Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/5/1998
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 5 include sightings of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, SEDGE WREN, KING EIDER and COMMON EIDER, local nature notes, and information about our upcoming programs and field trips.

The GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW continues to be seen at Cape May National golf course, but it has become much less reliable, being seen only intermittently. It was reported this past week on February 28.

A SEDGE WREN was heard, but not seen, at the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on March 5.

Nine EIDERS were seen at Hereford Inlet on February 27, five COMMON EIDERS and four KING EIDERS.

On March 1, Longport had both GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULL. On March 4 at Longport, a HERRING GULL with yellow legs and a darker mantle was reported near the jetties at the Inlet, but it was not relocated.

The seasons first LAUGHING GULL was seen on February 28 on the beach north of the ferry terminal, and the first Piping Plover was seen at SCMM on March 2.

Other interesting sightings this week included seven LEAST SANDPIPERS and a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER along Stone Harbor Blvd. on February 28, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and RED KNOT at Stone Harbor Point on March 3, up to 65 WESTERN SANDPIPERS at Hereford Inlet on March 4, and Purple Martin at the Beanery on March 5.

AMERICAN WOODCOCK have been displaying at dawn and dusk since mid-February. They usually begin their display about 10 minutes after six each night and earlier on cloudy nights.

SHORT-EARED OWLS can still be found. One was at Jakes Landing the evening of February 27 and 2 were seen from the East Dike at Brigantine NWR on March 1.

Local Nature Notes follow: Weatherwise, spring is here and butterflies are out on warm days. Expect to see Mourning Cloaks, Question Marks, Commas, maybe Red Admirals, and Spring Azures. Expect a din of Spring Peepers, and Wood Frogs are very vocal now too, sounding like quacking ducks. Flowering Quince is blooming -- a good month early and an indication that early hummingbirds might be next. They typically arrive in mid-April. Some folks have put their feeders out just in case. Daffodils and crocuses are in bloom. Day lilies are up about 5". Local lawns are full of tiny wildflowers in bloom like Hairy bittercress, dandelions, Speedwell, and purple dead nettle. Some songbirds are in full song. Great Horned Owls are on newly hatched young and getting vocal again at dawn, dusk, and through the night.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's upcoming preregistration winter programs include a six-week "Ornithology 101" Course that began March 3rd and runs through April 7th every Tuesday evening for 6 weeks, a Family Program on March 7, field trips to witness the Woodcock's mating dance or flight on March 7 and March 14, a workshop for educators on March 14th focusing on "Shorebird Study for the Classroom," CMBO's "Wintering Eagles By Boat on the Maurice River" trips are full but additional Saturday & Sunday "Bald Eagle Cruises" in March are being offered by The Skimmer -- tell them you learned about the trips from CMBO and a portion of the proceeds go back to us, our next Open House evening program will be March 18th with a program on "Backyard Terrorists like Squirrels, House Finches, and the like at our feeders," and a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" March 28 & 29.

And don't forget to mark your calendars for CMBO's SPRING OPTICS SALE, March 28 & 29 to be held at CMBO's Center for Research & Education in Goshen. Sorry, no phone orders. You need to be here in person those two days to get great deals.

There are also two different Sunday morning bird walks, requiring no preregistration -- one at Cape May Point 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and one at CMBO's new Center in Goshen from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. If you are not a member and would like a copy of the Winter Program Schedule with all the details, 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 two 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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