Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 4/4/2002
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, April 4, 2002. Highlights from the last week include COMMON REDPOLL, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, and NEWS OF RETURNING MIGRANTS.

A fly-over COMMON REDPOLL was noted from Sunset Beach on April 2nd.

Cape May Point's overwintering CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen along Yale Ave. on March 31st, where it was traveling with WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was found at Cape May Point State Park on April 3rd, perhaps one of the birds seen in the park on and off all winter. The park's wintering YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was most recently reported March 30th.

A dark morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was seen at Turkey Point, in Cumberland County, on March 29th.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen March 31st on the Cape May side of the southernmost toll bridge along Ocean Drive.

Other news is primarily about the progress of migration. LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES have returned, with most reports coming from nesting areas along streams in Belleplain State Forest. YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS and PINE WARBLERS are also on territory in Belleplain. A NORTHERN PARULA was seen near Hidden Valley on Cape Island on April 2. BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, BARN SWALLOWS, MARSH WRENS, and CHIMNEY SWIFTS are back and being reported from many locations. GLOSSY IBIS were very frequently seen flying over Cape May during the last week. OSPREY have returned to many nesting platforms in the County's salt marshes. We have received our first reports recently of returning LITTLE BLUE HERONS. A NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW was seen at Belleplain on April 4th. A CATTLE EGRET was seen at the Cape May County Airport on April 3rd. A WHIP-POOR-WILL was seen along Jakes Landing Road on March 28th. A VIRGINIA RAIL was heard calling at the South Cape May Meadows on April 1st. A NORTHERN BOBWHITE was calling near Hidden Valley on March 31st.

A number of winter birds may still be seen around Cape May. Two TUNDRA SWANS continue at Bunker Pond, Cape May Point State Park. WINTER WRENS are still being reported. RED-THROATED LOONS and NORTHERN GANNETS continue to gather at the mouth of Delaware Bay, most easily observed from Sunset Beach. GANNETS continue to be easily seen most days following the ferry as it crosses the Bay. COMMON LOONS and HORNED GREBES, many molted into breeding plumage, are being seen around Stone Harbor Point and in Sunset Lake, Wildwood Crest.

Avalon's GREAT HORNED OWLS continue to be enjoyed by many birders. A nest is conspicuous on an Osprey platform that is easily seen from the end of 5th Ave., just north of its junction with 20th St.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration, and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and include some reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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