You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending May 20 include: LARK BUNTING, MISSISSIPPI KITE, SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, GREATER SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, PARASITIC & POMARINE JAEGERS, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, BLACK TERN, ROSEATE TERN, MOURNING WARBLER, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.
An adult male LARK BUNTING was reported, from along Bayshore Rd. two-tenths of a mile from Sunset Blvd. on May 15. A full description received by CMBO effectively rules out Bobolink. The bird has not been seen since. Please excuse the previous hotline where we called this bird a Lark Sparrow; in the aftermath of the World Series, mistakes happen.
A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was reported from Higbee Beach on May 14. A GREATER SHEARWATER was seen off the Coast Guard Jetty on May 15, along with 3 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and a PARASITIC JAEGER. Both PARASITIC & POMARINE JAEGERS were seen from the Concrete Ship the same day.
MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen this week from both the Beanery, on each sunny day, and along the power line on Weatherby Rd. in the northwestern part of Cape May County. Three birds were present at the latter spot May 17. Also at Weatherby Rd. on the same day was a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE.
An adult male MOURNING WARBLER was present at the Beanery on May 14, while an adult female was at Higbee Beach on May 17. On May 19 a BLACK TERN was seen on the sand spit at Second Ave. Jetty, roosting with Common Terns, while a ROSEATE TERN was seen feeding with 150 Common Terns off the same jetty in the evening of the same day.
Passerine migration has been relatively slow this week, but some highlights include: WILSON'S WARBLER & RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, both at Higbee Beach on May 14; ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, at the same locality, on May 17; and a SWAINSON'S THRUSH at Cape May Point, also on May 17. A "BULLOCK'S" ORIOLE was reported from Central Ave. in Cape May Point on May 19. It was seen briefly but could not be relocated.
Some waterfowl continue to linger in the area. All 3 SCOTER could still be seen between Reed's Beach and Cape May Point along with RUDDY DUCK & RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. RED-THROATED LOONS are still present in very small numbers, and Common Loons are still present in good numbers. The Bayshore is literally packed with shorebirds. RED KNOTS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, & SANDERLINGS are present in large numbers, from Norbury's Landing north to East Point. Some are also being seen passing around the tip of Cape May Point. If you choose to view this phenomenon, however, please remember that many of the best viewing locations such as Reed's Beach are extensively privately owned, and the residents' privacy must be respected. At Reed's Beach, we suggest that you view the shorebirds from the end of the road, at the jetty.
This year's World Series of Birding on May 15 hosted 49 official teams from all over North America, Britain and Europe. The winning team was from Canada and was sponsored by Kowa Optimed Ltd. coming in with a dazzling 215 species [old record 210 in 1991]. The cumulative total seen by all 49 teams in 24 hours was 266 species. The CMBO team, sponsored by Wheelabrator-Gloucester Co., recorded 170 species in Cape May County alone, and placed 18th in the final rankings. They won the prize for the highest species list for a limited territory.
CMBO will be offering a Bird Photography workshop with Art Morris on June 5. Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, is scheduled for May 29-30, and June 26-27. A dragonfly workshop and walk with Ken Soltesz (author of the Cape May County checklist) will be held June 19; and allday butterfly counts will be held June 20, 26, 27. All these programs require pre-registration. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and details 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. Thanks for calling; good birding.