Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/14/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending June 14 include: MISSISSIPPI KITE, GULL-BILLED TERNS, ROSEATE TERNS, BLACK TERNS and ROYAL TERNS, SOOTY SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, RED KNOT, an announcement regarding a special CMBO Boat Tour to Champagne Island aboard The Skimmer, news of breeding birds at Higbee, Hidden Valley and the Meadows, local nature notes and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen June 12 over Lily Lake. GULL-BILLED TERNS are nesting on Champagne Island again, which explains their presence on June 11 at the water lily covered pond on Route 9 just south of the Cape May County Park and on June 10 at Beaver Swamp Wildlife Management Area, also a water lily covered area. In each case, they were feeding on frogs that they picked off the water lily leaves.

A ROSEATE TERN was seen at the Cape May Point State Park on June 10. A BLACK TERN was at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge on June 7 at the east dike. A SOOTY SHEARWATER was in Delaware Bay about 2 miles off Pearson's Point the evening of June 10. WILSON'S STORM PETREL are being seen from shore as they dance over the off-shore waters. Two were seen in the Delaware Bay from the [Cape May-Lewes] ferry on June 11 along with a NORTHERN GANNET. To see these sea birds from land, scan the horizon for small dark birds about the size of a Barn Swallow that look like they are dancing on the water, turning back and forth as they feed on bits and pieces of food on the water's surface. The beach at Corson's Inlet State Park on June 8 and 9 held 6 RED KNOT, 1 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and 6 ROYAL TERNS.

CMBO's Osprey Nest by Boat boat trip on Saturday, June 8 aboard The Skimmer delighted in excellent looks at numerous pairs of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, some with big, fluffy young. Also seen were FORSTER'S and COMMON TERNS on their nests in the wrack line on the marsh edge of creeks and many OSPREY at nests on duck blinds, old fishing boats, channel markers and man-made platforms. Between Cape May and the Wildwoods, we saw probably 40 Osprey nests. Some of the nests had newly hatched young. We also enjoyed several heron and egret rookeries on marsh islands. At high tide, from the boat trip, we saw hundreds of Horseshoe Crabs mating on creek edges in the Atlantic Coast marshes behind the Wildwoods.

The Skimmer runs 3 daily trips and each week. The Friday evening, Sunday afternoon and Monday morning trips are sponsored by CMBO and benefit CMBO. Details follow and are found at the end of this tape in program information.

Champagne Island, the sand island in Hereford Inlet between Stone Harbor and North Wildwood is the site of the largest nesting colony of BLACK SKIMMERS in the State with about 500 pairs as well as about 500 pairs of nesting COMMON TERNS and several pair of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. BROWN PELICANS are regularly found roosting there from summer to late fall. Also, by July it's a favorite roost site for other terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sighting of Roseate, Sandwich, Caspian, Black and Royal Terns in the summer occur on Champagne Island.

The Skimmer, a very stable 30' catamaran, with open and enclosed viewing decks, now offers a special CMBO sponsored boat trip every Friday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 pm to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call the The Skimmer directly at (609)884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO.

During the Nature Conservancy's weekly Friday morning walk at the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge led by Clay Sutton, the June 14th group enjoyed the following goodies: 10 BLACK SCOTER, 2 SURF SCOTER, 1 NORTHERN GANNET, 12 SANDERLING, 1 NORTHERN HARRIER and 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. The Nature Conservancy's (TNC)Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge has 9 PIPING PLOVER nests this year. Many of their chicks have hatched and may be found along the tide line feeding or in the safety of the unpeopled upper beach. The LEAST TERN colony is again healthy this year. A count several weeks ago determined that there were 150 LEAST TERNS. TNC's Refuge also has nesting LEAST BITTERNS. Listen for their "wok wok wok" call to give their presence away. Now through the end of August, TNC staff and interns are offering the following walks. Every Friday at 8am, Clay Sutton, TNC's Naturalist/Ecologist will lead a 3 hour walk. The fee is $8. Every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 6pm, TNC interns will lead 1 hour walks for free.

Avalon's Borough Park at 72nd Street is harboring a sizable heronry this summer including numbers of nesting BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS and YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, GLOSSY IBIS and Egrets. This is excellent news now that the Stone Harbor heronry is again unoccupied.

The Higbee Beach parking lots are closed now for the summer but Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area is still open to birding and butterfly watching. Park in the Hidden Valley Parking lot, which is the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road about .3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road and walk down to Higbee'a. Birding is great the length of the road and once you get to Higbee, explore the five fields and their hedgrows for nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, PRAIRIE WARBLERS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, BLUE GROSBEAKS, WHITE-EYED VIREOS and more. Many of these same birds nest at Hidden Valley. There, explore the fields, the wet woods and the inner pasture and overlook over Pond Creek Marsh, a freshwater, cattail marsh. INDIGO BUNTINGS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ORCHARD ORIOLE and PROTHONOTARY WARBLER were all seen at Hidden Valley this week and the marsh has nesting LEAST BITTERNS and COMMON MOORHEN. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are on nest now and CMBO feeders are quite active. If you have hummingbird feeders in your yard, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution, otherwise the solution ferments and can be dangerous to the hummers. Japanese Honeysuckle is in full bloom and will disract our hummers from the feeders for the next few weeks but continue to keep your feeders filled with fresh solution for their return.

Local Nature Notes follow: Observers at Higbee Beach and Hidden Valley reported a good assortment of butterflies for June 6 including: a Hayhurst's Scallopwing at Higbee; Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails, 10 Question Marks, Mourning Cloak, Viceroy, Little Wood Satyr, Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper, Least Skipper, male and female Zabulons and Cabbage White. [rest of nature notes omitted]

News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include: a member's night on June 19 at 7:30 pm featuring a slide presentation tour by Pat Sutton on butterfly and hummingbird gardens she has known. The Cape May Butterfly Count on June 22, the Belleplain Butterfly Count on June 28, the Cumberland Butterfly Count on June 29 and a two day Birdwatching for Beginners course on June 29 and 30. CMBO sponsored Birding by Boat trips aboard The Skimmer are offered every Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 pm and every Monday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm as well as the Friday evening trips mentioned earlier on the hotline to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at (609) 884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO. Our daily bird walks are under way and require no preregistration, just come: every Tuesday Pete Dunne or some of the CMBO Associate Naturalists will lead a bird to seashore walk through the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge meeting at 7:30 am; every Saturday Tom Parsons or Fred Mears or Bill Glaser lead a birding Cape May Point walk meeting at 7:30 am at the raised picnic pavilion at Cape May Point State Park. Every Friday, Bill Glaser leads a sunset birding walk through the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge meeting at 6:30 pm. Beginning in July, a Cape May Point bird walk will be offerred every Wednesday at 7:30 am. Stop by our office and pick up our program schedule for more details or give us a call at (609) 884-2736 and we'll send you one.

The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research unit of the New Jersey Aubudon Society. Our aim is to 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 and the Observatory, call our office at (609) 884-2736 or send a request for information to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. We're open daily from 9 to 5. The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings in Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thanks for calling and good birding.

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