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. 18 include:
WHITE PELICAN, PIPING PLOVER, OSPREY, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, LAUGHING GULL, COMMON MOORHEN, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, WILLET, BLACK VULTURE,
local nature notes, information on pelagic trips, and news of upcoming programs and field trips. The CMBO field trips scheduled for this weekend, March 19-20, are go.
The March 13 storm was indeed a doozy, dropping 4+ inches of snow on the area, and hitting us with winds of up to 70 MPH. The ferry could not run during the high winds. Many of us have been wondering how the early spring migrants made it through this weather.
Cape May Point's ROCK WREN has NOT been reported since March 10. If you are looking for this bird, its favorite haunts from early Dec. through March 10 were the dunes near St. Peter's-by-the-sea Church, or out near the jetty by the dune crossover, or at the construction site across from nearby 405 Lincoln Ave. Please report any sightings to this office.
A WHITE PELICAN was seen March 15 flying North over the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May. The season's first PIPING PLOVER was seen the day of the storm, March 13, at North Cape May on the beach across from the Ferry terminal. Another showed up on March 16 at Higbee's Beach. Last week's hotline reported the first OSPREY on March 11; the second was seen the 12th over the South Cape May Meadows, none have been reported since.
Two BLUE-WINGED TEAL showed up March 10 at Bunker Pond in the Cape May Point State Park. An ad. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the beach at Higbee's Beach on March. 17. A probable BROAD-WINGED HAWK blew by the CMBO Headquarters on March 18. The first LAUGHING GULLS were reported on last week's hotline for March 9; they were seen regularly before the storm until March 13, but none since. The COM. MOORHENS have been seen regularly in the South Cape May Meadows since the storm, most recently on the 17th. And one AM. BITTERN and 1 or 2 VIRGINIA RAILS have been seen daily at the meadows normally along the East path.
The YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT survived the storm and was reported on March 16 at Higbee's Beach in the hedgerows near the Observation Tower. It prefers the hedgerow on the right. The Avalon WILLET also survived the storm and was seen on march 14 at the north end of Avalon at the Seventh St. jetty. A flock of 8 TUNDRA SWANS has settled down on New England Rd. across from the Hidden Valley parking lot.Several flocks of Tundra Swans passed over Cape May on March 15th heading north.
Lily Lake has been good for waterfowl. On March 15-16, 4 HOODED MERGANSERS, 1 RED-THROATED LOON, A BUFFLEHEAD, & 4 CANVASBACKS were found there. A flock of over 1000 SNOW GEESE was using the salt marsh behind Reed's Beach on March 17, and on Goshen Landing Rd., over 1000 GREEN-WINGED TEAL were in the pond on the north side of the road. Small numbers of WOOD DUCKS are showing up around the peninsula now.
March 12 the day before the storm, brought a small spring hawk flight in Cape May. Twenty RED-TAILS, 5 RED-SHOULDERS, 2 COOPER'S HAWKS, 1 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 12 TURKEY VULTURES, & 6 BLACK VULTURES were counted. Red-shoulders and Red-tails are courting now; on March 14, 4 Red-tails were displaying over the marshes in Goshen. RED-THROATED LOONS are gathering in the Bay, and hundreds may be seen now off the Second Ave. jetty in Cape May.
[local nature notes omitted]
CMBO will be offering Nature Photography workshops this spring and summer. Basics of Nature Photography will be held May 8, and a Bird Photography workshop with Art Morris is scheduled for June 5. Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, is scheduled for March 27-28. A Backyard Habitat workshop focusing on spring planting and including a plant sale will be held March 27. Poor-man's Pelagic trips will be run aboard the Cape May Ferry on March 20th. And a Birding by Ear workshop will be taught by Dick Walton, author of the Peterson Field Guide and tape of that name, on April 4. All these programs require pre-registration. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties and adjacent areas. Updates are made on Thursday evening, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thanks for calling; good birding.