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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/24/1994
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. 24, 1994 include: RED-NECKED GREBE, EARED GREBE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, NORTHERN GANNET, LOONS, EURASIAN WIGEON, LITTLE GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, DICKCISSEL, COMMON REDPOLL, hawk flights, LONG-EARED OWL, SHORT-EARED OWL, spring arrivals and other news. It's a time of strange mixes: spring migrants arriving daily, winter birds lingering or building up as they stage here, and some birds well along in their breeding season (like Great Horned Owl and Bald Eagle). CMBO's "poor man's pelagic trip" on the Cape May Ferry to Lewes, Delaware, March 19, tallied 100 RED-THROATED LOONS, 3 HORNED GREBES, 1 RED-NECKED GREBE, 1 EARED GREBE by the Lewes ferry terminal, 2 GREAT CORMORANTS, 500 BLACK SCOTERS, 200 SURF SCOTERS, 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and arriving OSPREY and LAUGHING GULLS. The Osprey were on their nest at the Lewes breakwater. The Cape May ferry terminal had several dozen Bonaparte's Gulls, Laughing Gulls, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Only one GANNET was seen, an adult; but just a few days later (March 23) over 150 Gannets were counted coming out of the bay in the early morning. Loon numbers are beginning to build; this is the time they stage in the Delaware Bay before moving north. Over 200 RED-THROATED LOONS were counted from the Cape May beaches on March 21, including the first one in near breeding plumage. RED-NECKED GREBES can still be found; 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 Lighthouse pond at Cape May Point State park ponds, Lily Lake right outside CMBO, in Dennis Creek at the end of Jake's Landing Road, and in the impoundments at Tuckahoe - Corbin City Wildlife Management Area. 112 Horned Grebes and 12 Red-necked Grebes were at Poverty Beach at the northeast end of the Cape May oceanfront. A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen March 20 on Ocean Drive in the ponds close to Wildwood Crest. An adult LITTLE GULL was seen March 22 near St. Mary's in Cape May Point. A GLAUCOUS GULL in first winter plumage, reported last week, was again seen March 20-21 along Ocean Drive, behind Axelsson and Johnson's fish market. Two hundred BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen in the waters off St. Mary's on March 22, and the same or another flock of 240 was at the ferry terminal the same day. Lots of FORSTER'S TERNS have arrived this week, and numbers were seen at Reed's Beach March 24. COMMON SNIPE have been migrating in lately; the Beanery held 19 on March 19, 13 on March 20 and 11 March 22. A PECTORAL SANDPIPER was in a field on Stevens St. March 18 to 20. Ten GREATER YELLOWLEGS were in the ponds on Ocean Drive on March 20. Eighty PURPLE SANDPIPERS were at St. Mary's on March 22. Two RED KNOTS, 95 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, and a DOWITCHER were on the Reed's Beach jetty on March 24. A DICKCISSEL was seen March 20 at Cape May Point. PINE WARBLER sightings came in from a number of locations this week; many of them were brightly colored males. Lots of them were reported at Jake's Landing Road on March 23, where they breed. At least one COMMON REDPOLL has lingered and was seen March 21 at the corner of New England and Bayshore Roads. Several spring hawk flights have passed over Cape May POint this week. March 20 4 N. HARRIER, 1 RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 12 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 2 AM. KESTREL, 5 OSPREY, 25 TURKEY VULTURES, and a BLACK VULTURE were counted. March 23 17 AM. KESTREL, 13 N. HARRIER, 8 OSPREY, and 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK were counted from the Cape May hawkwatch. At Sandy Hook March 23 1 RED-TAILED HAWK, 8 RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 12 SHARPSHINS, 6 COOPER'S HAWKS, 1 GOSHAWK, 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, 42 AM. KESTREL, 2 MERLINS, and 5 N. HARRIERS were counted by CMBO's hawkwatcher, Bill Sang[?]. Introduce yourself to Bill if you're up there and give him some company on the watch. BALD EAGLES are on their nests now and with any luck NJ's breeding population will continue to grow. Owls are migrating now, though their migration often goes undetected at night. A Cape May Point resident heard a LONG-EARED OWL give its screechy call shorty after dusk March 19. SHORT-EARED OWLS are still lingering at their wintering sites; one was seen March 23 at Jake's Landing Rd. Some spring "firsts" occurred this week, including GLOSSY IBIS, LITTLE BLUE HERON, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, SNOWY EGRET, and RED KNOT. Local nature notes (summary): BATS were observed this week; Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs are calling; a few Leopard Frogs are beginning to call; the first Mosquitoes were felt. Butterflies were reported March 23, including Mourning Cloak and Question Mark-type. [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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