Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/28/1998
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 26 includes returning breeders, local nature notes, and information about our upcoming programs and field trips.

A note to participants registered for the Saturday, March 28th "Wintering Eagles By Boat on the Maurice River" trip, the weather looks great. To anyone who was turned away because these trips filled up, there's an additional trip on the Maurice River for Bald Eagles on Saturday, April 4, at 10:00 a.m. Preregistration is required and there are a few openings left. Call 609-861-0700 to sign up. Payment will be needed to hold your place, so be ready with a credit card number.

Two very early Solitary Sandpipers showed up this week, being seen at the Beanery and at a pond off Shunpike Rd.

An early White-eyed Vireo was at Hidden Valley ranch on March 25 and 26.

Laughing Gulls are returning in big numbers, with over 400 counted off Cape May Point on March 24 and 500 present around Nummy Island on the same day.

Ospreys have returned to nest sites this week, and are being seen elsewhere as well.

Pine Warblers have been singing in Belleplain State Forest, and a few migrants are being seen around Cape May Point.

A few migrant Golden-crowned Kinglets have been around Cape May Point, and Hermit Thrushes are also moving. A good movement of Eastern Phoebes was noted on March 26 at Higbee Beach.

Red-throated Loon numbers continue to build in Delaware Bay, and hundreds of Black and Surf Scoters are staging well out in the bay, seen scattering as the Ferry plowed through the flocks.

An American Bittern was in the SCMM on March 20, and a Merlin was in North Cape May the same day.

Local Nature Notes follow: A wet, cold March held spring back until this week. March 26th a Tree Swallow showed up and hunted the CMBO Goshen property all morning; Bluebirds have been on site for several weeks. Great Horned Owlets are growing, having hatched at the end of February. Screech Owls & Barn Owls are on eggs now and have been for a week or two. Trees are budding now. A din of Spring Peepers can be heard. Flowering Quince is blooming -- hummingbirds will arrive soon. Daffodils and crocuses are in bloom. Day lilies are up about 7". Several Cabbage Whites were seen last week, but on March 26 warm weather produced lots of Spring Azures (one observer had 60) and our first elfin, either Browns or Henry's. Numbers of Mourning Cloaks, Question Marks, and E. Commas were also out. These last three species winter as adults in protected spots, so they were out at the end of February during the false spring, disappeared the cold first half of March, and are out and about again.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's upcoming preregistration winter programs include a newly scheduled CMBO "Wintering Eagles By Boat on the Maurice River" trip on Saturday, April 4th, a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" March 28 & 29, a "Cruising For Loons" trip on April 18, a workshop on "Binoculars & Spotting Scopes for Birders" also on April 18, a Workshop to learn "The Art of Taking Field Notes & Making Field Sketches" on April 19, a "Rail Watch" on April 25, a "Workshop for Business Owners to Learn How to Reach the Birding Market" on April 29, and much more.

Sunday, March 29th, our final two winter bird walks, requiring no preregistration, occur: one at Cape May Point 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and one at CMBO's Center in Goshen from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. The Maurice River Bald Eagle Cruises still have openings on Saturday, April 4, at 1:00 p.m. and both Sunday, April 5 trips, one at 10 a.m. and one at 1 p.m. To register for these three Eagle Cruises call the boat directly at 609-884-3100 and let them know you learned about the trips through CMBO; a portion of the proceeds go back to CMBO. Beginning in April CMBO has 2-hour long DAILY bird, butterfly and dragonfly walks scheduled every morning except Monday, requiring no preregistration. The Wednesday morning walk begins, April 1st, with a bird walk at 7:30 a.m. at Beaver Swamp WMA followed by a Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk there too at 10:00 a.m. The Thursday morning "Spring Birding in Belleplain" walk begins April 2nd; the Friday morning "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" begins April 3rd at 7:30 a.m.; the Saturday morning "Cape May Point Walk" begins April 4th at 7:30 a.m.; the Sunday morning "Hidden Valley for Birds & Butterflies" begins April 5th at 7:00 a.m.; and the first Tuesday morning "Birds of the Seashore" walk with Pete Dunne begins April 7th at 7:30 a.m., with the first Thursday evening "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & the Avalon Rookery" walk begins April 7th at 5:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars now to set Saturday, April 25th, aside when NJ Audubon will be hosting an all day, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. "Backyard Habitat Day Festival" at the CMBO Center for Research & Education in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). This is NJ Audubon's way of celebrating Arbor Day & Earth Day -- A festival celebrating habitat for wildlife. There will be learning opportunities for families, teachers, and general nature enthusiasts through mini-workshops and programs all day long, crafts and games for kids and families, a plant swap, exhibitors, and good company! And it's FREE. Rain date is Sunday, April 26.

Members received the Spring Schedule inside our newsletter, the Peregrine Observer. If you are not a member and would like a copy of the Spring Program Schedule with all the details about the dozens of programs, walks, and workshops we offer, stop by either center or call us at 609-861-0700.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North. The center features gardens and a meadow for wildlife, feeding stations, nature store, and a wildlife art gallery in "The Loft" on our second floor, featuring the work of some of the Bayshore's finest artists, photographer, and carvers. CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding book store and birding information. Both the CMBO Center in Goshen and the Northwood Center in Cape May Point are open 10-5, every day except Tuesday & Wednesday.

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 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 2 birding bookstores.

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. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING.

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