Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 2/3/1995
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. 2 include: FRANKLIN'S GULL, SNOWY OWL, continuing RED-NECKED GREBE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, EURASIAN WIGEON, EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL, MARBLED GODWIT, and SPOTTED TOWHEE, and local nature notes.

Announcement update Feb. 3: The Feb. 4 owl field trip has been cancelled due to weather and potentially hazardous driving. Call CMBO to reschedule or receive a refund.

A first-winter FRANKLIN'S GULL continues to be seen at the McDonald's parking lot at the end of the Expressway in Atlantic City. There is also a LAUGHING GULL at the same location.

A SNOWY OWL was seen at the South Cape May Meadows beach on Jan. 28; it was present until sunset but as is typical in Cape May it was gone the following day.

The Coast Guard ponds along Ocean Drive continue to have COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL, EURASIAN WIGEON, & EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL; there are 3 Eurasian Wigeon, two males and a female. The Black-headed Gull has become much less regular but was seen today, Feb. 2.

One or two MARBLED GODWITS are still present on the mud flats near Nummy Island toll bridge. The area also holds a WILLET and a WHIMBREL. A RED-NECKED GREBE is also being seen in the vicinity.

The "SPOTTED TOWHEE" continues on Sea Grove Ave., near the intersection with Lighthouse, in Cape May Point. Other highlights this week included a female REDHEAD at Lily Lake as recently as today, Feb. 2; and a flock of about 30 TREE SWALLOWS at the Meadows on a regular basis. AMERICAN BITTERN was in the Meadows Jan. 29, and a RAZORBILL flew by offshore there on Jan. 31.

A belated report came in of a SNOWY OWL found on Jan. 26 on the beach at Avalon, at 38th st. This belated report was especially interesting with the discovery of the Snowy at the Meadows. Other owl news this week inlcudes the sighting of a Long-eared Owl in Goshen near Goshen Landing. It continues to be a great winter for SHORT-EARED OWL. Good spots to watch them hunting at dusk include: Jakes Landing in Cape May County; Hansey Creek, Turkey Point, and Fortescue in Cumberland Co.; Leeds Point Rd., Brigantine NWR, and Corbin City WMA in Atlantic Co. CMBO's Owl field trip on Jan. 28 encountered 5 Short-ears at Jakes Landing as well as several Rough-legged Hawks.

The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon finally is complete; totals will be reported on an upcoming hotline.

Local nature notes follow.

Each late-winter and early-spring loons gather in the Delaware Bay before migrating north. This staging often brings hundreds of loons within an easy view from Cape May, especially at the Second Ave. jetty. The first big group was seen Feb. 1 this year, when 12 Red-throated Loos were seen off the point.

The back bay waters gehind the barrier islands of Stone Harbor and Avalon are again full of winter waterfowl, including Brant, Buffleheads and Common Loons. Numbers of Oldsquaw can now be found on the oceanfront and in Cape May Harbor; try viewing from the Lobster House Restaurant parking lot. Good numbers of American Oystercatchers are wintering in Hereford Inlet and can be seen from Nummy's Island.

The spring-like weather has triggered a spring-like reaction in birds. Red-winged Blackbirds were singing on Feb. 1. Red-tailed Hawks were copulating along the Maurice R. on Jan. 26. A female Redhead and a male Ring-necked Duck have taken a fancy to each other, and are being seen on Lily Lake near CMBO. Red-shouldered Hawks are paired up and on territory, and calling to each other. Great Horned Owls are on their nests; a pair can be heard from Seagrove Ave. as well as from the Lighthouse Pond in the State park. The call being heard sounds like a female giving a food-begging call.

A mini-pelagic trip has been scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 8 AM to noon. For more information, contact Dave Githens (609) 884-3712 for more details.

Our next Member's Night is scheduled for Wed., Feb. 15 and will feature Paul Lehman, editor of the ABA's publication, _Birding_. Paul will give a slide program on "Migrant and Vagrant Traps in North America."

Fine print: 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 [(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 (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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