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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/23/1995
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 23 include sightings of RUFFED GROUSE, SPOTTED TOWHEE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, and EURASIAN WIGEON, returning spring migrants, local nature notes and announcements.

A RUFFED GROUSE which has been reported on and off all winter on the Red Trail in the Cape May Point State Park, was seen again this past week. As odd as that sighting is, an even more out-of-place RUFFED GROUSE was seen in the dunes at Cape May Point near the Gingerbread Church.

Both the BLACK-HEADED GULL and the EURASIAN WIGEON continue to be seen, as they have all winter, in the Coast Guard Ponds along Ocean Drive. Likewise, the SPOTTED TOWHEE continues on Seagrove Ave. just off Lighthouse Ave.

Migrants are on the move and spring is unfolding rapidly. There are now thousands of LAUGHING GULLS being seen. Reports have come in of six PIPING PLOVERS at the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Meadows, and four were at Wildwood Crest at the Coast Guard beach. EASTERN PHOEBE sightings are almost daily now after the first on March 10. The first GLOSSY IBIS appeared on March 18, and by the 22d 13 were seen migrating over the state park.

There are still only scattered sightings of GREAT EGRET and SNOWY EGRET, but any day hundreds will be in evidence. OSPREY are migrating in; six passed over Cape May Point on March 22, and some are already occupying nest sites. The season's first CHIMNEY SWIFT was seen on March 23 at Bunker Pond. Also other migrants are passing through, such as YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and BROWN CREEPER. Dozens of PINE WARBLERS are now heard in the Pine Barrens and at Jakes Landing.

Anyone interested in pelagic birding might consider going on one of the Saturday offshore wreck fishing trips aboard the Miss Chris out of Cape May; birders are welcome. Call Capt. Ascoli, (609) 884-3939 for information and reservations. 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: Chorus Frogs, Wood Frogs, and Spring Peepers are all being heard. 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. The sand road through Belleplain State Forest are especially good for Azures.

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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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