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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/16/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending May 16 include sightings of SWAINSON'S HAWK, BLACK-NECKED STILT, WILSON'S PLOVER, MISSISSIPPI KITE, WHITE PELICAN, local nature notes, and announcements.

A SWAINSON'S HAWK was present at Jakes Landing Road on May 15; the bird was seen as late as 4:15 PM that day.

One to two BLACK-NECKED STILTS have been seen at Goshen Landing Road this past week.

Up to six MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen on May 13 at various locations around Cape May, with one still present at the Beanery on May 14.

A WILSON'S PLOVER was seen at Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR, on May 11, while a WHITE PELICAN was there on May 12.

An excellent songbird flight occurred on May 10 at Higbee Beach. Highlights from there included NASHVILLE WARBLER, BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, WARBLING VIREO, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, and LEAST FLYCATCHER, among _many_ other birds.

A singing DICKCISSEL was at Higbee Beach, last reported May 13. A CERULEAN WARBLER was also there on May 13, and an EVENING GROSBEAK was at the Cape May Bird Observatory on May 13.

There have been lots of NORTHERN GANNETS off Cape May Point this week, far more than are usually present at this time of year; and an early WILSON'S STORM PETREL was off the point on May 10. Shorebirds are in on the Bayshore, though the Horseshoe Crabs are either late, or were hit so hard last year by harvesting that their numbers are frighteningly low. We will hope that they are late because it's been a cold spring, and maybe the water is still too cold.

The shorebird viewing platform at Reed's Beach is still one of the best places to go, but remember that Reed's Beach is a year-round community. Please park in the Marina parking lot at the end of Reed's Beach, where parking is $1 per car and supports ecotourism. View from the viewing platform or the jetty; do not flush the birds and do not trespass on private property.

The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge will eventually total 21,700 acres; to date, about 8000 acres have been purchased, and are open to walking access for birding, butterfly watching, nature study, photography, and environmental education. Please do not drive on any Refuge lands. There is no problem walking on Refuge lands, despite the boundary signs which look intimidating and say "Unauthorized entry prohibited." The Refuge HQ is on Kimble's Beach Road, off Rt. 47 just south of Reeds Beach. The fields along Kimble's Beach Rd. are Refuge property, and can be explored. THe next two roads south along Rt. 47 back onto the Refuge, Woodcock Lane and Bobwhite Lane; park at the end of either of these roads and walk to your heart's content. Be sure to let CMBO know what you find there.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back and are already on nests. CMBO has several males and at least one female in the area. If you want Hummers to stay and nest in your hard, you may want to hang feeders now, especially since gardens are sparse this time of year. Realize the task you are taking on; feeders need thorough cleaning once a week and frequent refilling; in spring, only put one or two inches of solution in your feeder.

Local nature notes follow. Spring butterflies this week included PINE ELFIN, BROWN ELFIN, BLACK SWALLOWTAIL, TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, JUVENAL'S DUSKYWING, PAINTED LADY, PEARL CRESCENT, EASTERN TAILED BLUE, RED ADMIRAL, and more. The wet weather puts a damper on activity, yet each sunny day they rebound.

Dogwood and Lilac are blooming now; Highbush Blueberry is in bloom, as is Huckleberry. Fowler's Toads are giving their baby-like cry, Leopard Frogs are giving a guttural call, and Green Frogs give a banjo-like plunking call. Carpenter Frogs are also 'hammering' out their calls.

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 (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

 
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