and give yourself plenty of time looking for it since it can stay quite hidden in a nook out of the wind.

A SHORT-EARED OWL was seen hunting the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, also known as The Meadows, on February 21 and 27, each night seen 6:10 or later.

A very early PIPING PLOVER returned this week on February 25. It was also seen on the 27th on the beach at the boundary between the State Park and the Meadows. This is the earliest return date ever by three days.

Lily Lake still has large numbers of waterfowl with at least a dozen REDHEADS still present there on the 22nd.

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW continues to be present near 3rd and West Avenues in West Cape May, along with a flock of about 25 CHIPPING SPARROWS.

Some other highlights include: four returning TREE SWALLOWS over Villas on February 22 and a record early PURPLE MARTIN at the State Park on the same date. A BALTIMORE ORIOLE was in Seaville on the 21st.

Hawks have already begun to migrate, including a small hawk flight on February 24.

CMBO's "Oldsquaws In Love" field trip on February 22 enjoyed close looks at Oldsquaw and COMMON LOONS at the Avalon Seawatch, and at Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest excellent looks at 1 RED-NECKED GREBE, 35 HORNED GREBES, 100 RUDDY DUCKS, 50 GREATER SCAUP, a few LESSER SCAUP, 25 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, a few COMMON LOONS, and a BUNCH OF BUFFLEHEAD.

Mark your calendars! CMBO's Annual Spring Optics Sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 22 & 23 at the Cape May Bird Observatory's Northwood Center in Cape May Point. This clearance sale will include stuff the optics companies have passed our way along with the plea "so what do you think of these babies?" -- plus all the stuff the Director found when he cleaned out his desk and moved to the new center. Some highlighted optics that will be for sale include the following: 1 new Leica 10x42 roof for $999 (regular member's price is $1,145) 2 Leica 10x42 demos (with warranty) for $880 each 1 Leica 8x42 demo (with warranty) for $845 (retail market value is $1,050) 10 Nikon Field Scopes ED 78mm for $750 each (retail market value is $1,100) 30 Nikon Spotting Scopes with 15-45 zoom x 60mm for $275 each (retail market value is $447) 100 Nikon 8x21 Sprint binoculars for $45 each (retail market value is $95) 1 NEW Bausch & Lomb Elite 7x36 for $775 1 used Bausch & Lomb Elite 78mm spotting scope with 20x wide angle eyepiece for $400 (with an extra zoom eyepiece for $100) 2 Velbon Tripods for $40 each Nikon 10x50 Kestrel (field test model) for $100 ($290 is the list price) Nikon 7x35 Lemur (field test model) for $75 ($237 is the list price) AND ABOUT A HUNDRED OR SO MORE! The rules for this ANNUAL SPRING OPTICS SALE follow: No phone orders! -- No down payments or holds! -- FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. March 22 & 23, doors open each morning at 9:00 a.m. and will remain open until 5:00 p.m. See you there!

Local Nature Notes follow: February 27th the temperatures were 60 degrees at 6 a.m. and a warm wind was blowing from the south. This spring condition triggered Spring Peppers to begin calling and 6 or so American Woodcock were "peenting" and performing their aerial display between 6 and 6:15 a.m. Numbers of Clapper Rails have been heard at Jakes Landing at dusk during the "Hawk & Owl Watches," along with huge flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds settling down to roost in the marsh. Warm temperatures have triggered quite a number of butterfly sightings, incredible for FEBRUARY! 1997's first butterfly was seen in the dunes in Avalon on February 1st, probably a Question Mark. Quite a few Question Marks were seen February 19th in Cumberland County at Bayside and 3 in the Villas on February 21. The first and only Mourning Cloak so far in 1997 was seen February 20th at Cape May National Golf Course. Crocuses are in bloom. Daffodils are already budding and Day Lilies are poking through the ground. Red-winged Blackbirds are giving their "konk-er-eee" spring song, Mourning Doves are cooing, Cardinals are singing their spring song too: "cheer cheer cheer," and Pigeons are already building nests in the Bunker! Great Horned Owls are vocal once more and should have newly hatched young now, having laid their eggs in late January.

Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Winter programs include weekly "Owl & Hawk Watches at Jakes Landing" every Friday, now through March 14th at 4:00 p.m.; weekly "Winter Bird Walks" every Sunday, now through March, meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. The "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" will be next March 29-30. Other upcoming programs include a "Woodcock Dance" outing on March 8, a "Poor Man's Pelagic" trip on March 29 and on April 5th a "Shower f or the Birth of our new Model Backyard Habitat" here at the New Center in Goshen and a "Binoculars & Spotting Scopes For Birders" workshop at Cape May Point with CMBO's bookstore manager, Louise Zemaitis. CMBO's spring program schedule will be reaching members shortly. Any interested nonmembers should give us a call to receive it. Call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more about the winter or spring programs and to register.

CMBO sponsored "Maurice River Bald Eagle Cruises" will be offered every Saturday and Sunday, March through early April (weather dependent), twice daily (a morning trip from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and an afternoon trip from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.) The boat leaves from a dock in Millville. To register for these CMBO sponsored trips and learn further details, call 609-884-3100. Be sure to say you learned of the trips through CMBO or NJ Audubon, since then a portion of the proceeds will benefit CMBO.

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 new Center for Research & Education at 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 birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point, open every day except Tues. & Wednesday, 9-5. Our new Research and Education Center will not be open fulltime for visitors until April, but many of the indoor winter programs will be held there.

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 or on Tuesday and Wednesday to 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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