Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/18/1995
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending May 18, 1995, include: RUFF, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER, PAINTED BUNTING, migrant warblers, vireos, and flycatchers, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, EURASIAN WIGEON, ROSEATE TERN, COMMON EIDER, EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL, SOOTY SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, results of the World Series of Birding [omitted - see May 14 edition -LL], local nature notes, and announcements.

A RUFF in breeding plumage was seen at Higbee Beach in the impoundment visible from the dikes, reached via the road to the jetty. The Ruff was seen the morning of May 18, flew and was not found again that day. The same area held two first-year LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS on May 13. A second-winter LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Thompson Beach on May 14. A LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER was reported at Higbee also on May 18.

A female PAINTED BUNTING was seen May 13 at Higbee Beach in the tower field, but amazingly, it was missed by all 54 World Series teams that day. The bird was rediscovered May 15 in the same field. A female CERULEAN WARBLER was in the trees around the parking lot at Higbee on May 13. Higbee held 2 WARBLING VIREOS, NASHVILLE WARBLER, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW on May 18. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and lots of warblers were there May 17; SOLITARY VIREO, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS were there May 16. In addition, the breeding birds are putting on a show, including BLUE GROSBEAK, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, & INDIGO BUNTING; migrant BOBOLINKS are to be heard calling there now.

Nearby, Hidden Valley held a RUSTY BLACKBIRD and 2 WARBLING VIREOS on May 13.

On May 13 at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge, WSB Teams discovered an immature male SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER in the field on the south side of the Barn Owl box. A male and a female LAPLAND LONGSPUR were on the dikes at Brig about 100 yards before the exit; and a male EURASIAN WIGEON was seen.

Nine ROSEATE TERNS were on a jetty off Cape May Point on May 12, and 4 were seen offshore from St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Church on May 13. Two were seen on the pipe in Bunker Pond, also on May 13. An immature male COMMON EIDER was seen on the sandbars in Hereford Inlet, viewed from the base of the "free" bridge to Nummy Island, May ??. On May 13, the same bird was seen on the shoreline of Nummy Island, seen from the road near the toll bridge, as one looks out into the inlet. Nummy Island is the salt marsh island south of Stone Harbor.

A EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL was reported as recently as May 12 using the South Cape May Meadows area east of the trails toward Cape May City. The PIPING PLOVERS which breed in the Nature Conservancy sanctuary we call the Meadows are experiencing one of their best years, with 4 or 5 pairs present. LEAST TERNS are also setting up territories there.

A SOOTY SHEARWATER and 8 to 12 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS were seen off Avalon from the 60th st. area on May 12. Two WILSON'S STORM PETRELS were seen from the Cape May - Lewes Ferry on May 10.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are again breeding in the Cape May County Park on Rt. 9 just north of the town of Cape May Court House. They nest in the oak woods across the road from the Zoo.

Many of the breeding birds are in at Belleplain State Forest, like YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, PRAIRIE WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, N. PARULA, WORM-EATING WARBLER, & BLUE-WINGED WARBLER. Also present, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, OVENBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, RED-EYED VIREO, SCARLET TANAGER. Pine Swamp Road, Sunset Road, and Cedar Bridge Road are good places to see these species. The pine stands along Jake's Landing Road are good for YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS which breed there.

WHIMBRELS are still migrating through and numbers were seen May 14 on the marshes near Nummy's Island. Also look for them at Shell Bay Landing, at exit 9 on the Parkway. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back on territory and their courtship displays have been seen this week. CMBO's feeders are a good place to see them.

The Delaware Bay shorebird gathering is in full swing. RED KNOT, RUDDY TURNSTONE, and SANDERLING in near- or full-breeding plumage are here en masse. Reed's Beach is one of the best viewing beaches; the $1 parking fee helps build good will and promotes ecotourism. Call CMBO for information on field trips to view the shorebirds in the next two weeks.

[World Series of Birding totals omitted; send me e-mail if you need a copy. -LL]

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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