Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 2/3/1994
You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Feb. 3, 1994 include ICELAND GULLS and COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULLS, COMMON REDPOLL, GREAT CORMORANT, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, PEREGRINE, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, GOLDEN EAGLE, BALD EAGLE, SHORT-EARED OWL, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, FOX SPARROW, TREE SPARROW, and news and announcements.

Two ICELAND GULLS and an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL were seen Jan. 29. An adult ICELAND GULL was seen at the shell-pile, the local birders' name for the pile of shells behind Axelsson and Johnson's fish market on Ocean Drive north of Cape May. The shell-pile can be reached from the private clamshell road just west of the fish market. A first winter ICELAND GULL was on the beach west of the Second Ave. jetty, and later in the day seen at South Cape May Meadows' beach front. And the adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was with 70 Bonaparte's Gulls at the south end of Reed's Beach.

COMMON REDPOLL sightings continue. A flock of 50 was seen Jan. 30 in a field on Bayshore Road just south of New England Road. Five GREAT CORMORANT were seen at the Coast Guard station jetty near Poverty Beach on Jan. 31. An imm. male N. GOSHAWK and a PEREGRINE were at the Cape May Point State Park on Jan. 31. Two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were perched side by side at the Beanery, also on Jan. 31. ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK reports came in from Jake's Landing and from Mott's Creek this week. One was at Jake's Landing on Jan. 29; and at least 6 different ROUGH-LEGS were seen this week at Mott's Creek, which is just north of Brigantine NWR. Also seen there this week were four GOLDEN EAGLES, two adults and two immatures; 8 BALD EAGLES, 3 adults and 5 immatures; one MERLIN, and lots of NORTHERN HARRIERS and RED-TAILS.

CMBO's Owl Outing on Jan. 29 enjoyed 2 very active SHORT-EARED OWLS at dusk; after a very windy week with difficult hunting conditions, the 29th was one of the first fairly still evenings. The Owls were hunting from mid-afternoon until dusk. An added treat was a GREAT-HORNED OWL that came out at dusk, and at least 3 calling Great-Horned Owls in the woods.

A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was at the Beanery on Jan. 31. CMBO's feeding stations held up to eleven FOX SPARROWS on Jan. 29. Two TREE SPARROWS were in Cape May Point at the south end of Lincoln Avenue on Feb. 2.

One party's walk down Holgate beach on Jan. 31 did not produce SNOWY OWL, although at least one is still being seen there; but 25+ SNOW BUNTINGS were seen. Fifteen CLAPPER RAILS were heard calling at dusk at Jake's Landing Rd. on Jan. 29. The warming trend that day brought thousands of Snow Geese back across the bay; each frozen period pushes them south across the bay, and they return when it thaws - sometimes several times during the winter. Twenty-five PURPLE SANDPIPERS were on the Concrete Ship on Jan. 29; and the Eighth Street jetty at the north end of Avalon was covered with several hundred Sanderling and Dunlin and about a dozen Black-bellied Plover on Jan. 30.

Pelagic trip announcements: the Miss Chris fishing boat, Capt. Fred Ascoli, will offer a birding pelagic trip on Monday Feb. 21 (President's Day), going 15 to 40 miles offshore; leaving at 5 AM, out 12 hours, costs $50/person. Call (609) 884-3939 to register or for more information. Sure to fill quickly, a pelagic trip is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend by Armas Hill's Focus on Nature tours. The boat leaves from Barnegat Light at 8:30 PM May 27, goes out to Hudson Canyon and returns at about 6 PM the following day. Cost is $89. Call (302)5291876 for details or registration. In addition, the Miss Chris runs Saturday fishing trips starting Feb. 19, twelve hours long, leaving at 5 AM, and fishing for cod, pollock and ling. Birders are welcome but the focus is fishing and you still have to pay. Call Fred Ascoli as above for information.

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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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point. The Cape May birding hotline 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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