Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/23/1996
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 New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending May 23 include sightings of BLACK-NECKED STILT, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, RED CROSSBILL, MOURNING WARBLER, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

Eight BLACK-NECKED STILTS were seen flying by the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on the evening of May 20th. Five were seen the following morning at SCMM, presumably part of the same flock.

A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was reported from Cape May Point on May 19th, with no reports since.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen at Higbee Beach on both May 19th and 21st.

A RED CROSSBILL was on Cape May Point on May 21st.

MOURNING WARBLERS were at CMBO on May 17th, Cape May Point on May 20th, and at Higbee Beach on the 21st.

Three MISSISSIPPI KITES were at the Beanery on May 21st.

The last report of the SWAINSON'S HAWK at Jake's Landing was on May 18th.

Two BLACK TERNS were off Cape May Point on May 20th.

HORSESHOE CRABS finally came in, in good numbers on May 20th and have been building daily since! They're late this year due to several factors. We've had a cold spring and so the Delaware Bay waters have been very cold up to now and the crabs weren't triggered to leave the floor of the Bay and come out onto the beaches to mate and lay their eggs . . . that is, until now. Plus, all the rain we've had this spring. Crabs like salty water, not the low salinity waters that have been along the Bay beaches due to all the rainfall. Anyway, on the beaches in big numbers now and will be for the next month probably -- and with them are hungry shorebirds! Yes, by today, May 23, the beaches looked normal for mid-May -- they were darkened with the masses of feeding shorebirds. Mostly RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, with some RED KNOTS.

Consider going on one of CMBO's special Shorebird & Horseshoe Crab Field Trips, led by CMBO Associate Naturalist, Fred Mears -- offered daily now through May 29th (exc ept Sunday, May 26). Call CMBO to register or learn more at 609-884-2736.

The shorebird viewing platform at Reeds Beach is one of the best places to go, but Reeds Beach is also a year-round community. Please park in the marina parking lot at the end of Reeds Beach Road; parking is $1/car and supports ecotourism. View from the viewing platform or the jetty at the north end of Reed's Beach Road. Do not flush the birds and do not trespass on private property.

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."

Several Ruby-throated Hummingbird nests have been found in the last 2 weeks. CMBO's feeders are quite active. If you have hummingbird feeders in your yard, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Otherwise the solution ferments and can be dangerous to the hummers.

Local Nature Notes follow: On May 21 we noticed 100's of Cicadas emerging from their shells and climbing up trees or flying from tree to tree in Belleplain State Forest. The "Periodical Cicada" is known for its 13 or 17 year emergence -- so that once every 13 or 17 years there is a mass emergence. Looks like this is the year! This mass emergence overwhelms predators and permits the great majority to mate undisturbed. Quite a survival technique! The recent heat wave triggered many Painted and Box Turtles to come out of their haunts and lay their eggs. It also resulted in an emergence of Blue Dasher dragonflies and the early emergence of 100's of Seaside Dragonlets -- all seen in the field at Jakes Landing Road on May 21st. Wild Cherry and Locust trees are each in bloom now with their lovely white blossoms! With the heat butterflies are finally emerging and being enjoyed in good numbers. CMBO's Wednesday butterfly walk watched American Ladies laying eggs on Sweet Everlasting in the field at Jakes Landing. And alert observers discovered Brown Elfin caterpillars feeding on the developing fruit on Highbush Blueberry bushes in Belleplain State Forest. These caterpillars are bright green and slug-like, or semi-flattened.

News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include "Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs on the Delaware Bayshore" field trips daily now through May 29 (except May 26), a two-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" on May 25-26, an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 8, 3 "Butterfly Counts" in late June, and a two-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" again in June on June 29-30.

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 609-884-3100.

Our spring daily bird and butterfly walks are underway and require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Sunday, May 25, 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 Every Tuesday through May 28 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 through May 29 Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk in Belleplain" at 9 a.m., meeting at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Every Thursday through May 30 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 25 and June 1. Friday, May 24, Bill Glaser lead a "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday 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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