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 6 include HARLEQUIN DUCK, ROSEATE TERN, BLACK TERN, PARASITIC JAEGER, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, accellerating spring migration, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.
Two HARLEQUIN DUCKS were seen at the Concrete Ship on May 1; although not without precedent, this is a fairly late date. Also on May 1 a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was reported from the Magnesite Plant on Sunset Ave. On May 4-5, observers were treated to some excellent spring sea-watching. Highlights included a ROSEATE TERN on May 4, and a Jaeger (sp.) the same day. On May 5, 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS were seen. Also seen along the ocean front was a BLACK TERN on May 6.
Spring migration has sprung this week, with new arrivals being seen daily. Here are some of the highlights. Up to a dozen SOLITARY VIREOS were seen on April 30 at Higbee's Beach. Also there that day was YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, and BLACK-THROATED BLUE and BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. CAPE MAY WARBLER was present there on May 6, along with WARBLING VIREO.
LEAST TERNS were seen daily this week, and 2 GULL-BILLED TERNS were at Goshen Landing on May 1. On May 4-5, hundreds of COMMON TERNS could be seen moving west to east past the Second Ave. Jetty in Cape May city, along with similar numbers of RED-THROATED LOONS and N. GANNETS. Also involved in these movements were smaller numbers of COMMON LOONS, ROYAL TERNS, BLACK SKIMMERS, and BLACK SCOTERS.
A trip to Belleplain State Forest at this time of year could produce HOODED WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, and WORM-EATING WARBLERS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, SUMMER TANAGER, SCARLET TANAGER, NORTHERN ORIOLE, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS. All were seen this past week at various locations in Belleplain.
We have a brief message for World Series of Birding Teams. The north end of Bull's Island in Hunterdon County is closed for construction, and you cannot walk into the campground. You can only walk as far as the end of the grassy field. YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS can be found, however, on the south end of the island, 100 yards south of the boat landing.
Local nature notes follow. The recent warm weather has butterfly watchers reaching for their field guides. Many species have emerged this week, including eastern Black Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. The warmer weather has also encouraged both dogwoods and beach plums to show off their blooms. Dragonfly watchers have also been rewarded and one of the early emergers was a new Cape May County record: Euler's Sunfly.
CMBO will be offering Nature Photography workshops this spring and summer. Basics of Nature Photography will be held May 8, and a Bird Photography workshop with Art Morris is scheduled for June 5. Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, is scheduled for May 29-30, and June 26-27. A dragonfly workshop and walk with Ken Soltesz, author of the Cape May County checklist, will be held June 19. All day butterfly counts will be held June 20 and 26-27. All these programs require pre-registration. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and details 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. Thanks for calling; good birding.