You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, with matters of interest and updates specific to the World Series of Birding combatants and their friends. Under vital statistics and items of particular note, tides at Cape May: Low, 3:05 PM, High 8:58 PM; remember, tides will be later up in Delaware Bay and in backwater areas. Rt. 47 is closed between the towns of Goshen and Reed's Beach. You can still reach Goshen Landing Rd. from the north. You can reach Reed's Beach from the south. The best detour is Hand Ave., connecting with Goshen Rd. Check road maps.
The Stone Harbor heronry is a bust: i.e. there are no nesting herons and egrets, except for GREAT EGRET. If you're looking for YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON and TRICOLORED HERON, your best bet is Nummy Island. Brigantine NWR, sometimes called Forsythe, requires a Duck Stamp or a Golden Eagle pass to gain entry, or you can pay a $3 entry fee. As a matter of courtesy to other drivers, remember to pull off the drive when stopping to look for birds; let other birders by. The next person to benefit from this courtesy might be you.
The Nature Conservancy has assured me that anybody passing a flashlight over the beach in search of Piping Plovers at the South Cape May Meadows will be terminated with prejudice. And if you think that you can live with that, be advised that your team will also be disqualified -- with extreme prejudice. Lyme-disease-carrying-ticks are endemic in North Jersey, and epidemic in South Jersey. Take precautions, and schedule some routine communal grooming time during your big day route.
Bird sightings follow, and they are geographically linked to ease transcription. The dates relate the most recent sightings known; undated sightings mean the birds were seen or heard today, May 14.
At Cape May Point, PIED-BILLED GREBE and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER are in Bunker Pond. The Lily Lake Coot is nowhere; I repeat, it is out of here. That's the end of an era. The Concrete Ship has hosted a GREAT CORMORANT up to May 13, and a BLACK SCOTER and a SURF SCOTER were also seen there the same day. PURPLE SANDPIPERS are still being seen there as well; NORTHERN GANNET, RED-THROATED LOON, and COMMON LOON are easy to find anywhere from Cape May over to the Concrete Ship. Of course we all know what's going to happen between now and Saturday.
At South Cape May Meadows there are two pairs of BLUE-WINGED TEAL, LEAST BITTERN and Virginia Rail calling, and BONAPARTE'S GULL was there May 13. A Snipe was seen May 14. (Parula Warbler is calling outside the window right now). To continue: PIPING PLOVER is usually feeding on the beach between South Cape May Meadows and the 2d Avenue Jetty. PURPLE SANDPIPER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, and SURF SCOTER have all been seen in the vicinity of the 2d Avenue Jetty this week.
The PURPLE GALLINULE has NOT been reported at the Beanery this week. RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, however, have been sighted there. At Higbee Beach, it's offering CHAT, BLUE GROSBEAK, WHITE-EYED VIREO. The SWAINSON'S WARBLER found Saturday May 9 has not been seen or heard since Sunday May 10.
North of the Canal, there are LESSER YELLOWLEGS along Ocean Drive in the first pond on the right northbound. The STILT SANDPIPER is gone. Sunset Lake in North Wildwood held 2 Bufflehead, 1 Oldsquaw, and Common Loon May 13. A GREAT CORMORANT was on Champagne Island off Anglesea May 13, ditto BLACK SKIMMERS and COMMON TERNS. Nummy Island has boatloads of shorebirds, including STILT SANDPIPERS -- check the northeasternmost pond -- and CURLEW SANDPIPER was seen May 12 on the south side of the road. WHIMBRELS and OYSTERCATCHERS are on the open flats. The LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER has not been seen all week, but two PEREGRINES have - not that we're implying any cause and effect, mind you. At Hereford Inlet, check for COMMON LOON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER.
On the other side of the peninsula, 15 BONAPARTE'S GULLS were seen on Toll's? Beach in North Cape May on May 9. At Reed's Beach, BLACK SCOTER was seen May 8. Killdeer and Horned Lark are at the Cape May County Airport. Those hoping to go to Reed's Beach should note that this weekend should be very crowded there given the publicity about the shorebirds; allow extra time. At Goshen Landing Road, there are GULL-BILLED TERNS at the Pond all the way at the end, and WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen at the first pond on the right May 12.
All the Belleplain State Forest endemics are in. Best roads are Sunset and Weatherbee. Look for HOODED WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, KENTUCKY WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, and ACADIAN FLYCATCHER.
One pair of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS is being seen at Cape May County Park; there is no nest. The STARLINGS saw to that. Also at the County Park as of May 13 is the most obliging PIED-BILLED GREBE on earth - it sits on the pond with the fountains right off Rt. 9.
At Brigantine NWR, GREEN-WINGED TEAL and BLUE-WINGED TEAL, N. PINTAIL, SHOVELER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, BUFFLEHEAD are all there as of May 12. And WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, GULL-BILLED TERN, "Pseudegrine" Falcon, and mirabile dictu, BARN OWL in the roofless hack box is there as you exit the loop drive. Check the Book of Lies for details. Don't leave Brig without SNOW GEESE and CATTLE EGRETS, and SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS; there is a distinct paucity of these species elsewhere.
Other sightings of note, that we only wish were still here, include: LINCOLN'S SPARROW and NASHVILLE WARBLER at the Beanery, May 10; BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK at Weatherbee Road on the 10th; SWALLOW-TAILED KITE over Cape May on May 8; BLACK-NECKED STILT behind Wildwood May 9; and another Stilt at the Heislerville impoundments May 11.
In closing, CMBO's staff wishes all participants in this year's World Series the best of luck. Be courteous of other individuals, respect property rights, obey all traffic laws, and when you get tired, when it stops being fun, stop.
If additional sightings warrant, this tape will be updated; new sightings will be tagged on to the _end_ of these existing sightings. Otherwise, see you at the finish line.
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 (email@example.com).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.