Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/11/1996
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 11 include sightings of RED-NECKED GREBE, UPLAND SANDPIPER, early spring migration, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

RED-NECKED GREBES were seen in two locations this week. One was seen in Mill Creek (that's the first creek east of the parkway along Ocean Drive), while another was seen at East Creek Lake along Rt. 347.

An UPLAND SANDPIPER was on the grounds of the Bayshore Prison along Rt. 47 on April 7th.

A few shorebirds have been seen around the cape. Five LESSER YELLOWLEGS were along Ocean Drive on April 5th, a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was at a rain pool near the Beanery on April 10th, and a LEAST SANDPIPER was at Lily Lake also on the 10th. GREATER YELLOWLEGS have been seen in a number of locations.

An early PRAIRIE WARBLER was at the Cape May Bird Observatory on April 11th, and an even earlier CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER was reported from the Cape May Point State Park on April 11th. This is only the third Chestnut-sided ever reported in April in Cape May County, and the earliest by 10 days.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS have returned to Cape May County Park. One was there on April 8th.

Other noteworthy sightings included a SORA in the South Cape May Meadows on April 10th and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW in Goshen on April 9th.

A steady movement north of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS passed over on April 11, in volving over a thousand birds. N. GANNETS are migrating by offshore, all adults so far. Scan from the beachfront in Cape May or Cape May Point, or take the early morning Cape May Ferry and enjoy them up close!

RED-THROATED LOONS are here in good numbers now. Each year hundreds stage in the Delaware Bay before they migrate north. Scan the waters off 2nd Avenue in Cape May, off the jetties in Cape May Point and around the Concrete Ship to find them; tides move them around. It's always fun to watch them begin to change from winter plumage into breeding plumage.

SHORT-EARED OWLS are still lingering. One has been seen hunting The Nature Conservancy's property on Sunset Boulevard, known as the South Cape May Meadows, this week at dawn and dusk, April 10 and 11. And one was seen near at Brigantine NWR on April 4 near the first tower on the driving dike.

Local Nature Notes follow: I'm sure none of us were in the mood for the day of rain that ended with 3 inches of snow on April 9th. But at least we could slip into a warm indoors. Not so for insect eating warblers or spring emergent butterflies, like the Spring Azures. April 11th a Spring Azure was nectaring in CMBO's garden, no doubt a fresh emergent since the snow. Individual Spring Azures only live 2-4 days. Females live only 2 days; they mate the first day they emerge, lay eggs the second day, and then die. They've served their purpose in life. The males may live 4 days -- a bit longer to ensure the next generation by mating with several females.

CMBO's Sunday Hidden Valley Walk enjoyed BLUEBIRDS, 8+ PHOEBES, a singing WINTER WREN, 5 PINE WARBLERS, and more. CMBO's Tuesday evening Sunset Walk at Stone Harbor and Nummy's Island enjoyed paired up and calling OYSTERCATCHERS, OSPREY on their nests, thousands upon thousands of LAUGHING GULLS, DOWITCHERS, lots of BRANT, and 4 YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS! CMBO's Thursday Belleplain Bird Walk enjoyed LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH singing, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, lots of PHOEBES, RED-NECKED GREBE and adult BALD EAGLE at East Creek Lake, and a din of PINE WARBLERS singing on territory. Flocks of GREAT EGRETS & SNOWY EGRETS are regular now. RED-TAILED HAWKS are mating. BARRED OWLS and RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS are on territory now and very vocal. BALD EAGLE chicks have hatched. GREAT HORNED OWL chicks are getting larger. GOLDFINCH are turning golden. Woodpeckers are drumming. Robins are singing. Red Maples are budding red. Dogwood trees are budding too.

CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include a "Loon Outing" on April 20, "Ruffed Grouse A'Drumming" on April 27, a "Rail Watch" on April 27, a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" on April 27 and 28, a "Spring Butterfly & Dragonfly Field Trip " on May 4, NJ Audubon's Cape May Spring Weekend May 17th through the 19th, a "Weeklong Spring Birding Workshop" with Pete Dunne and CMBO Staff May 20-24, "Shorebirds on the Delaware Bayshore" field trips daily May 20-29 (except May 26), an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 8, and 3 "Butterfly Counts" in late June. Our next member's night on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. features Keith Seager sharing a slide program on "Orchids of Cape May."

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard The Skimmer are offered Every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and Every Monday from 9 a.m. to Noon. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3712.

Our spring daily bird and butterfly walks have begun and require no preregistrat ion -- JUST COME! Every Sunday Louise Zemaitis leads a "Bird & Butterfly Walk at Hidden Valley" meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road. Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a "Birds of the Seashore" walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30 a.m., and Mike Fritz leads a "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island," meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point Parking Lot. Every Wednesday Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk in Belleplain" at 9 a.m., meeting at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Every Thursday CMBO offers a "Spring Birding in Belleplain" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office. Every Friday Fred Mears and/or Bill Glaser lead a "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday Tom Parsons leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:3 0 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Stop by our office and pick up the program schedule for more details or give us a call at 609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.

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 office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

The Cape May birding hotline [(609) 884-2626] is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and includes 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. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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