Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 3/6/1997
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 6 include sightings of LITTLE GULL, SNOWY OWL, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, DICKCISSEL, an announcement about CMBO's ANNUAL SPRING OPTICS SALE, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's other upcoming programs and field trips.

LITTLE GULLS were seen this week. Two were at Alexander Ave. on February 28 and one was at Reed s Beach on March 6. Look for large concentrations of Bonaparte' s Gulls

The SNOWY OWL continues at Forsythe NWR, first discovered in late December it was most recently seen today, March 6. Please give CMBO a call at either 609-884-2736 or 609-861-0700 if you are still enjoying this marvelous bird. It is apparently still being seen within the impoundments from the east dike, a bit north of the southeast corner of the east pool. Check the Refuge sighting sheets before driving around the dike to see where it's most recently been seen and give yourself plenty of time looking for it since it can stay quite hidden in a nook out of the wind.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen on Cape May Point on March 2. It was seen near Yale and Coral.

A DICKCISSEL was seen in West Cape May on February 28.

Two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen this week. An adult was at Reed s Beach on March 6 while a 2nd winter bird was in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on March 2.

Signs of spring this week included: the fist LAUGHING GULL seen on March 2 at Cox Hall Creek outfall near Townbank, Pine Warblers heard singing at Jake s Landing Road, and two PIPING PLOVERS on the beach at SCMM.

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS were on the move this week with 10 seen off the State Park on March 2.

NORTHERN GANNET numbers are building with 27 seen on March 2 off the State Park.

SHORT-EARED OWLS must be on the move, since sightings are coming in from sites where they ve been absent this winter. 2 were seen hunting the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, also known as The Meadows, on February 28. 2 were seen tangling our over the marshes at Jakes Landing on February 28 and also on March 4th at 2:00 p.m. 2 other Short-eareds were seen at Fortescue on March 4th at 4:30 p.m. chasing each other and giving their bark-like call.

Mark your calendars! CMBO's Annual Spring Optics Sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 22 & 23 at the Cape May Bird Observatory's Northwood Center in Cape May Point. This clearance sale will include stuff the optics companies have passed our way along with the plea "so what do you think of these babies?" -- plus all the stuff the Director found when he cleaned out his desk and moved to the new center. Some highlighted optics that will be for sale include the following: 1 new Leica 10x42 roof for $999 (regular member's price is $1,145) 2 Leica 10x42 demos (with warranty) for $880 each 1 Leica 8x42 demo (with warranty) for $845 (retail market value is $1,050) 10 Nikon Field Scopes ED 78mm for $750 each (retail market value is $1,100) 30 Nikon Spotting Scopes with 15-45 zoom x 60mm for $275 each (retail market value is $447) 100 Nikon 8x21 Sprint binoculars for $45 each (retail market value is $95) 1 NEW Bausch & Lomb Elite 7x36 for $775 1 used Bausch & Lomb Elite 78mm spotting scope with 20x wide angle eyepiece for $400 (with an extra zoom eyepiece for $100) 2 Velbon Tripods for $40 each Nikon 10x50 Kestrel (field test model) for $100 ($290 is the list price) Nikon 7x35 Lemur (field test model) for $75 ($237 is the list price) AND ABOUT A HUNDRED OR SO MORE! The rules for this ANNUAL SPRING OPTICS SALE follow: No phone orders! -- No down payments or holds! -- FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED. March 22 & 23, doors open each morning at 9:00 a.m. and will remain open until 5:00 p.m. See you there!

Local Nature Notes follow: The warm temperatures have triggered many spring sightings! A Spring Azure was seen in Goshen near CMBO s new Center for Research & Education on February 27th; NOT SURPRISING since the temperatures that day were in the 60 s. Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, and Leopard Frogs have all been heard calling this week. Each warm dawn or dusk male American Woodcock are displaying for potential mates going through an elaborate sky dance and twittering song. Numbers of Clapper Rails can be heard at dusk at places like Jakes Landing. Crocuses are in bloom. Daffodils began blooming March 2. Red-winged Blackbirds are giving their "konk-er-eee" spring song, Mourning Doves are cooing, Cardinals are singing their spring song too: "cheer cheer cheer," and Pigeons are already building nests in the Bunker! Great Horned Owls are vocal once more and should have young now, having laid their eggs in late January.

Some of CMBO's upcoming programs follow: Winter programs include weekly "Owl & Hawk Watches at Jakes Landing" every Friday, now through March 14th at 4:00 p.m.; weekly "Winter Bird Walks" every Sunday, now through March, meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. The "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" will be next March 29-30. Other upcoming programs include a "Woodcock Dance" outing on March 8, a "Poor Man's Pelagic" trip on March 29 and on April 5th a "Shower for the Birth of our new Model Backyard Habitat" here at the New Center in Goshen and a "Binoculars & Spotting Scopes For Birders" workshop at Cape May Point with CMBO's bookstore manager, Louise Zemaitis. CMBO's spring program schedule will be reaching members shortly. Any interested nonmembers should give us a call to receive it. Call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more about the winter or spring programs and to register.

CMBO sponsored "Maurice River Bald Eagle Cruises" will be offered every Saturday and Sunday, March 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.

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 707 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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