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. 4 include: ROCK WREN, EURASIAN WIGEON, LITTLE GULL, LEAST BITTERN, AMERICAN BITTERN, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, WILLET, BALD & GOLDEN EAGLES, BLACK VULTURE, spring waterfowl news, SNIPE, shorebird and heron news, local nature notes, info on pelagic trips, and news of upcoming programs and field trips.
Cape May Point's ROCK WREN continues to be seen, in spite of this week's icy cold temperatures. It was seen Feb. 4, Feb. 1, and Jan. 29, at the construction site across from 407 Lincoln Ave. It's not shy at all, and hops around right under the buildings and along the low concrete wall at the back of the house. We've all been wondering just what it's eating. On Jan. 29 watched it catch and gobble down a large (2 inch) grasshopper.
A male EURASIAN WIGEON was seen on Jan. 31 in the South Cape May Meadows. An adult LITTLE GULL was found Jan. 31 at the Concrete Ship. A LEAST BITTERN was in Lighthouse Pond in the State Park Jan. 31, and one was heard there on Feb. 3. And an AM. BITTERN was in Bunker Pond in the State Park on Feb. 1. A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT continues to be seen at the State Park on the "yellow trail," at the right-angle bend before the overgrown field. It was seen there as recently as Feb. 1. The WILLET that has wintered at the north end of Avalon for the past several years was observed Feb. 1 at 7th St. in Avalon eating mole crabs, as the icy waves washed over it.
Leed's Point north of Brigantine NWR was very "eagly" on Feb. 2. In the gale winds 4 GOLDEN EAGLES, including 2 adults and 2 immatures, and one imm. BALD EAGLE, were seen. Eleven BALD EAGLES gathered over the Maurice River on Feb. 3, including 5 adults, 3 first-year birds, and 3 2-3d year birds. Two adult BALD EAGLES were perched on the west side of Lake Lenape on Jan. 31, directly across from the fake lighthouse.
The water tower at Woodbine is regularly used as a Turkey Vulture roost. On Jan. 31, 8 BLACK VULTURES were there with the Turkey Vultures. Four BLACK VULTURES toured over Cape May on Feb. 4. Spring waterfowl migration is well under way. Numbers continue to grow on the Maurice River; on Feb. 3, 2700 Pintails, 3300 Mallards, and 3000 Black Ducks were counted. Corbin City Wildlife Management Area held 50 Pintails on Jan. 31. The arctic conditions early in the week pushed Snow Geese out, and numbers were seen migrating south over Cape May on Feb. 2. Twelve SNIPE were seen at Heislerville WMA on Feb. 3, along with 1000 Dunlin, 15 Canvasbacks, and 1 Tundra Swan. The Snipe are new arrivals, not seen there last week.
Nummy's Island and Stone Harbor Blvd. on Feb. 1 held 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, 1 LEAST SANDPIPER, 3 WESTERN SANDPIPER, 20 RED KNOT, both Yellowlegs, 3 Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Heron, and Snowy and Great Egret. One hundred Cedar Waxwings were in the trees around the field on Jake's Landing Rd. on Jan. 30.
Local nature notes follow. Red-tailed Hawks and Bald Eagles are busy courting now, and may be found in pairs, either circling together in the sky or perched side by side. Great Horned Owls are probably on eggs now, so when you hear them hooting to one another at dusk, the nest is probably somewhere in the vicinity. A seal was seen Feb. 4, bobbing in the waters around the Concrete Ship; it had been seen one month earlier basking on the ship on a mild day.
[Program announcements omitted. -LL]
Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office at 609-884-2736 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.