Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/10/1997
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 April 10 include sightings of RUFF, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, an announcement about some great prices on CMBO' OPTICS, local nature notes, news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips, and an announcement about volunteer opportunities with The Nature Conservancy.

The RUFF at Thompson's Beach was last reported this week on April 6.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen this week at the fish docks along Ocean Drive on the 6th and on the jetty at St. Mary's convent on the Point on the 5th.

The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW that has spent the entire winter in West Cape May was reported this week near 3rd and Bayshore Roads.

This weeks cold weather slowed the returning spring migrants. However, over 50 LEAST SANDPIPERS were at the end of Stipson Island Road and 35 COMMON SNIPE were seen in the South Cape May Meadows.

On April 7, Higbee Beach had 20+ BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (the first for the season), and a WHITE-EYED VIREO. The season's first COMMON YELLOWTHROAT was seen on the 7th at the Cape May Point State Park, while a BANK SWALLOW was there on the 8th. RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS are now being seen regularly. Several migrant PALM WARBLERS were in Belleplain State Forest on the 8th.

On April 7, observers at the hawkwatch noted over 80 AMERICAN KESTRELS and 10 NORTHERN HARRIERS.

RED-THROATED LOON numbers continue to build. The Delaware Bay is a major staging area for them before migrating north. Scan from the beachfront at 2nd Avenue Jetty in Cape May City or from the beachfront anywhere in Cape May Point to spot them resting on the water surface or diving down for food.

CMBO's Annual Spring Optics Sale, held in late March, was a huge success. And the best part of it all is that we still have some great prices on quality optics. If you couldn't join us for the sale, stop on down at your convenience and check it out.

Local Nature Notes follow: Believe it or not . . . MONARCHS are already being seen. A flurry of four different individuals were seen April 7th, including one at Cape May Point, another in the Villas, another at CMBO's new center in Goshen, and another in Bivalve in Cumberland County. Another migrant seen April 7th was an AMERICAN SNOUT in Goshen. HENRY'S ELFINS have been out on warm days if you are exploring the sandy roads of Belleplain State Forest, and on April 10th the first BROWN ELFIN was seen there. A belated report of a TIGER SWALLOWTAIL on March 30th at Hunter's Mill, which is in northern Cape May County, just reached this office. WOW! And the first GRAY HAIRSTREAK was seen April 7th. During the toasty warmth of April 4th dragonflies were enjoyed, incuding FRAGILE FORKTAILS which were discovered in Belleplain State Forest and GREEN DARNERS, which are migrants this time of year, at Stone Harbor, Cape May Point and CMBO's new center in Goshen. Shadbush is now in bloom; it is the fairly common small tree in bloom now with delicate white flowers. When it blooms it's a sure sign that Shad are running up the Delaware Bay on their way to spawn in the Delaware River.

CMBO's Spring Program Schedule is packed with fun field trips and workshops. Each week 7 different bird and/or butterfly walks are offered, details follow. Every Tuesday, Pete Dunne will lead a "Birds of the Seashore" walk, meeting at the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge at 7:30 a.m., and every Tuesday evening Mike Fritz will lead a "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island" walk, meeting at 5:00 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot. Every Wednesday Pat Sutton will lead a "Butterfly Walk in Belleplain", meeting at 9 a.m. at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Every Thursday Bill Glaser & Karl Lukens will lead a "Spring Birding in Belleplain" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. at Belleplain State Forest's Field Office. Every Friday Fred Mears and Bill Glaser will lead a "Higbee Beach Bird Walk," meeting in the parking lot at the end of New England Road at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday, Karl Lukens and Tom Parsons will lead a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Every Sunday, Louise Zemaitis will lead a "Hidden Valley Bird & Butterfly Walk," meeting in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road at 7:00 a.m. CMBO's nest Members Night is scheduled for Wednesday evening, April 16th, at 7:30 p.m. at CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen -- Pete Bacinski will present a workshop on "Warbler Songs." Come join us and bring a friend; help the membership grow! Other special upcoming spring programs include a "Cape May National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip" on April 12th, a "Backyard Habitat For Birds & Butterflies Workshop" on April 26th and much more! The Cape May Century Run Team, sponsored by Perky Pet Products and an official team on the World Series of Birding, still has openings. In the past this team has enjoyed a leisurely day's birding, seen between 135-143 birds -- mostly south of the Cape May Canal, and raised lots of money for CMBO's conservation efforts. Call 609-861-0700 for more etails. Pick up a copy of CMBO's spring program schedule for more details on our programs or call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more.

The Nature Conservancy has some volunteer opportunities. TNC is seeking shorebird volunteers to help staff Delaware Bay shorebird viewing beaches in May. And they are also looking for piping plover volunteers for the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge. Call Viv Hawkins at (609) 785-1735 for more details.

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 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point, open DAILY, 9-5. Our new Research and Education Center will not be open fulltime for visitors until late April or early May, but several of the indoor spring 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. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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