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You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of
the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory.
Highlights for the week ending Feb. 29, 1996 include
sightings of NORTHERN SHRIKE, LARK SPARROW, ICELAND GULL,
GLAUCOUS GULL, Spring arrivals and announcements.
An adult NORTHERN SHRIKE continues to be seen at the
Beanery; it was seen as recently as Feb. 28. An immature
NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen at Sun-ray Beach, along the
Bayshore, also on Feb. 28.
A LARK SPARROW, along with 2 DICKCISSELS, continues to
frequent a feeder in West Cape May in the 400 block of
The fish docks along Ocean Drive west of the toll bridge
were a hot spot for gulls this week; two GLAUCOUS GULLS,
two ICELAND GULLS, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, as well
as the season's first LAUGHING GULL, were seen there.
Another LAUGHING GULL was seen at the outfall of Fishing
Creek, just north of the Villas, on Feb. 28-- also present
there was the first returning FORSTER'S TERN.
A very early PURPLE MARTIN was seen over Fishing Creek
Marsh on Feb. 28, along with 4 TREE SWALLOWS.
Eight BLACK VULTURES were seen soaring over Cape May Point
on Feb. 27. RED-THROATED LOONS began staging in Delaware
Bay before migrating north; 95 were counted on the morning
of Feb. 26, just off the Cape May Point State Park. During
a trip across the bay by ferry on Feb. 26, 6000 BLACK
SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS were seen.
SHORT-EARED OWLS are still present in decreasing numbers.
Three were at Jakes Landing on Feb. 23, and one on Feb. 25.
Several more road-killed SAWWHET OWLS were found this week,
bringing the total to 86; there must be hundreds wintering
in NJ this year. Two interesting band recoveries were noted
this week. Feb. 24-25 during CMBO owling field trips, a
number of sizeable owl pellets were found, though no owls
were in evidence. One pellet contained a tiny songbird
band, and the other contained the recognizable foot and leg
of a hawk, miraculously still wearing a band. Both have
been reported and we'll let you know.
Local nature notes: Warm temperatures beginning Feb. 21
triggered much Spring-like activity. Feb. 24 Wood Frogs
were calling, a few Spring Peepers were heard Feb. 25, and
3 different Mourning CLoak butterflies were seen that day,
at East Point, Bear Swamp (Cumberland), and in the Cape May
Point State Park. The most exciting find this week, though,
was a Compton's Tortoise-shell butterfly at Fishing Creek
Feb. 28. Like Mourning Cloak, this species over-winters as
adults. This is only the second record for Cape May County,
and a most unusual date. American Woodcocks have begun to
call and display. Red-winged blackbirds are singing
regularly, and Fish Crows have arrived. A Belted Kingfisher
arrived and is hunting Lily Lake. Red-tailed Hawks and Bald
Eagles have paired up and can be found sitting side-by-side
together near their nests.
[program information deleted--LL]
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 a send a request for
info 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 9-5 every day but Monday.
The Cape May birding hotline [(609) 884-2626] 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. [Compiled by CMBO staff; transcribed by L.
Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org).] Please report
sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609)
884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.