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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/1/1995
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 June 1, 1995, include: SOOTY SHEARWATER, MANX SHEARWATER, NORTHERN GANNET, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, MISSISSIPPI KITE, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, STILT SANDPIPER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, BROWN PELICAN, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, news of late spring migrants, an announcement about Higbee Beach, local nature notes.

Higbee Beach announcement: The State of New Jersey has closed Higbee's Beach parking lots for the summer. This does not mean that Higbee is closed, just the parking lots. You can still bird and butterfly the area- but you must be dropped off, or ride a bike, or park at the Hidden Valley parking lot further along New England Road. The parking lot closures are the state's attempt to address illicit activities that occur there during warm summer months.

May 28 SOOTY SHEARWATER reports came in from many places. Thirty were seen in the waters off Stone Harbor. Two were seen from the Cape May Whale Watcher boat. One was seen off the Cape May Meadows, and 4 were seen off Cape May Point. Trips aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry on May 28 produced a MANX SHEARWATER on the 7 AM crossing, as well as a WILSON'S STORM-PETREL on the May 30th 8 AM crossing. The Cape May Whale Watcher also reported WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, SOOTY SHEARWATERS and a Humpbacked Whale on May 29. And on June 1, another SOOTY SHEARWATER was in the surf right off the Cape May Meadows.

Two MISSISSIPPI KITES continued to be seen through May 30. Two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES 4 STILT SANDPIPER and over 100 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were seen at Brigantine on May 26. BROWN PELICANS are here again and being seen offshore.

Two COMMON NIGHTHAWKS have been seen daily this week over Cape May Point; they have been calling and displaying each evening. This may be the first breeding pair known to use Cape May Point.

A few landbirds are still migrating through. Two BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS, a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, a RED-EYED VIREO and an AMERICAN REDSTART were seen today, June 1, at Cape May Point. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was at Higbee Beach in the first field on May 30.

A CMBO field trip May 27 to Belleplain State Forest saw YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, PRAIRIE WARBLER, PINE WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, PARULA WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, HOODED WARBLER, & BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, as well as LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, OVENBIRD, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, SUMMER TANAGER, BLACK-VULTURE, and BROAD-WINGED HAWK. Maps of Belleplain are available at the Forest Field Office on Rt. 550.

Concentrations of RED KNOTS on the Delaware Bayshore peaked on May 21 and have now dropped off. RUDDY TURNSTONES are still at Reed's Beach in force; SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS seem to prefer the Cumberland County beaches at East Point and Fortescue. Reed's Beach is one of the best viewing beaches; it has official viewing platforms, good signage, weekend wardens, and specially arranged parking at the Marina at the end of Reed's Beach Road. The $1 parking fee helps build good will and promotes ecotourism. Through June 3, CMBO is offering daily naturalist-led field trips to witness this phenomenon.

The PIPING PLOVERS which breed in the Nature Conservancy sanctuary we call the Meadows are experiencing one of their best years, with 4 or 5 pairs present. Their nests are on the open beach and are very vulnerable to disturbance.On May 30 one of the Plover nests had 4 chicks. Also breeding here, in the freshwater marsh, is VIRGINIA RAIL.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are again breeding in the Cape May County Park on Rt. 9 just north of the town of Cape May Court House. They nest in the oak trees with holes, across the road from the Zoo.

The salt marsh habitat at the end of the road attracts a number of breeding birds like SEASIDE SPARROW, NORTHERN HARRIER, & CLAPPER RAIL. The pine stands along Jake's Landing Road are good for YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS which breed there.

Local nature notes follow. Belleplain State Forest is beautiful now, Mountain Laurel is just coming into bloom and lines many of the roadways. Honeysuckle is attracting RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS away from our feeders, but they'll be back when it wanes; be sure to clean the feeder regularly. Some inconspicuous flowers also in bloom now are Poison ivy and American Holly.

The spring butterflies are all but gone. One worn PINE ELFIN was seen this week. RED-SPOTTED PURPLES and the SWALLOWTAILS are now in evidence. LEAST SKIPPERS were suddenly common June 1. Be alert for thistle leaves that are webbed together; they are housing caterpillars of PAINTED LADY butterflies.

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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