Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/20/1995
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 Apr. 20 include sightings of LAPLAND LONGSPUR, MARBLED GODWIT, COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL, spring migrants, returning breeders, local nature notes, and announcements.

A male LAPLAND LONGSPUR, first located on April 7, was seen again this week at the Cape May County Airport on April 15-16. The best views were had from the main parking area near the restaurant.

A MARBLED GODWIT was present on Nummy Island on April 17.

The first-winter COMMON BLACK-HEADED GULL is *still* present in the Coast Guard pond along Ocean Drive.

Many local breeders have taken up residence in Belleplain State Forest. Today, April 20, a check of the area produced a dozen OVENBIRDS, ten YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, 7 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 4 PRAIRIE WARBLERS, 2 PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS, a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, a NORTHERN PARULA and the season's first EASTERN KINGBIRD. Pine Swamp Road, and the bridge across Savage's Run on Sunset Road, are good locations to check.

Other new arrivals this week included YELLOW WARBLER at Higbee Beach on April 16; YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT April 17 in the garden here at the Observatory; GREEN HERON in Goshen on April 18; NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at the Beanery on April 20; and ROYAL TERNS on the beach in the town of Cape May, on April 20. The last two are not local breeders; the Waterthrush will head further north while the Royals will return south.

Local nature notes follow.

Hundreds of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS are migrating north now. Some can be found in the Cape May Harbor at close range, and you can see their crests, only visible at this time of year. A few COMMON LOONS in full breeding plumage can still be found in the Harbor, best seen from the road end near the Lobster House restaurant.

OSPREY are back at their nests, and have started to lay eggs; BALD EAGLES, among the earliest breeders, have sizable eaglets to feed now. The first male RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were seen April 19; females will follow soon, so put up your feeders now if you hope to entice them to nest in your yard. But also plant lots of good nectar sources for them.

After last year's lack of PAINTED LADY BUTTERFLIES due to the severity of the previous winter, it is obvious that they've rebounded and are on the move northward to repopulate our area. Migrations of PAINTED LADIES and AMERICAN LADIES were witnessed April 19 and 20, passing over the South Cape May Meadows and inland to Belleplain Forest. The first MONARCH was seen on April 9, and another on the 16th, and 2 on April 20. These individuals are the grandchildren of the Monarchs that migrated through here last Fall and spent the winter in Mexico.

CMBO'S first Spring Butterfly walk on April 19 enjoyed 14 species, including FALCATE ORANGE-TIP, HENRY'S ELFIN, BROWN ELFIN, and PINE ELFIN, and JUVENAL'S DUSKY-WING. FROSTED ELFINS are out in Belleplain, and HOARY ELFINS are out in the Pine Barrens, where their hostplant, Bearberry, grows. Nectar sources in the spring are often scarce; many of the butterflies we've seen have been coming to Purple Bed-nettle, Dandelion, Wild Mustard, and budding trees like Red Maple.

Some of the large Silk Moths are emerging. A LUNA MOTH was seen on the night of April 18. Huge GREEN DARNER dragonflies have arrived from the south. PINE BARRENS TREEFROGS were heard calling on April 20, and FOWLERS TOADS are heard in the State Park ponds and the Meadows. CARPENTER FROGS can be heard hammering. Shadbush is in bloom, a small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers which bloom when the Shad are running.

[program announcements omitted] Fine print: 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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point.

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. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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