Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/2/1996
Hotline Cooperative mailing list, PROVIDED THAT no changes are made, credit is given and headers are included. Queries and comments to CMBO, please, not to transcriber. 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 2, 1996 include Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending May 2nd include SWAINSON'S WARBLER, SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, SANDHILL CRANE, MARBLED GODWIT, spring migrants, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A SWAINSON'S WARBLER was present at Higbee Beach on May 1st. It was in the wet woods beyond the raised platform in the first field. It was not seen or heard today May 2nd, however.

A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was seen over Lily Lake on April 26th. The bird was present for only about 15 minutes.

A SANDHILL CRANE was seen flying west along Sunset Blvd. on April 27th. It eventually circled Cape May Point State Park before disappearing to the north.

A MARBLED GODWIT was seen in the back bay near Two Mile Landing on April 28th.

Two reports were received this week that fell into the "possible' category. A bird thought to possibly be a REDDISH EGRET was seen along Stone Harbor Blvd. on April 28th. On the same day a possible PACIFIC LOON was reported from the toll bridge on Nummy Island. Both areas were searched to no avail the following day.

A few migrant warblers were in evidence this week. BLACK-THROATED GREEN and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS were seen at Higbee Beach on May 2nd and a NASHVILLE WARBLER was in Belleplain State Forest, also on the 2nd. Other interesting songbird migrants included: WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Hidden Valley Ranch on April 29th and at Higbee beach on May 2nd, PINE SISKIN on Cape May Point on May 1st and PURPLE FINCH and EVENING GROSBEAK at Higbee Beach on the 2nd.

Interesting shorebirds included WILSON'S PHALAROPE along Ocean Drive on April 30 th and at South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on May 2nd, and AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER along Ocean Drive on the 30th. BLACK TERN was at SCMM on April 30th, and LEAST TERNS returned there on May 1st.

The Tuesday evening Stone Harbor Point and Nummy's Island bird walks have been enjoying YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, lots of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS displaying, WHIMBREL, YELLOWLEGS, DUNLIN, and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, nesting OSPREY, and much more!

The Thursday morning Belleplain Bird Walks are enjoying each day's new arrivals. New this week were SCARLET TANAGER, SUMMER TANAGER, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, and EASTERN PEWEE. Many songbirds are here in force now. The May 2nd Belleplain walk had excellent looks at the Tanagers, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, BLACK-AND-WHITE, PARULA, BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS, and PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS. All of the regular Belleplain breeders are on territory.

The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge will eventually total 21,700 acres. To date about 8,000 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. But there is no problem walking on refuge lands, despite the boundary signs which look intimidating and say: "UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY PROHIBITED." The refuge headquarters is on Kimbles Beach Road, off Route 47 just south of Reeds Beach. The fields along Kimbles Beach Road are refuge property and can be explored. The next two roads south of Kimbles Beach Road on Route 47 back onto the refuge: Woodcock Lane and Bobwhite Lane. Park at the end of either of these two roads and walk to your heart's content. Be sure to let us know what you find there. We're calling these fields the "Red Barn Fields."

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are BACK!!! A male is visiting the feeders and gardens regularly now at CMBO. Males return first and set up territories, then females follow. If you want hummingbirds to stay and nest in your yard, you may want to hang feeders now, especially since gardens are pretty sparse this time of year. But realize the task you are taking on ... feeders need to be cleaned out thoroughly each week and refilled with fresh solution. In the spring you only need to put 1-2 inches of solution in your feeders.

Local Nature Notes follow: Spring butterflies are being enjoyed in numbers now that it has finally warmed up! Belleplain State Forest is an excellent place to enjoy Falcate Orangetips, Brown, Pine, and Henry's Elfins. CMBO's butterfly walk on May 1st enjoyed 50 Brown Elfins, 20 Juvenal's Duskywings, 1 Pine Elfin, and lots of E. Tailed Blues, Spring Azures, and an American Copper. The first Spicebush Swallowtails were seen April 28 and the first American Coppers on the 30th. A few Red Admirals appeared this week. Shadbush and Beach Plum are blooming now, both white and very delicate and lovely. Highbush Blueberries are beginning to bloom. And Dogwood flowers are just opening. Flowering Quince or Japonica is in bloom, a favorite with hungry hummingbirds. Woodpeckers are drumming. Many birds were seen building nests this week, including: Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Parula Warblers. Fowler's Toads are calling their distinctive baby-like crying call now -- "waaaaaaaaaa." Leopard Frogs are giving their guttural call and Green Frogs are giving their banjo-like plunking calls. Carpenter Frogs were also hammering out their calls. Snakes and turtles have come out of winter hibernation and might be found sunning.

CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include a Spring Butterfly & Dragonfly Field Trip on May 4, NJ Audubon's Cape May Spring Weekend May 17th through the 19th, a Weeklong Spring Birding Workshop with Pete Dunne and CMBO Staff May 20-24, Shorebirds on the Delaware Bayshore field trips daily May 20-29 (except May 26), an Osprey Nests by Boat trip on June 8, and 3 Butterfly Counts in late June.

CMBO sponsored Birding By Boat trips aboard The Skimmer are offered Every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and Every Monday from 9 a.m. to Noon. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3712.

Our spring daily bird and butterfly walks have begun and reguire no preregistrat ion -- JUST COME! Every Sunday (except May 12 & 19) Louise Zemaitis leads a Bird & Butterfly Walk at Hidden Valley meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road. Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a Birds of the Seashore walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30 a.m., and Mike Fritz leads a Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island, meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point Parking Lot. Every Wednesday Pat Sutton leads a Butterfly Walk in Belleplain at 9 a.m., meeting at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Every Thursday CMBO offers a Spring Birding in Belleplain walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office. This walk is also offered on several Saturdays, including May 4, 25, and June 1. Every Friday (except May 17) Fred Mears and/or Bill Glaser lead a Higbee Beach Bird Walk at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday (except May 11 & 18) Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a Birding Cape May Point walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Stop by our office and pick up the program schedule for more details or give us a call at 609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.

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 office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

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

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