Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/28/1996
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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 Mar. 28, 1996 include sightings of HOODED WARBLER, LARK SPARROW, RED-NECKED GREBE, COMMON EIDER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, AMERICAN BITTERN, spring arrivals, announcements, nature notes, and news.

A male HOODED WARBLER was seen March 27 at Manahawkin Swamp on the AT&T Road. This arrival date is _way_ earlier than any previous record.

A LARK SPARROW was seen March 24 in West Cape May on Third Ave.

A number of RED-NECKED GREBES were seen this week; one was at the Tip Seaman Park in Tuckerton, March 27; one is still present in Bunker Pond, Cape May Point State Park; one was seen March 25 next to the Garden State Parkway, Mill Creek (at the south end of the Parkway); another March 27 at the Nummy's Island toll bridge. Yet another, in breeding plumage, was at Mill Creek on March 22. And nine were seen March 20, across the bay in the Lewes, Delaware, harbor.

Five COMMON EIDER were at Stone Harbor Point on March 25, and two were in with scoters off Cape May Point on March 24. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen March 23, 24 & 26 at Higbee's Beach. A third-winter LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen off Avalon on March 22. Two COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were seen March 24 in Cumberland Co., at Hansey Creek Rd.

Spring arrivals show up daily. PECTORAL SANDPIPER was in the South Cape May Meadows on March 28. GLOSSY IBIS and BARN SWALLOW were seen there March 26. PURPLE MARTINS were back at the Cape May Point State Park on March 26. Three PIPING PLOVERS were on the sand bar at Bunker Pond on March 23. A CATTLE EGRET was at the puddle at the Beanery, on March 22.

A SORA was in the S. Cape May Meadows on March 22. Two FORSTER'S TERNS were at the Second Ave. Jetty in Cape May on March 23. PINE WARBLER was first seen in Cape May Point on March 21 and since then have become regular in breeding locations at Jakes Landing, Belleplain State Forest, Beaver Swamp and elsewhere.

OYSTERCATCHERS are being seen "all over the place": 4 at Nummy's Island March 23; 2 at Reed's Beach March 24; a flyby at the Concrete Ship March 26; and 16 at Nummy's Island March 25. OSPREY are back at their nests; EASTERN PHOEBES are seen daily; GREAT EGRETS and LAUGHING GULLS have arrived. RED-THROATED LOONS are staging in the Bay off Cape May Point. In with them on March 28 were 150 or more SCOTERS, mostly BLACK SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS. NORTHERN GANNETS are migrating now offshore.

An AMERICAN BITTERN is regularly seen in the S. Cape May Meadows, most recently March 27. The fields on Kimble's Beach Rd. are a sure bet for E. BLUEBIRDS and AMERICAN KESTREL. SHORT-EARED OWLS were still seen at Jakes Landing Road, to March 27. A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was seen from Reed's Beach on March 27.

Local nature notes: Despite lingering winter, Butterfly season has finally arrived. Several COMPTON'S TORTOISE-SHELLS were seen March 26 in Ringwood, NJ, at NJAS' Weiss Ecology Center. [Hey, that's north Jersey! -tr.] Two were seen in Atlantic County, on March 25, along with 9 MOURNING CLOAKS and 7 SPRING AZURES. SPRING AZURES were out at Jakes Landing on March 25.

A Box Turtle was out of its winter quarters on March 27, and two Chipmunks were seen March 22. Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers are calling. Red Maples and Dogwoods are budding. Local GREAT HORNED OWL chicks are up to a month old now. On warm nights, AM. WOODCOCKS begin their displays about 6:30 PM at Higbees Beach, the Meadows, and elsewhere.

[program information deleted--LL]

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 office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

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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