You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending April 1 include ROCK WREN, RAZORBILL, LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER, AM. TREE SPARROW, an influx of returning birds, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.
The ROCK WREN, not reported since Mar. 10, was seen on Mar. 28 at the construction site at Lincoln Ave. in Cape May Point, where it has been seen since early December.
Six RAZORBILLS were seen swimming with the tide off the South Cape May Meadows on Mar. 26, coinciding with numerous offshore reports. A LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER was seen near the construction site at the intersection of Ocean Drive and the road into N. Wildwood on Mar. 31. This bird, unusual in the spring at Cape May, was also quite early.
An AM. TREE SPARROW was still here on Mar. 29 near the dune, near the end of the east walk at the South Cape May Meadows. This is probably the same bird seen periodically during the winter at the same site.
The end of March is always an interesting time of year, as many birds begin arriving from the wintering grounds to the south. Laughing Gulls, which were being seen occasionally last week, are now literally everywhere. More Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets arrive each day, along with Little Blue Herons, Glossy Ibis, and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. Forster's Terns become more obvious as they hunt the ocean surf, and Osprey numbers are also increasing. New arrivals for the week include Pine Warblers, in the northern part of the county on March 26; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in The Villas on March 28; and Rough-winged and Barn Swallows on March 31.
Local nature notes follow. Some non-avian sightings around the cape include a Humpbacked Whale, seen from fishing boat Miss Chris on March 21, about 15-20 southeast of Cape May. Also, a Long-tailed Weasel, along Sunset Blvd on the 23d; and Otters in the South Cape May Meadows on the 27th. Some snakes are venturing out from their winter dens, and both Black Racer and Ribbon snakes were reported in the past week. The din of Spring Peepers near any wet woods is truly amazing, and other frogs heard calling include Chorus Frog and Leopard Frog.
CMBO will be offering Nature Photography workshops this spring and summer. Basics of Nature Photography will be held May 8, and a Bird Photography workshop with Art Morris is scheduled for June 5. Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, is scheduled for April 10-11, May 29-30, and June 26-27. A Birding by Ear workshop will be taught by Dick Walton, author of the Peterson Field Guide and tape of that name, on April 4. All these programs require pre-registration. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties and adjacent areas. Updates are made on Thursday evening, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thanks for calling; good birding.