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 21 include SWAINSON'S WARBLER, EURASIAN WHIMBREL, WHITE-FACED IBIS, SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, GREAT CORMORANT, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, spring arrivals, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming spring programs and filed trips.
A singing SWAINSON'S WARBLER was heard in the Cape May Point State Park on April 21 from the Yellow Trail where it makes a right angle bend. The same or a different SWAINSON'S WARBLER was seen at Higbee Beach on April 17.
A EURASIAN WHIMBREL was seen late in the day on April 16 in the marshes along Avalon Blvd, before the 1st bridge, but could not be relocated the next day.
A WHITE-FACED IBIS was discovered April 19 along Bayshore Road just north of the Beanery. Apparently its face was not very white but it had the red eyes and "red knees".
A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE passed over Hansey Creek Road in Cumberland County on April 17, and one seen April 20 at 3:45 p.m. over the Cape May Point State Park.
A GREAT CORMORANT was seen at Higbee Beach on April 20. And an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen there on April 18.
HARLEQUIN DUCKS were still being seen at Barnegat Light next to the jetty on April 16.
Many birds arrived this week and immediately took up territory and began singing away. WILLETS and COMMON YELLOWTHROATS were suddenly everywhere on April 16; HOUSE WRENS arrived in force on the 19th; RED-EYED VIREOS April 20th, and BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS arrived April 21.
The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen April 19, right on schedule. Flowering Quince or Joponica was coming into bloom by the 15th, and hummers seem to time their arrival just as this nectar source becomes available.
The week's coldfronts triggered several good spring hawk flights here at Cape May on April 18, 20, and 21st: BLACK VULTURES, OSPREY, AM. KESTREL, MERLIN, SHARP-SHINS, COOPER'S HAWKS, RED-TAILS, BROAD-WINGS, RED-SHOULDERS, and N. HARRIERS were all seen migrating over. An immature BALD EAGLE migrated over Hidden Valley April 18.
CMBO's Loon Outing on April 16 did see a terrific assortment of birds, including Loons in breeding plumage and did find several lingering RED-NECKED GREBES. COMMON LOONS in breeding plumage were enjoyed in Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest and in the ocean off the north end of Avalon. 2 RED-NECKED GREBES were seen in the backbay waters behind Stone Harbor from the public parking lot at 80th Street. The trip also enjoyed N. GANNETS pouring out of the Bay in the morning. Nummy's Island, the saltmarsh south of Stone Harbor, gave the group excellent looks at numbers of YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, DOWITCHER, DUNLIN, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, BRANT, OSPREY on their next, and flocks of WHIMBREL on the saltmarsh.
250 N. GANNETS were feeding off Cape May Point in "the rips" on April 21. If you've never seen gannets early morning is best and you need to scan offshore to pick them up as they fly by.
Belleplain State Forest has been excellent for arriving landbirds and migrants passing through, including PINE WARBLER, PRAIRIE WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, BLACK AND WHITE WARBLERS, OVENBIRDS, WHITE-EYED VIREOS, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, SUMMER TANAGER, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH.
In Cumberland County, Route 555 north of the town of Dividing Creek passes through the wet woods of Bear Swamp. N. PARULA and AMERICAN REDSTART were both there on April 16.
The Beanery, Higbee Beach, and Cape May Point have all been birded by expectant birders monitoring spring arrivals. WINTER WREN was at Hidden Valley on April 18. A PARULA WARBLER was at the Beanery April 20, ORCHARD ORIOLE at the new Bayshore Road WMA just north of the Beanery April 20, SNIPE and MEADOWLARK in the South Cape May Meadows on April 19, HOODED and YELLOW WARBLER in the Point April 20, SOLITARY VIREO singing, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, and AMERICAN REDSTART all at Higbee April 20, and GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER and WORM-EATING WARBLER at Higbee April 17.
WHIP-POOR-WILL was heard at dusk April 16 at Turkey Point and a CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, also at dusk, on April 20 in N. Cape May.
5 PIPING PLOVER were at the Nature Conservatory's property on Sunset Boulevard on April 16 going through courtship and nest site selection!
[Local nature notes include possible Coyotes (2) April 19 at Higbee Beach, Spring Peepers and Fowler's Toads singing, and Shad Bush in bloom, as well as insects. Program notes omitted. BL]
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 send a request for information to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our headquarters at 707 E. Lake Dr.., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.
The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the 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!