Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 5/9/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This week's tape ending May 9 includes sightings of BLACK-NECKED STILT, LARK SPARROW, WILSON'S PLOVER, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, MISSISSIPPI KITE, and more importantly, tips, lingering birds, and advice for the World Series of Birding participants.

On May 11 at one minute after midnight, 53 teams from all over the US and Canada and Great Britain will begin NJ Audubon's 13th annual World Series of Birding. This 24-hour birdathon will raise money for NJ Audubon's conservation work in NJ, as well as for the numerous other conservation groups participating in this event.

A few brief announcements for official teams:

--the finish line is at the Cape May Point State Park as always.

--All level one teams must submit their totals in person to officials at the finish line before 12 o'clock midnight EXCEPT the 2 "limited geographic area" teams that have arranged ahead of time to FAX their official checklists.

--Brigantine, or the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, has a $3 entrance fee.

--Lyme Disease is a problem in New Jersey. Please check yourself for ticks.

--Be sure to read the rules sent to each team captain, for instance: LURING BIRDS IN WITH RECORDED BIRDCALL TAPES IS NOT PERMITTED. Drive sensibly; any team that is charged with and subsequently convicted of a moving violation is automatically disqualified.

An announcement to all hotline listeners: The Higbee Beach Dune route out to the beach is open, but ALL other dune trails have been closed, and conservation officers are ticketing and fining people in the dunes.

The Beanery is NOT a public area; this is private property, and the farmers who own the fields have planted them. Please do not walk through the fields at the Beanery. Permission can be obtained from the owners, the Rays, to walk around the perimeter of the fields, but they do appreciate being asked.

Good luck to all teams and now on with the hotline.

A BLACK-NECKED STILT was seen at Goshen Landing Road on May 3, no further reports have been recieved.

A LARK SPARROW was in the Cape May Point State Park on Monday, May 4; it has not been reported since.

A WILSON'S PLOVER spent two days on Ocean Drive on May 4-5.

A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was seen briefly on Wildon and Lincoln Aves., Cape May Point, on May 5.

Two MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen this week, one over Woodbine, May 5, and the other the same day near Stipson Island Road, along Rt. 47.

A HARLEQUIN DUCK continues to be seen along the pilings on the Coast Guard base, as viewed from Poverty Beach. This is the Easternmost point in Cape May City, along the beach drive. A walk up the beach to the base property may be required to get an identifiable look.

A MARBLED GODWIT is being seen occasionally from Ocean Drive, near 2-mile Landing; on May 9 it was seen on Thorofare Island-- this is to the west of the tollbridge, on the north side of the bridge.

A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER along with BONAPARTES GULLS were seen at Norbury's Landing on May 9. BLACK SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS are being seen at several locations: both species are between Poverty Beach and the Coast Guard base; 4 SURF SCOTERS were along Ocean Drive in Cape May Harbor, a BLACK SCOTER was at Reed's beach, and several of both were off Stone Harbor near 114th st.

RUDDY DUCKS have been seen at the South Cape May Meadows; near the ferry terminal jetty on the north side of the canal; off Pierces Point (off Rt. 47 on the Bayshore).

GREEN-WINGED TEAL were seen this week in the South Cape May Meadows, and at Fishing Creek Marsh just north of The Villas. BLUE-WINGED TEAL have been seen in the same two locations. GADWALL are being seen regularly in the South Cape May Meadows.

An amazing 25 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were at Cape May Harbor on May 7. GREATER SCAUP, CANVASBACK, and RING-NECKED DUCKS were all at Heislerville impoundments on May 5. RED-THROATED LOONS have been seen off Poverty Beach, and off Stone Harbor at 114th.

NORTHERN GANNET has been present off the north end of Stone Harbor, and several were seen from Delaware Bayshore overlooks on May 9. A SNOW GOOSE was at the north end of Reed's Beach on May 9. A pair of AMERICAN KESTRELS is regular on the wires along Kimbles Beach Road, near the new Cape May National Wildlife Refuge office.

Both SORA and VIRGINIA RAIL have been calling from the Cape May Meadows all week, and LEAST BITTERNS were present there this week, for the first time this spring.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS have been seen regularly at Higbee Beach this week. WILD TURKEYS have been seen this week on Old Robbins Trail Rd., which is the first road off Jakes Landing Road; take it to the white cedar swamp. The Turkeys have been seen just past the white cedar.

Belleplain State Forest is again good for SUMMER TANAGER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, WORM-EATING and HOODED WARBLERS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, good roads to explore are Sunset Road, Pine Swamp Road, New Bridge Road, and Cedar Bridge Road. Jakes Landing Road has a good breeding population of YELLOW- THROATED WARBLERS, and SHARP-TAILED SPARROWS and SEASIDE SPARROWS can be found at the salt marsh at the end of Jakes Landing Road, or across the creek. This road is off Rt. 47 1.5 miles north of the WAWA Market in Dennisville in Rt. 47.

HORSESHOE CRABS began laying eggs about a week and a half ago, numbers built on May 3 with the full moon with about 150-200 crabs counted on the beach. The Shorebirds are arriving; RED KNOTS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS, & SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS are all being seen. Numbers will build each day until mid-to-late May. Thousands will be concentrated on the beaches of the Delaware Bay. Reed's Beach is a good viewing location but it is also a year-round community. Please Park in the Marina parking lot at the end of Reed's Beach Road. Parking is $1 per car, and supports ecotourism. Use the jetty or viewing platform; do not flush the birds and do not tresspass on private property.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are regular at CMBO's feeders. HERONS, EGRETS & IBIS are again nesting at Stone Harbor Pt. and on Sedge Island, directly inland from the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary; also for the first time they are nesting at Avalon's Community Park.

KILLDEER, HORNED LARKS & MEADOWLARKS are all likely at Cape May County Airport, which is southwest of Rio Grande and reached via Breakwater Road. The Commuter Flight parking lot is a good vantage point.

Higbee Beach has nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, BLUE GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING, WHITE-EYED VIREOS, and hopefully some migrants as well.

Some final words of advice to WSB participants: Don't over-extend yourself; keep up the record of happy endings to this event. Keep speed limits safe and tolerant, and please don't behave in a manner that would reflect negatively on this event or birding in general. Please don't give birding a bad name. Good luck, and see you at the finish line.

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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