Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/18/1996
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You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending April 18,, 1996 include a report of ANHINGA from Atlantic County; HARLEQUIN DUCKS, BLACK-HEADED GULL, ICELAND GULL, spring migrants, nature notes and announcements.

An ANHINGA was reported from Absecon in Atlantic County on April 17; the bird was seen soaring in a northerly direction from the intersection of Rt. 30 and Shore Road.

An adult HARLEQUIN DUCK has been seen daily since April 11 near the jetties on Cape May Point or near the Bunker; it was seen most recently April 17. A BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen at Reed's Beach on April 18, while an ICELAND GULL was present on Ocean Drive on April 16.

It's getting harder to keep track of returning breeders and migrants, as more and more arrive; highlights follow.

A BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was at Higbee Beach April 12, and also back on territory at Belleplain State Forest. A SOLITARY VIREO was at Higbee April 13. CHIMNEY SWIFTS were over the S. Cape May Meadows the same day. ORCHARD ORIOLE was at Hidden Valley Ranch April 13. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was in Seaville April 14. On April 15, all six regular SWALLOW species were at the Cape May Point State Park. INDIGO BUNTING was on Nummy Island April 16. ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAK was at Cape May Point April 16 and at Beasley's Point April 17. And VESPER SPARROWS were at the Beanery April 17 and Higbee Beach April 18. An EASTERN KINGBIRD was at Hidden Valley Ranch April 18.

Nearly 300 GLOSSY IBIS were in farm fields north of Goshen, along Rt. 47, on April 17. CASPIAN TERNS were seen at Cape May Point on April 15 and over Cape May Court House April 17.

A small Hawk flight occurred on April 18; it included the first BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, 3 birds, along with 9 MERLINS, 6 KESTRELS, 3 OSPREY, 5 N. HARRIER and 6 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS. Earlier this week there was a major push of AMERICAN KESTRELS on APril 12. A major DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT flight passed over on April 18, involving over 3000 birds, along with 30 WILLETS. NORTHERN GANNETS are migrating offshore, and a major movement passed on April 12, involving 100s of birds.

It was a terrific winter for owls, and some are passing by now on northwards migration. A LONG-EARED OWL was discovered at Higbee Beach on April 18. On April 13, a dead NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL was found still sitting in a blue spruce in a backyard in the town of The Villas. It was banded, on Nov. 12 1995, by CMBO's banding project.

Local nature notes: Any warm day, SPRING AZURE butterflies are flying. Female Azures live only 2 days, long enough to mate and lay eggs. Males live maybe 4 days, mate with several females, and die.

Flocks of GREAT EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, & SNOWY EGRET are regular now. RED-TAILED HAWKS are mating and sitting on nests; BARRED OWLS are on territory and very vocal. BALD EAGLE chicks have hatched.

The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS appeared on April 5. By April 10, one was regular at a feeder in Cape May Point. Others have been arriving this week, and they will take up residence where there's a steady source of food. Males return first to set up territories. Since gardens are sparse to nonexistent now, you can hang up a feeder if you want to attract a hummingbird to nest in your yard. However, realize you need to clean the feeder each week and keep it filled with fresh solution.

[program information deleted--LL]

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. [Compiled by CMBO staff; transcribed by L. Larson (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Compuserve, a for-profit corporation, is acting unethically by stripping headers and selling this information without attribution. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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