Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/27/1997
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending March 27 include sightings of LITTLE GULL, EURASIAN WIGEON, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, COMMON EIDER, an announcement about some great prices on CMBO' OPTICS, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's other upcoming programs and field trips.

Four LITTLE GULLS were seen on and off during the week at 2nd Ave jetty, mainly on the outgoing tide. There were two adults and two 1st winter birds.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen on the Coast Guard ponds along Ocean Drive on March 23.

Two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were present on March 23 at the fish docks east of the toll bridge along Ocean Drive.

An adult male COMMON EIDER is still present at the Cold Spring jetty. This jetty can be reached by walking from Wildwood Crest.

AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS, unusual south of the Cape May canal, were seen this week with one in the South Cape May Meadows on March 23 and two on cape May Point on the 27th.

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was heard and seen in Belleplain State Forest at the bridge on Sunset Road on March 23, the earliest return date on record. Other returning breeders were YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS at Jake's Landing and at Belleplain, and an extremely early HOODED WARBLER in Belleplain.

GLOSSY IBIS have shown up in small numbers this week, as have GREAT EGRET, SNOWY EGRET and LITTLE BLUE HERON.

The season's first ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW was in the Cape May Point State Park.

A group of fifteen RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen in the wet woods at the back of Hidden Valley Ranch on March 23.

CMBO's March 22nd Bald Eagle trip on the Maurice River was lots of fun with one adult BALD EAGLE putting on quite a show flushing hundreds if not thousands of N. PINTAILS and other waterfowl. Traveling the length of the river the group enjoyed 2 adult and 1 immature BALD EAGLE, 3 BLACK VULTURES, and 8 or so newly arrived BELTED KINGFISHERS. Several migrating AMERICAN KESTREL were also spotted as they followed the river's edge.

RED-THROATED LOONS are gathering in numbers as they stage in the Delaware Bay before migrating north. Scan from the beachfront at 2nd Avenue Jetty in Cape May City or from the beachfront anywhere in Cape May Point to spot them resting on the water surface or diving down for food. Dozens of N. GANNETS are being seen now too as you scan offshore.

CMBO's Annual Spring Optics Sale, held March 22 & 23rd, was a huge success. And the best part of it all is that we still have some great prices on quality optics. If you couldn't join us for the sale, stop on down at your convenience and check it out.

Local Nature Notes follow: Temperatures rose to 61 degrees today, March 27th, and with the warmth butterflies were flying. The sand roads in Belleplain State Forest have been excellent for Question Marks, Mourning Cloaks, and Spring Azures. And today an amazing 220 Spring Azures, 21 Question Marks, 4 Commas, 12 Mourning Cloaks, and the spring's FIRST Henry's Elfin were seen there by one observer. On March 27, a Cabbage White flitted across the New Center's habitat here in Goshen. Flowering Quince is in bloom, often nature's signal that hummingbird feeders should be hung if we hope to hold a few migrants and entice them to breed before our gardens really get going and accomplish that task themselves. Forsythia is in full bloom and Red Maple trees are red with buds.

CMBO sponsored "Maurice River Bald Eagle Cruises" will be offered every Saturday and Sunday, through early April (weather dependent), twice daily (a morning trip from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and an afternoon trip from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.) The boat leaves from a dock in Millville. To register for these CMBO sponsored trips and learn further details, call 609-884-3100. Be sure to say you learned of the trips through CMBO or NJ Audubon, since then a portion of the proceeds will benefit CMBO. Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Easter Sunday will be our last "Winter Bird Walk," meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. A "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" will be offered March 29-30. Beginning April 1st CMBO will be offering 7 different bird and/or butterfly walks each week. Spring walks beginning April 1st include: a "Birds of the Seashore" walk every Tuesday with Pete Dunne, meeting at the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge at 7:30 a.m., a "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island" Every Tuesday with Mike Fritz, meeting at 5:00 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot, a "Butterfly Walk" every Wednesday with Pat Sutton, meeting at 9 a.m. at the end of Jakes Landing Road; a "Spring Birding in Belleplain" walk every Thursday with Bill Glaser & Karl Lukens, meeting at 7:30 a.m. at Belleplain State Forest's Field Office, a "Birding Cape May Point" walk every Saturday with Karl Lukens & Tom Parsons, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park; and a "Hidden Valley Bird & Butterfly Walk" every Sunday with Louise Zemaitis, meeting in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road at 7:00 a.m. Other special upcoming spring programs include a workshop on "Binoculars & Spotting Scopes for Birders" with Louise Zemaitis on Saturday, April 5th . . . "A shower for the Birth of CMBO's Model Backyard Habitat" also on April 5th . . . a "Cape May National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip" on April 12th and much more! Pick up a copy of CMBO's spring program schedule for more details or call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more.

The 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, and the Observatory, call our new Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our birding bookstore at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point, open every day except Tues. & Wednesday, 9-5. Our new Research and Education Center will not be open fulltime for visitors until April, but many of the indoor winter programs will be held there.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736 or on Tuesday and Wednesday to 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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