Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/22/1997
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending May 22 include sightings of PAINTED BUNTING, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, BLACK-NECKED STILT, REEVE, WHITE PELICAN, SANDHILL CRANE, MISSISSIPPI KITE, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, and an announcement about the Higbee Beach parking.

A female PAINTED BUNTING was present at Higbee Beach from May 15 to May 17. The bird has not been reported since the 17th.

A SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER was reported from the circle garden on Cape May Point on May 17, but could not be relocated.

Two BLACK-NECKED STILTS have been present this week, seen at both the impoundments east of the Seashore Road canal bridge and at the South Cape May Meadows. The last report we have is from the 20th at the impoundments. Also present there was a WILSON'S PHALAROPE, last reported on the 21st, along with up to 6 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.

A REEVE (a female Ruff) was at the impoundments early in the week, last reported on May 17.

A WHITE PELICAN was seen at Thompson's Beach in Cumberland County on May 21 and was still present on the 22nd. Thompson's Beach is a left hand turn on the road to East Point.

Two SANDHILL CRANES were seen on May 21st over Cape May Point, but no reports there after.

Several MISSISSIPPI KITE reports were seen this week, topping out with four on May 21st. They were seen amid an outstanding spring BROAD-WINGED HAWK flight of about 200 birds.

Other highlights this week included MOURNING WARBLER at Higbee Beach on May 16, BALD EAGLE on the 17th over Lily Lake, SORA in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on the 17th, three BLACK TERNS in Cape May Point State Park on the 17th, at least 2 (and possibly 3) OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS on the 18th at Higbee Beach, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Higbee on the 19th, Dickcissel at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 18th, SWAINSON'S THRUSHES and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES at Higbee on the 20th, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in SCMM on the 20th, and a BARRED OWL at Higbee Beach on the 21st.

The State of NJ will again close the Higbee Beach WMA parking lots at the end of New England Road for the summer, beginning Friday, May 23. Higbee Beach WMA is still open to bird and butterfly watching, but you will have to either walk there or ride your bike or be dropped off.

Horseshoe Crabs are mating and laying their eggs in the high tide line and spring shorebirds are arriving daily to take advantage of these eggs as a food source. The state's Endangered Species Program's aerial surveys have found that the bulk of the shorebirds are on Delaware's beaches rather than New Jersey's. This could be due to the thousands of horseshoe crabs being harvested here in New Jersey. It was guesstimate that 250,000 crabs were harvested in the last two weeks from Thompson's Beach alone. NJ Audubon is calling for a complete moratorium on horseshoe crab harvest as soon as possible!

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are very regular now that they are back on territories. If you have feeders, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution.

CMBO's Tuesday evening Stone Harbor Point walks are enjoying the heronry at the boro park in Avalon between 71st and 74th Streets. This is the 2nd year herons, egrets, and ibis have nested here and they are thick this year, including up-close and personal looks at YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS on their nests at the north end of the park.

On Saturday, May 31st, from 1:30-5:00 p.m. CMBO has scheduled a special boat trip from Cape May to Champagne Island to witness the largest nesting colony of Black Skimmers in New Jersey. The island also is home to about 500 pairs of Common Terns & some years one or two pairs of Gull-billed Terns. It also draws in unusual birds. The fee is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers and space is limited. Be sure to call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to register.

CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is now open every day except Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We're at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen, either 1 mile south of the traffic light at Rt. 657 or 1.7 miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, brand new sign, large parking lot, and big new building beyond.

Local Nature Notes follow: A new butterfly for Cape May County was discovered on May 18th during our Cape May Spring Weekend -- a Common Roadside Skipper, which is quite a rare butterfly anywhere. It was found near Dennisville and again seen on May 21. Zabulon Skippers & Red-banded Hairstreaks are out, Henry's Elfins are still flying, Red Admirals, Question Marks, and American Ladies are being seen in good numbers. Every garden with milkweed in it is full of Monarch eggs. Looks like it's going to be an incredible year for Monarchs!

Focus on Nature Tours is offering an overnight Pelagic Birding Trip from Barnegat Light and going to the Hudson Canyon. The boat leaves Friday, May 23 at 8:30 p.m. and returns Saturday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. Cost is $89/person and reservations are required. Call 302-529-1876 for more information or to register.

CMBO's Spring Program Schedule is packed with fun field trips and workshops. Each day there are one or several different bird walks, butterfly walks, and boat trips. Stop by either center to pick up the spring program schedule with full details.

Special upcoming spring programs include "Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs on the Delaware Bayshore" field trips daily through May 28 (except for May 25), 2 boat trips to "Champagne Island for Terns & Skimmers" (one on May 31 and another on June 28), a "Dragonfly Workshop & Walk" with Bob Barber on June 7, an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 14 and much more! Pick up a copy of CMBO's spring program schedule for more details on our programs or call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more.

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 new Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores. The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point is open DAILY, 10-5. The Center for Research & Education in Goshen is open every day but Tuesday & Wednesday, 9-5.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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