Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/21/1992
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 21, 1992, include a LITTLE EGRET at Virginia's Chincoteague NWR, SOOTY SHEARWATERS and CORY'S SHEARWATERS, POMARINE JAEGERS and PARASITIC JAEGERS, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, WILSON'S PHALAROPE and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, and several reports of MISSISSIPPI KITES. And a late-breaking story, a REEVE on the north dike at Brigantine NWR on May 20, and a female YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD on the south dike at Brigantine, also on the 20th.

NJAS hosted the World Series of Birding on May 16. [Recap of scores omitted].

LITTLE EGRET has been seen on several occasions at Chincoteague NWR. Stop in at the Refuge HQ for updated information on the bird's location; or call the Virginia Rare Bird tape at 804-929-1736. To date it has been reliable; good luck.

A Pacific Loon off Wildwood Crest was seen on the Birdathon; it has not been reported since May 16. BROWN PELICANS were reported all over the Bayshore this week; 14 were seen on May 18 at the Villas; 11 on May 19 at the Villas; 90 on May 19 on the Delaware side of the bay; 58 at Cape Henlopen; and 14 were seen on May 19 at Cape May Point. GREAT CORMORANT was seen at Stone Harbor Point on May 16.

Favorable winds, big fish close to shore, and the annual spring migration have given several birders excellent looks at CORY'S SHEARWATERS, SOOTY SHEARWATERS, PARASITIC JAEGERS and POMARINE JAEGERS on May 20 and 21 of Cape May Point. Twenty-one Sooties and 6 Cory's were seen on the 20th. Twelve Sooties were seen on the 21st (a scope was needed). Two SOOTY SHEARWATERS were seen from the Avalon 8th Street Jetty on May 18, and 2 Sooties were seen on May 19 off South Cape May Meadows. The ferry crossing on May 20 turned up one SOOTY SHEARWATER and one WILSON'S STORM-PETREL. You'll have luck if you look for these birds off to sea from the meadows.

MISSISSIPPI KITES were reported several times during the week. Two were seen on May 18 on Stevens St. in West Cape May; one was seen on May 19 at the south end of the Garden State Parkway; one was seen on May 20 at Higbee's Beach. Two adult BALD EAGLES were seen at Reed's Beach on May 17, and one adult was seen on May 19. Look for the gulls and shorebirds to get very restless and scan the sky.

LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER was seen at Brigantine on May 16. A female WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen on May 16 on Ocean Drive on Nummy's Island. Also on May 16th, a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was seen on the Cape May Canal. Both these Phalaropes were seen by Birdathon teams. The shorebird numbers along the Delaware bayshore are building. You must put in some time to get to a relatively undisturbed spot; there's no perfect formula for finding the big flocks of shorebirds but those are rewarded who put in enough time. Please remember that the houses at Reed's Beach are private property; there is a legal parking area at the end of the road near the viewing platform.

The seabird extravaganza on May 20-21 also turned up six Jaegers, including two PARASITIC JAEGERS, one POMARINE JAEGER, and three unidentified JAEGERS. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen on the Cape May ferry landing, and on the dredge spoil area on the east side of the canal bridge. An ICELAND GULL was reported from the Cape May Meadows on May 16 and another on May 19th at Reed's Beach. On May 16th 2 ROSEATE TERNS were seen by several of the Birdathon Teams; one Roseate was seen on May 20th off Cape May. BLACK TERN was seen on May 16th flying over the bunker at Cape May Point.

The Champagne Island seabird colony is getting active, with over 380 BLACK SKIMMERS, 35 COMMON TERNS, and 12+ territorial AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS. There are still lots of Black Skimmers in the Heislerville Marsh.

There was a significant flying ant hatch on May 20, which brought the swallows out in force at Cape May Point state park. BARN SWALLOWS, TREE SWALLOWS, ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, and CLIFF SWALLOWS were all seen feeding in the swarm of flying ants. Philadelphia Vireo was seen at Merrill Creek (Sussex County) on May 16; a MOURNING WARBLER was seen at Cape May Bird Observatory on May 18; a DICKCISSEL was seen on May 17 at Higbee's Beach. The BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK has not been reported since Birdathon; it was reported behind the Blue Amber Motel in Cape May.

If you're on your way to Cape May this weekend, remember due to the holiday the Ferry will be crowded. Have a great time seawatching and watching shorebirds on the Bayshore. ++ 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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point.

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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