Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/13/1997
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 March 13 include sightings of CALIFORNIA GULL, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, LITTLE GULL, SNOWY OWL, an announcement about CMBO's ANNUAL SPRING OPTICS SALE, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's other upcoming programs and field trips.

An adult CALIFORNIA GULL was reported from Florence, N.J. on the Delaware River across from the Tullytown , PA landfill on March 12.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER is still being seen in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM). It was seen this week on March 9 and 10.

LITTLE GULL numbers have diminished with only one report this week of an adult seen off SCMM on March 9.

The SNOWY OWL continues at Forsythe NWR It was seen March 13. It is still being seen within the impoundment from the east dike. Keep us posted of your sightings.

A few OSPREY have been reported, the first seen near Nummy Island on March 6. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL is still being seen at Reed's Beach. A CLIFF SWALLOW was at the Cape May Point State Park on March 12. And up to eight REDHEADS continue on Lily Lake.

Waterfowl numbers on the Maurice River are intense now with 1,700 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and1,200 N. PINTAIL counted on March 12th, along with 7 BALD EAGLES. RED-THROATED LOONS are gathering in numbers as they stage in the Delaware Bay before migrating north and good numbers of NORTHERN GANNETS are visible from Cape May Point beaches. Minor spring hawk flights have been witnessed recently. RED-TAILED HAWKS, AMERICAN KESTRELS, and TURKEY VULTURES were seen migrating over the Maurice River on March 12.

Despite CMBO's ill luck on March 8th with Woodcock performing at Higbee Beach, they have been heard elsewhere "peenting" and sky dancing over weedy fields and power lines throughout Cape May County. They begin just at dusk, which on March 12th was about 6:25 p.m. and will be a few minutes later each night.

Eric Stiles of the NJ Endangered & Nongame Species Program shares that 12 pairs of Bald Eagles are actively nesting in New Jersey this spring so far. A pair on the Wading River laid eggs in late January and those eggs hatched March 7th. And the Stow Creek pair just laid their eggs March 10th. One of the adults from the East Creek pair in Belleplain State Forest has been seen at dawn recently perched on the back side of the lake.

Local Nature Notes follow: March 11th marked the emergence of Spring Azures and Cabbage Whites and the flight of overwintering Question Marks and Morning Cloaks. The sandy roads through Belleplain State Forest were very butterfly-y that warm, sunny day. The 6 Spring Azures seen there were all "marginata form." Temperatures since then almost each evening have dropped to about 30 degrees, so it will be educational to see how these newly emerged butterflies do. A din of Wood Frogs giving their "quack-like" call were heard at Jakes Landing on March 7. A din of Spring Peepers peeping can also be heard now. Numbers of Clapper Rails are calling at dusk at places like Jakes Landing. Daffodils are blooming. Red-winged Blackbirds are giving their "konk-er-eee" spring song, Mourning Doves are cooing, Robins and Cardinals are singing.

Great Horned Owls are vocal once more, being heard briefly just at dusk. They should have young now, having laid their eggs in late January.

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.

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!

Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Winter programs include one final "Owl & Hawk Watch at Jakes Landing" on Friday, March 14th at 4:00 p.m.; weekly "Winter Bird Walks" every Sunday, through March 30, 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 "Poor Man's Pelagic" trip on March 29 and on April 5th a "Shower for 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. Beginning in April CMBO will be offering 7 different bird and/or butterfly walks each week. Pick up a copy of CMBO's spring program schedule for details or call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more about our programs.

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 701 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 full time 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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