Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/18/1992
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 18, 1992, include SANDHILL CRANE, BROWN PELICAN, HUMPBACKED and FIN WHALE, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, GANNET, SOOTY SHEARWATER, POMARINE JAEGER, SANDWICH TERN, AVOCET, BLACK-NECKED STILT, BARN OWL, OYSTERCATCHER, COMMON LOON, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, summer nesting bird notes, local bird notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs.

A SANDHILL CRANE was reported from a whale-watching boat about two miles off Cape May's beachfront on June 18. BROWN PELICANs are here in force this summer. The first was seen on May 2; and recently, sightings have been daily, and of large numbers. Seventy were seen at 8:45 in the evening on June 12 off Cape May's beachfront. Other reports of Pelicans have come in from Cape May Point State Park and Hereford Inlet. So far the high count is of 130 Pelicans on June 16, at Hereford Inlet on the sandbar. This bar can best be viewed from Anglesea Drive in North Wildwood, or from Nummy's Island just south of Stone Harbor, or from Stone Harbor Point itself.

Observers out at 6:30 am, and looking offshore to where the Delaware Bay empties into the Atlantic at Cape May Point, have seen SHEARWATERS, JAEGERS, and STORM-PETRELS daily since June 12. The key seem to be to get there early. On June 12, sightings included 27 Wilson's Storm-Petrels, 3 Jaegers sp., and 2 Gannets. On June 13 there were 10 Wilson's Storm-Petrels, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Pomarine Jaeger, and 2 Gannets. On June 14, 11 petrels, 1 Gannet, and 2 Common Loons in non-breeding plumage. June 15 sightings included 8 petrels, 1 male White-winged Scoter, and 1 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. June 16, 1 WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, and 1 SOOTY SHEARWATER were seen. June 17, there were 5 PETRELS, 4 GANNETS, and 2 JAEGERS sp. Today, June 18, 2 PETRELS, 3 GANNETS, 30 BROWN PELICANS, and 20 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.

Capt. Ron Robbins of the Cape May whale-watching boat, Holiday, reported 3 Humpbacked Whales, 1 Fin Whale, hundreds of Wilson's Storm-petrels, 10 Greater Shearwaters, and 3 Sooty Shearwaters on June 17, about 3-4 miles off Cape May. An observer on the Cape May ferry, while crossing the bay on June 12, noted 150 Wilson's Storm-Petrels. Other interesting sightings around Cape May point include 2 Sandwich Terns on June 16 and one imm. Great Cormorant on June 17 at the Cape May Point state park.

Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge has been exciting lately with an influx of Avocets and a Black-necked Stilt. Fifteen Avocets and one Black-necked Stilt were seen there on June 12, and were again reported on June 14. Also at Brigantine, the Barn Owls are again using the old Peregrine hack tower in the fields at the end of the tour loop. They were seen there on June 14.

On June 12, the sandbar in Hereford Inlet known as Champagne Island was the site of a successful Oystercatcher nest; 4 chicks were seen along with 2 ROYAL TERNS by an observer in a boat.

A COMMON LOON lingers in the waters behind Wildwood; it was seen in the Intracoastal Waterway on June 12.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, here since late April, have been irregular at the CMBO feeders for the last week or so, and elsewhere, now that honeysuckle is in full bloom. Once the honeysuckle wanes they'll be back, so be sure to keep your feeders cleaned out and filled with fresh solution of 5 parts water to 1 part sugar.

June is our one month of summer when highlights are normally composed of nesting birds. Look for Least Bitterns in the State Park and the Cape May Meadows. Purple Martins and Rough-winged Swallows nest at the State Park. Higbees beach is good for many of the interesting land birds, including Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and no doubt some surprises.

Local nature notes follow. Japanese Honeysuckle is in full bloom. Multiflora roses are showing off with their multiple small white flowers. Day lilies are beginning to bloom on the roadsides, a favorite of the large Swallowtail Butterflies. Several local birders have been distracted with the butterflies and dragonflies, in the last 7-10 days, 48 different damselflies and dragonflies have been noted, and 36 different butterflies, all in Cape May county.

Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and 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, phone our office at 609-884-2736 or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 797 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point.

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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