Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/4/2004
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, March 4. Highlights from the last week include RAZORBILL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, COMMON EIDER, RED-NECKED GREBE, BROWN PELICAN, ICELAND GULL, and GLAUCOUS GULL.

Sea birds are continuing to gather around Cape May. RAZORBILL sightings include 4 by the St. Mary's jetty off Cape May Point on March 1st, 2 here on the 3rd, and a single RAZORBILL sighted here on Feb. 26th and 29th; 2 were seen at the Cold Spring Inlet (mouth of Cape May harbor) on Feb. 29th. A female HARLEQUIN DUCK has been seen daily through the last week by the St. Mary's jetty, and six were at Cold Spring Inlet on Feb. 29th, where 7 were found on March 3rd. A single COMMON EIDER was seen at Cold Spring Inlet on March 3rd and another was seen from the Cape May Lewes Ferry with the large Scoter flocks on March 2nd. Three RED-NECKED GREBES were seen off Cape May Point on March 1st, and one was found on the Great Egg Harbor River on the 3rd. An early BROWN PELICAN flew over Cape May Point on March 3rd, and was also observed in North Wildwood on the 3rd.

Tens of thousands of SCOTERS mostly BLACK SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS but with a few WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS as well are staging at the mouth of Delaware Bay. These birds may be observed, and heard calling, from anywhere along the shore of Cape May Point and from the Cape May Lewes Ferry.

At least two ICELAND GULLS and two GLAUCOUS GULLS continue to be seen sporadically around the southernmost toll bridge on Ocean Drive (near the clam processing plants); our most recent report is of the 2 GLAUCOUS GULLS on March 3rd.

Other noteworthy birds found around Cape May during the last week include 5 CANVASBACKS at Bunker Pond on March 3rd, 2 PINE SISKINS at a feeder in West Cape May through at least the 3rd, our first report of returning FORSTER'S TERNS with 6 seen in Delaware Bay from the Villas on March 2nd, 150 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS in West Cape May on March 1st, 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS at the South Cape May Meadows on the Feb. 27th, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at the Schellenger Tract, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, on Feb. 27th, a female COMMON MERGANSER in Lighthouse Pond, Cape May Point State Park, through at least Feb. 28th, and a PURPLE FINCH and an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW at a West Cape May feeder through at least Feb. 27th.

BALD EAGLES are especially conspicuous right now near their nests in northern Cape May County and in Cumberland County. SHORT-EARED OWLS and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS continue to be seen regularly from the end of Jakes Landing Rd. AMERICAN WOODCOCKS have begun displaying in many South Jersey fields. Dozens of RED-THROATED LOONS may be observed daily at Sunset Beach, with nearly as many COMMON LOONS in the Atlantic on both sides of the Cold Spring Inlet.

A Cape May pelagic trip on Sunday, March 7, is full. For waiting list information or to learn of future trips, contact See Life Paulagics at 215-234-6805 or see their web site at http://www.paulagics.com

Please note that the "free bridge" connecting Nummy Island to south Stone Harbor is now closed until further notice for construction estimated date for reopening is late May. Nummy can still be accessed from North Wildwood Blvd. drive past the "road closed local traffic only" sign and over the bridge).

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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