Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/17/1997
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 17 include sightings of KING EIDER, 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.

A female KING EIDER was found at the Longport jetty at the end of Atlantic Avenue on April 9 and was seen again there on the 12th.

The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW that has spent the winter in West Cape May near 2nd and West Avenues was seen this week on April 12.

A good movement of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS was noted on April 15, with nearly 1,000 seen crossing Delaware Bay heading north.

About 12 ROYAL TERNS were seen off Cape May Point on April 15, while the season's first COMMON TERN was behind Nummy Island on the 12th. A newly arrived WHIMBREL was at the same place on the same date.

On April 13 the South Cape May Meadows held 25+ COMMON SNIPE, 13 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, over 50 GADWALL and an AMERICAN BITTERN.

The first sizable movement of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS was noted on April 16 with 150 at Hidden Valley Ranch. Over 50 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS and 10+ RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were there that day also. The seasons first NORTHERN PARULA was in the State Park on April 14th.

The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen April 15th in Goshen near CMBO's new Center for Research & Education. It was a female. Normally males are seen first, so maybe they slipped through unseen already. If you are hoping to lure hummingbirds to nest in your yard, it is time to put up hummingbird feeders -- especially since our hummingbird gardens are no where near blooming yet.

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 out the great buys!

Local Nature Notes follow: Butterfly diversity is picking up! Monarch continue to come through. The first FALCATE ORANGETIP was seen April 13th and numbers have been seen since. Others spring emergents that are now regular include TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, JUVENAL'S DUSKYWINGS, AMERICAN COPPERS, HENRY'S ELFINS, BROWN ELFINS, SPRING AZURES, the first few E. TAILED BLUES, CABBAGE WHITES, and CLOUDED SULPHURS. QUESTION MARKS and MOURNING CLOAKS that overwintered can still be found. And American Painted Ladies, that wintered to the south of us as adults, are migrating north and repopulating the area. Dragonfly news includes recent sightings of BLUE CORPORAL SKIMMER on April 15th near the Cape May Canal and GREEN DARNERS laying eggs at Fishing Creek on April 16. White-throated Sparrows are singing their spring song, "Oh Canada, Canada, Canada." Enjoy it now since they do not nest here and it is a spring treat to hear them sing. Goldfinch are getting golden now. Wild mustards are in bloom. 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. Special upcoming spring programs include a "Backyard Habitat For Birds & Butterflies Workshop" on April 26th, a "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" also on April 26, our Cape May Spring Weekend on May 16, 17, & 18,, "Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs on the Delaware Bayshore" field trips daily from May 19-28 (except for May 25), 2 "Champagne Island Cruises for Terns & Skimmers" (one on May 31 and another on June 28), a "Dragonfly Workshop & Walk" with Bob Barber on June 7, an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 14 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 details. 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 full-time for visitors until 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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