Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/28/1992
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 28, 1992, include a LITTLE EGRET at Virginia's Chincoteague NWR, SOOTY SHEARWATERS, BROWN PELICANS, shorebirds including some notable species at Brigantine, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, PARASITIC JAEGERS, POMARINE JAEGERS, and late migrant passerines. A Little Egret continues at Chincoteague NWR in Virginia. It retains the breeding plumes characteristic of this species but its lores are a pale color making it more difficult to locate. Stop in at the Refuge HQ for more up-to-date information on the bird's location or call the Virginia RBA at 804 929 1736. To date this bird has been a reliable chase bird. While there, look for an adult male Garganey, seen there on the 24th, not seen on the 25th, and seen only very briefly on the 26th. BROWN PELICANS were reported all over the Bayshore in flocks ranging in size from 2 to 17 birds; most any place that overlooks water could produce Pelican sightings. The only GREAT CORMORANT reported was one imm. in the Lewes, Delaware, harbor on May 21. Favorable winds, baitfish close to shore, and the annual spring migration gave several birders chances to practice their seabird identification skills without the threat of mal-de-mer. SOOTY SHEARWATERS, POMARINE JAEGERS, AND PARASITIC JAEGERS were seen from Champagne Island, Saint Mary's in Cape May, Cape May Point State Park, Sunset Beach, Higbee Beach, and South Cape May Meadows. Six Sooties and one adult PARASITIC JAEGER were seen on the 26th; and an adult POMARINE JAEGER was seen from the Meadows on the 22d. A few lingering water birds continue to be reported from various sites south of the Cape May Canal, including RED-THROATED LOONS (5 were seen on May 21); N. GANNET and BLACK SCOTER, SURF SCOTER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. MISSISSIPPI KITES were reported several times during the week. One was over the Beanery on the 23d, and 2 were there on the 24th. Singles were seen at 3 other places; the farthest north they've been seen is at Norbury's Landing. All were reported as subadults. The near daily watch for Kites at the Beanery by a few local birders has produced the usual variety of other raptors. Species seen almost daily, with maxima for the week, are TURKEY VULTURE, maximum of 5; OSPREY, mamimum of 3; N. HARRIER, 2; RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 2; BROADWINGED HAWK, 15; RED-TAILED HAWK, 4. Others include 2 BLACK VULTURES, seen today, May 28th; a few late COOPER'S HAWKS and SHARPSHINNED HAWKS, seen during the week; a MERLIN on the 23d; and an adult PEREGRINE on the 24th. Shorebirds abound on the Delaware Bayshore and can be seen from most any Bayshore access site. On the weekends, the birds get moved around a lot by beachgoers so some searching may be required. One good spot is Norbury's Landing north of the Villas, where a volunteer warden does a good job of keeping people off the beach. Please remember that the houses at Reed's Beach are private property, and there is a legal parking spot near the end of the road at the viewing platform. Interesting shorebirds reported from Brigantine this weekend include BLACK-NECKED STILT on the 23d and CURLEW SANDPIPER and HUDSONIAN GODWIT on the 26th. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS are being found at the Ferry landing and the dredge spoils on the east side of the canal bridge. These birds are all first summer birds, so check your gull book before you come to look for them. The Champagne Island colony is getting active with over 380 BLACK SKIMMERS, 100 COM. TERNS, and 12+ pairs of Black [sic - I'm sure they mean American] Oystercatchers. 6 PIPING PLOVERS were seen on Champagne Island on the 22d. The island can be viewed fairly well from N. Wildwood, though birds on the ocean side of the island would not be visible. It was a fairly good week for migrant passerine enthusiasts; most every morning has brought good numbers and variety at Higbee Beach and the Beanery. The dominant species have been MAGNOLIA WARBLERS and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS and AMERICAN REDSTART, among over 20 species reported this week. Other passerines reported this week include YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER at Higbee's and the Beanery; CLIFF SWALLOW at the 2d Avenue jetty; GRAY-CHEEKED and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW all seen at Higbee's. ++ 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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