Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/20/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's CapeMay Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending June 20 include news of MISSISSIPPI KITE, DICKCISSEL, BROWN PELICAN, N. GANNET, PIED-BILLED GREBE, an announcement regarding a special CMBO sponsored boat tour to Champagne Island aboard The Skimmer, news of breeding birds at Higbees, Hidden Valley, and "The Meadows," local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

4 MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen June 15th over Bayshore & New England Raods, including a full adult! A late mini Spring Hawk Flight occurred on June 16th near the Beanery, including an immature BALD EAGLE, 3-4 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, 8 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, 25 TURKEY VULTURES, and 6 N. HARRIERS.

A male DICKCISSEL was seen June 15 at the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge in the fields reached from Bobwhite Lane, which is just south of Kimbles Beach Road and the Refuge headquarters.

BROWN PELICANS are again regular at the Jersey Shore! 3 were seen June 17 from the Concrete Ship and the same day 1 was seen at The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (TNC or "the Meadows"). 6 N. GANNET were seen on June 19 from the Cape May Point State Park's beach.

A male PIED-BILLED GREBE is calling regularly from Lily Lake. It's call is haunting and literally comes through the walls here at CMBO, so treat yourself and do a bit of listening.

Bob Carlough, of The Skimmer, reports that this week just about all the marsh nesters have newly hatched young! From their birding by boat tours they've enjoyed lots of LAUGHING GULL chicks, FORSTER'S and COMMON TERN chicks, chicks in all the OSPREY nests now, and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER chicks!

Champagne Island, the sand island in Hereferd 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 pairs of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. BROWN PELICANS are regularly found roosting there from summer through late fall.Also, by July it's a favorite roost site for other terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate, Sandwich, Black, Caspian, and Royal Terns in the summer occur here! The Skimmer, a very stable 37 foot catamaran with open and enclosed viewing decks, runs three daily birding by boat 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. The special CMBO sponsored boat trip Every Friday evening from 5:30-8:30 p.m. will visit ChampagneIsland. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmerdirectly at 609-884-3100and say you learned of the trips through CMBO!

The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge has 9 PIPING PLOVER >nests this year.The chicks have hatched and might 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 there were 150 LEAST TERNS. TNC's refuge also has nesting LEAST BITTERNS, listen for their "woo woo woo" calls to give their presence away. Now through the end of August, TNC staff and interns are offering the following walks: Every Friday at 8 a.m. Clay Sutton, TNC's Naturalist/Ecologist, will lead a three-hour walk. The fee is $8. Every Wednesday and every Saturday evening at 6 p.m. TNC interns will lead one-hour walks for free.

Avalon's Boro Park at 72nd Street is harboring a sizeable 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 still unoccupied!

The Higbee Beach Parking Lots are closed now for the summer, but Higbee Beach WMA 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 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road -- and walk down to Higbees! Birding is great the length of>the road and once you get to Higbees explore the five fields and their hedgerows for nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS, 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 pastureand overlooks of Pond Creek Marsh, a freshwater cattail marsh. INDIGO BUNTING, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and PROTHONOTARY WARBLER can all be seen there. And the marsh has nesting LEAST BITTERN and COMMON MOORHEN.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are on nests now. CMBO's feeders are quiteactive. 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 distract our hummingbirds from feeders for the next few weeks, but continue to keep your feeders filled with fresh solution for their return.

Local Nature Notes follow: Hackberry Butterflies were seen this week at Union Lake and in Goshen. The 17 Year Cicadas at Union Lake had quieted, but those at sites>in Atlantic County were still very noisy . . . but it won't be long before they're all quiet, havingmated, laid eggs, and died -- not to reappear for another 17 years! A Variegated Fritillary was seen June 14 in The NatureConservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge; Variegated Fritillaries repopulate this area from thesouth each year and this is one of the first reports! The same is true ofBuckeye and one was seenJune 17 in North Cape May. In Cumberland County dark female Tiger Swallowtails were in evidence this week, as well as numbers of Delaware Skippers and Question Marks. Monarchs were seen laying eggs on June 17 and June 18 in Cumberland County. Spare the milkweed if you have a meadow. Orplant some in your gardens to ensure that monarchs have plants to lay theireggs on that will not be cut down! The heaviest Horseshoe Crab egg laying of the spring is occurring right now! Hundreds were on Sunset Beach at the Concrete Ship on June 19th and thousands at Thompson's Beach on the same date! [rest of nature ommitted]

News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include 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 "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" on June 29-30.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered every Sunday from >1:30-4:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as well as the Friday evening trips mentioned earlier on the Hotline. 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 underway and reguire no preregistration -- just come! Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a "Birds of the Seashore" walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or BillGlaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Every Friday Bill Glaser leads a "SunsetBird Walk" through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 6:30 p.m. Beginning in July a"Cape May Point Bird Walk" will be offered Every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.

Stop by our office andpick up the program schedule for more details or give us a call at 609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.

The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon >Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and preserve the ornithologicalsignificance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this birding hotline. For moreinformation regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, and the Observatory, call our officeat 609-884-2736 or senda 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 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open DAILY, 9-5.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Pleasereport sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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