Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/1/1997
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 May 1 include sightings of MARBLED GODWIT, KING EIDER, RUFF (at Forsythe), local nature notes, news that CMBO's new center in Goshen has opened, and news of our upcoming programs and field trips.

A MARBLED GODWIT was seen on April 26 and again on the 30th behind Wildwood by the Skimmer back bay birding boat trip.

A female KING EIDER continues to be seen at the jetty in Longport, seen this past week on April 27.

A Ruff was reported from Forsythe NWR (or Brig) on April 26.

Spring migrants are becoming more noticeable with each passing day. Some highlights include: RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in North cape May on the 30th of April, early warbler migrants like BLACK-THROATED BLUE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, AMERICAN REDSTART, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at various places, and numbers of SOLITARY VIREOS in several locations.

CMBO's Thursday morning Belleplain Bird Walks are enjoying all the specialty birds. They're back: LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, WORM-EATING, PROTHONOTARY, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS, BLACK-AND-WHITE, PRAIRIE, PINE WARBLERS, BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS and more! And a few Saturday Belleplain Walks are scheduled, including one this Saturday, May 3.

A handfull of Horseshoe Crabs have been laying eggs for about a month now. And today, May 1st, the first wave of spring shorebirds were seen on the Delaware Bayshore beaches. At Reeds Beach 200 SANDERLINGS, 50 RUDDY TURNSTONES, and 50 RED KNOT were seen. Numbers will build and should peak around the time of our Cape May Spring Weekend, May 16-18, and the following week when we have daily walks scheduled to witness this incredible phenomenon! Other shorebirds are in now too, including lots of WHIMBREL, SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and others.

CMBO's Tuesday evening Stone Harbor walks are enjoying the heronry at the boro park in Avalon, including close looks at nesting YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, as well as excellent looks at shorebirds, OSPREY, and sometimes even a rail or two.

CMBO's Hidden Valley and Cape May Point trips are enjoying waves of spring arrivals mixed in with the newly arrived breeders.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are setting up territories now! If you hope to lure them to nest in your yard, it is time to put up hummingbird feeders -- especially since our hummingbird gardens are no where near blooming yet. If you do put feeders up now, only fill them with one or two inches of sugar water since use will be minimal this time of year. Also be sure to clean your feeders out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Unused solution keeps for a month in the refrigerator.

CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen opened on May 1st and will be open every day but Tuesday and Wednesday. We're at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen, either 1 mile south of the blinking light at Rt. 657 or 1.7 miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, large parking lot, and big new building beyond. Our sign was vandalized, so currently there is no sign.

Local Nature Notes follow: CMBO's butterfly walk on April 30th enjoyed the first Pine Elfins of the spring, along with 100's of Brown Elfins, a few Henry's Elfins, Spicebush Swallowtails, an E. Tiger Swallowtail, lots of E. Tailed Blues, Spring Azures (all "violacea" form except one lingering "marginata" form), Pearl Crescents, several Monarchs, and lots of Juvenal's Duskywings. Falcate Orangetips are also out and a hotspot is the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge fields at the end of Bobwhite and Woodcock Lanes off Route 47, just south of Kimbel's Beach Road. Do not let the refuge boundary signs frighten you off; walking access is fine on nearly all properties in the Cape May NWR. We've been seeing Monarchs since mid-April or so and wondered what they have to lay eggs on. Common Milkweed is up about an inch or so and Swamp Milkweed is just peeking through the ground. Lilacs, Blueberry bushes, and Autumn Olive are all in bloom now. The Autumn Olives may attract in hungry hummingbirds. Young Great Horned Owls are branching now; they probably don't yet have their flight feathers, but they can hop from branch to branch and begin to disappear into the trees near the nest.

CMBO's Spring Program Schedule is packed with fun field trips and workshops. Each day there are one or several different bird walks, butterfly walks, and boat trips. Stop by either center to pick up the spring program schedule with full details.

Special upcoming spring programs include 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 2 birding bookstores. The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point is open DAILY, 10-5. The Center for Research & Education in Goshen is open Thursday through Monday, 9-5.

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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