Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/26/1994
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 26, 1994, include: WHITE PELICAN, RED-NECKED GREBE, ROSEATE TERN, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, SWAINSON'S WARBLER, land bird flights on May 23-24, a note about the Delaware Bay shorebird phenomenon, local nature notes, and program notes.

An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was present around Cape May Point on May 20 and 21. It was seen the evening of the 20th roosting in Bunker Pond in the State Park, and the following day was seen soaring by birders at several locations. Up to three RED-NECKED GREBES have been present at the base of the toll bridge at Nummy's Island; they were seen as recently as May 22.

A ROSEATE TERN was seen on May 25 near the Concrete Ship. Late May and early June are a good time to see this scarce migrant tern. Look for it in feeding flocks of FORSTER'S and COMMON TERNS. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was seen on Sea Grove Ave. on May 24. This uncommon fall migrant has only been reported once previously in spring at Cape May. A singing LINCOLN'S SPARROW was present at Higbee's Beach on May 25. The SWAINSON'S WARBLER continues at Higbee Beach across from the new clamshell parking lot on New England Road. It has been present at this location since May 1, and the possibility it has found a mate must now be considered.

May 23-24 saw two excellent land-bird fallouts at Higbee Beach. Some highlights: the 23d saw about 20 species of warblers, including HOODED WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, and a late YELLOW-RUMPED. Also seen on May 23 was a late WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Hidden Valley. May 24 produced TENNESSEE WARBLER, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, SWAINSON'S THRUSHES and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES. Other landbird highlights this week included a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW May 21 at Higbee; MOURNING WARBLER and WARBLING VIREO on Sea Grove Ave. May 22; an EVENING GROSBEAK at Higbee May 22.

On the ocean front this week, PARASITIC JAEGER was off the Concrete Ship May 25, along with one WILSON'S STORM PETREL. A BLACK TERN and 2 ROYAL TERNS were on Bunker Pond May 26. The bulk of the shorebirds seem to be a little late arriving on the Bayshore this year. But by the morning of May 23 the beaches were covered with thousands of RED KNOTS and RUDDY TURNSTONES. An aerial survey of both sides of the Delaware Bay May 24, conducted by the NJ State Non-game Division counted over 362,000 shorebirds, of which over 166,000 were on the NJ side. The NJ beaches held 25,000+ RED KNOTS; 56,500+ RUDDY TURNSTONES; 46,000+ SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS; and nearly 17,500 SANDERLINGS.

This year Reed's Beach has two viewing platforms, and is well posted asking viewers not to harass the shorebirds. Excellent looks can be had from the platforms, often with birds as close as 15 feet. Walking beyond the signs and beyond the viewing platforms out onto the beach flushes the birds, and this is considered harassment, which is illegal. If you are inclined, we ask that you do not be afraid to speak to offenders, as they are often oblivious and may even be receptive to education -- especially after a good look at the birds in binoculars or a telescope. Should any situation deteriorate far enough, law enforcement is an option to report the offense. That number is (609) 629-0555. The NJ Non-Game Program has weekend Wardens; but no wardens are present mid-week, when much of the disturbance occurs. Anyone interested in helping as a Warden, please call Cathy Clark or Sharon Paul at the Non-game office in Tuckahoe, 628-2103.

We are asking anyone visiting Reed's Beach for the Shorebirds viewing to use the parking lot at the Marina at the end of Reed's Beach Road. This parking area has successfully relieved the parking problem, and the $1 per car fee is a boost to the local economy. If the attendant is not on duty, please pay as you leave, at Smoky's Inlet Store, midway along the beachfront road.

Local nature notes: Red-headed Woodpecker are again nesting at the Cape May County Park, just North of Cape May Court House on Rt. 9. When you enter the park, follow the road all the way to the Park Zoo; park here and look in the oak woods north of the zoo and behind the large green maintenance building. Belleplain State Forest is again good for Ruffed Grouse, Summer Tanager, Prothonotary, Hooded, Kentucky, Worm-eating and Yellow-throated Warblers, Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush. Good roads to explore are Pine Swamp Road, Sunset Road, New Bridge Rd., and Cedar Bridge Rd. Jakes Landing Road again has a good breeding population of Yellow-throated Warblers, and Sharp-tailed and Seaside Sparrows can be found in the salt marsh at the end of the road. Reach it from Rt. 47, 1.4 miles north of the Wawa Market in Dennisville on Rt. 47.

Once again, the herons and egrets are absent from the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. They have moved to the undeveloped southern end of Stone Harbor, and can be seen coming and going from the parking lot at the end of Second Ave. Piping Plover are again nesting at the end of the Cape May Meadows, and this year there are three pairs, an increase. A colony of Least Terns is using the same beachfront to nest. Higbee Beach has a number of nesting Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Yellow Warblers, and White-eyed Vireos, all of which are quite vocal from the hedgerows. Black Locust, Wild Cherry, and Tulip Poplar are in bloom, attracting much insect and bird activity. Red-spotted Purples and Black Swallowtail Butterflies emerged this week and are numerous. ...

[Program notes omitted -LL] 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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