Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/30/2002
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, May 30, 2002. Highlights from the last week include SWAINSON'S WARBLER, SOOTY SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, CORY'S SHEARWATER, GREATER SHEARWATER, NORTHERN GANNET, NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW, SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROW, MISSISSIPPI KITE, and news of lingering migrants.

The SWAINSON'S WARBLER that was discovered on May 1st along Jakes Landing Rd. was seen through Sunday, May 26, but it was missed by observers visiting this area on May 28 and 29. The bird may be gone. We will relay any reports we receive during the next week on the next hotline report.

Pelagic birding has been very good around Cape May. An amazing 224 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were seen in less than two hours from the Avalon Seawatch (7th and the seawall) on May 25th. More than 30 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS were seen from Cape May Point on the morning of May 29th. There have been several other reports of these two species during the last week, with sightings from Cape May Point, Poverty Beach, and Avalon. Whale watch boats from Cape May report these two species along with CORY'S SHEARWATER and GREATER SHEARWATER just a few miles offshore. NORTHERN GANNETS, almost all now immature birds, are still being regularly seen in all offshore waters.

NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS are moving through southern New Jersey in good numbers right now. Between 4 and 5 singing birds were seen along the closed portion of Thompson's Beach Rd. in Cumberland County between May 24 and 26, and 3 singing birds were noted at Jakes Landing on May 28th. SALTMARSH SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS, which nest in the south Jersey marshes, were also noted at these sites and at Stone Harbor Point on May 28th.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen above West Cape May on May 28th.

Songbird migration is winding down, though we continue to receive reports of many species. BLACKPOLL WARBLERS remained common throughout Cape May for most of the week. BOBOLINK, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLER were found at Hidden Valley on May 24th. BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, and WARBLING VIREO were seen at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area the same day. On May 25th, a CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER was seen near the Beanery (Rea Farm), while Higbee harbored MOURNING WARBLER and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. On the 26th, 2 CANADA WARBLERS were seen at Higbee. A WHITE-THROATED SPARROW has lingered in Cape May Point through at least May 29th. Songbirds that nest around Cape May are virtually all active in the breeding cycle and are being seen in the expected locations.

Shorebird numbers are still very high, as many birds continue to feed on horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay marsh and beach habitats. RED KNOTS, SANDERLINGS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS are the species most dependent on Delaware Bay horseshoe crab eggs during the spring migration all are still easy to find at many Delaware Bayshore locations.

Finally, we have just received an unconfirmed report from one of the whale watch boats of an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN seen today, May 30th, off Cape May Point and heading further offshore.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration, and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and include some reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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