Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/16/1995
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 March 16 include sightings of returning spring migrants, like PIPING PLOVER, OSPREY, & PHOEBE; LITTLE GULL; RED-NECKED GREBE; local nature notes and announcements.

With all the incredible sightings on March 11 on a fishing trip aboard Capt. Fred Ascoli's Miss Chris, out of Cape May, you might want to consider going along next weekend. On March 11, highlights included 25 PUFFINS, 2 RED PHALAROPES, a YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, and 2 ORCA WHALES. Call (609) 884-3939 for details and reservations.

Spring migration has begun at the cape. Last week on March 8 the first LAUGHING GULL appeared, and sightings have been almost daily since. March 10 brought the first PINE WARBLER and E. PHOEBE to the point; since then, Pine Warblers have been seen daily. BLUE-WINGED TEAL arrived on March 11 at Pond Creek Marsh. The first OSPREY was seen March 13 at Cape May city. The South Cape May Meadows beach produced the first PIPING PLOVER on March 14, and today, March 16, saw the return of SNOWY EGRET at Lily Lake.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was still present near Hereford Inlet off North Wildwood on March 15. A LITTLE GULL was seen at the Second Ave. jetty on March 12. EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 3 EURASIAN WIGEON are still present on the Coast Guard pond on Ocean Drive; there is also a EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL at Thompson's Beach on the Delaware Bayshore.

AM. WOODCOCK were thick at Higbee Beach on March 11 at about 6:30 pm; on March 13, several were heard at 11 PM in the light of the nearly-full moon.

Spring hawk flights at the Cape are triggered by the same northwest winds following a cold front, that trigger the fall flights. On March 13, 25 TURKEY VULTURES, 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS, a COOPER'S HAWK, and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK were seen over Cape May.

RED-THROATED LOON numbers are building in Delaware Bay; they stage here before migrating north. Several hundred were seen March 11 off Cape May Point.

An announcement: The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge is seeking volunteers to help post the refuge's properties. Call (609) 463-0994 to sign up.

Local nature notes: Many breeding birds are singing at dawn these days. Woodpeckers are drumming on territory. Butterflies are emerging from their winter dormancy. MOURNING CLOAK and EASTERN COMMA were seen March 12, and QUESTION MARKS were first seen March 13. Other butterflies which winter as caterpillars or chrysalis are emerging too; ORANGE SULPHUR, first seen March 11; CLOUDED WHITE, March 13; and SPRING AZURE, March 13 at Belleplain State Forest.

Fish are also migrating now. Fishermen have set their menhaden and shad nets in the bay. Birds such as Osprey take advantage of this migration, and so do Harbor Porpoises, seen March 11 and 13.

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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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