Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/24/1997
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 24 include sightings of POMARINE JAEGER, ICELAND GULL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, RUFF and EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL (at Forsythe NWR), local nature notes, news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A POMARINE JAEGER was reported on April 20 about 250 yards off the Concrete Ship. The bird was seen well and in direct comparison to both LAUGHING and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS.

An ICELAND GULL was present at the Seawatch in Avalon (7th St. and the beach) on April 17-19.

A HARLEQUIN DUCK was reported from the jetty in Longport on April 20.

Forsythe NWR (or Brig) had a RUFF this week on the 17th and 18th of April, while a EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL was there on the 20th.

Uncommon in spring at Cape May, a CASPIAN TERN was seen at Lily Lake on April 19th. Also on the 19th the seasons first BLACK SKIMMERS were seed crossing Delaware Bay, while two BALD EAGLES were over the State Park (1ad., 1 imm.)

Cold damp weather has prevented any sizable passerine movements. Good numbers of OVENBIRDS have returned to Belleplain State Forest, while the first EASTERN KINGBIRDS were seen this week on the 21st, as was the first NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH on the same date.

WILLET have returned in good numbers to bayshore salt marshes, but reports of other shorebirds have been few. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was seen at Lily Lake on April 23.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back! A male was at a feeder in Goshen on April 21 and CMBOs feeders in Cape May Point attracted one on April 24. If you are hoping to lure hummingbirds to nest in your yard, it is time to put up hummingbirds feeders especially since our hummingbird gardens are nowhere near blooming yet. If you do put feeders up now, only fill them with only fill them with one or two inches of sugar water since use will be minimal at this time of year. Also be sure to clean your feeders out thoroughly each week and refill them with fresh solution. Unused solution keeps for a month in the refrigerator.

Local Nature Notes follow: Many of our winter birds are still here in force BRANT, PURPLE SANDPIPERS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, and at the same time spring arrivals are arriving daily. This time of year is a wonderful mix that way. GOLDFINCH are getting golden now. Wild mustards and shadbush are in bloom. Lilac and Beach Plum bushes are about to bloom. And on warm days butterflies are flying. The spring butterflies have been enjoyed lately, like Henrys and Brown Elfins and Falcate Orangetips. Monarchs are being seen as they repopulate this area. And Monarch, their host plant, is just peeping through the ground. .. thankfully, since these Monarchs need to lay eggs and create the next generation of Monarchs who will journey even further north to eventually reach Canada.

CMBO's Spring Program Schedule is packed with fun field trips and workshops. Each week 9 different bird and/or butterfly walks are offered, details follow. Every Monday, a "Birding by Boat" trip explores the back bay areas from 9:30 to 12:30 pm. This trip is aboard "The Skimmer," as 37-foot catamaran with open and enclosed viewing decks. Call 884-3100 to register for these CMBO sponsored "Birding by Boat" trips. 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. Every Sunday, a "Birding by Boat" trip explores the back bay areas from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Call 884-3100 to register for these CMBO sponsored "Birding by Boat" trips.

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 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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