Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/17/1994
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 Mar. 17, 1994 include: RED-NECKED GREBE; spring arrivals like LAUGHING GULL, OSPREY, PIPING PLOVER, GREAT EGRET and EASTERN PHOEBE; COMMON REDPOLL, GLAUCOUS GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, BALD EAGLE, SHORT-EARED OWL, LEAST BITTERN, waterfowl news, and other announcements. The late winter invasion of over 100 RED-NECKED GREBES in mid-February has resulted in their continued presence in good numbers in the area. They seem to prefer protected waters and have been seen during the past week in the Cape May harbor, Lily Lake, Cape May Point State park ponds, Davy's Lake at Higbee Beach, back bay areas in Avalon and Stone Harbor (especially the lagoons at 96th Street, 91st and 81st Street). Red-necked Grebes were also found this week in Dennisville Lake; at the Corbin City Wildlife Management Area impoundments on the Tuckahoe River; and on up into Cumberland County, at Cedar Lake in Cedarville, Turkey Point, and even as far north as the Raritan Bay area. A lot of spring firsts arrived this week. The first LAUGHING GULL was seen by Jim Dowdell at the Second Avenue jetty in Cape May on March 11. Other reports have flooded in since then. March 12, OSPREY reports came in from all over, including one seen from the ferry as it crossed the Delaware. The first PIPING PLOVER was seen by Pete Dunne at the South Cape May Meadows on March 14. The first FORSTER'S TERN was seen March 13 in The Villas. A GREAT EGRET was seen March 14 on Stone Harbor Blvd. And an EASTERN PHOEBE was at the Beanery March 11 and 12. A scattering of TREE SWALLOWS was reported. Thirty-two COMMON REDPOLLS were seen March 11 in the cornfield along Bayshore Road where they've been seen most of the winter, along with 3 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS. Tree Sparrows were also reported at the Beanery. A GLAUCOUS GULL in first winter plumage was discovered on the roof of LUND'S BAIT and TACKLE on Ocean Drive just north of Cape May on March 12. In the same area, an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen the same day. The Maurice River, a hotspot for wintering BALD EAGLES, still hosted 9 immatures on March 12. An adult and a second-year Bald Eagle were seen on the Cohansey River on March 15. The waterfowl at Corbin City WMA attracted an adult Bald Eagle on March 12. SHORT-EARED OWLS may still be found at Jake's Landing, where two were seen March 12 at dusk. A Short-eared Owl was also seen March 12 in the marsh near the Somers Point - Margate bridge. The South Cape May meadows had a LEAST BITTERN on March 12. 10,000-plus SNOW GEESE are feeding in the marshes near Reed's Beach and Goshen Landing. Waterfowl numbers are building, and can be enjoyed at places like the Maurice River, the Heislerville WMA, Goshen Landing, especially the north side lakes, and Corbin City WMA, where on March 12 100 HOODED MERGANSERS, a few COMMON MERGANSERS, 50 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 100 or more AMERICAN WIGEON, and 50 TUNDRA SWANS were found. LOON and GANNET numbers are on the increase as they begin northward migration; the Cape May ferry can give excellent looks at them. AMERICAN WOODCOCK are busy courting at dusk each evening; over 20 were seen at Higbee Beach on a recent CMBO field trip. Cape May's Miss Chris fishing boat is now making Saturday fishing trips, 12 hours long, 5 AM - 5 PM, focusing on fishing for cod, pollock and ling, but birders are welcome. Call (609) 884-3939 to register or to get more information. Local nature notes (summary): Spring peepers, chorus frogs being heard; Great Horned Owls are hooting briefly now that eggs have hatched; Crocuses are blooming. [Program notes omitted -LL] 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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