Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/27/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory [CMBO]. Highlights for the week ending June 27 include news of MISSISSIPPI KITE, BALD EAGLE, PEREGRINE FALCON, PARASITIC JAEGER, CORY'S & GREATER SHEARWATER, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, WESTERN KINGBIRD, BOBOLINK, BROWN PELICAN, SHARP-TAILED SPARROW & SEASIDE SPARROW, ROYAL TERN, LEAST BITTERN, 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.

A subadult MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen June 21 over Cape May Point State Park. Could we have held onto them this spring and early summer because of the abundant 17 year Cicadas??? Also in the raptor news, an immature BALD EAGLE passed over Higbee Beach [Wildlife Management Area] on June 22. And an adult male PEREGRINE FALCON was hunting Sunset Boulevard on June 26 from the Magnesite Plant water tower.

An adult light form PARASITIC JAEGER put on a terrific show on June 21 as if flew over The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge [The Meadows or TNC], headed towards the State Park and eventually disappeared towards Lily Lake. It was picked up by another observer at the Concrete Ship. The Whale Watcher Researcher Center trips reported seeing both CORY'S and GREATER SHEARWATERS on June 25 and 26.

A SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER was seen briefly the evening of June 21 at the Meadows.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD flew over the Cape May Point State Park on June 26.

A southbound BOBOLINK flew over Sunset Boulevard the morning of June 21. Ahhhhhh, fall is here!

BROWN PELICANS have been sighted this week at Stone Harbor on June 23, 1 at Stites Avenue Beach on the 23rd, and 3 at the the Meadows on the 25th.

Both SHARP-TAILED SPARROW and SEASIDE SPARROW can be seen on Ocean Drive between Cape May and Wildwood Crest. Soon after you get onto Ocean Drive from the Parkway, look for the low grass area of saltmarsh between Mill Creek and Breezy Lea Marina. This is the habitat they prefer!

Unexpected in late June were the recent sightings of N. GANNETS and Scoters. On June 21st 2 immature N. GANNET, 8 SURF SCOTER, and 2 BLACK SCOTER were seen out over the ocean from the Meadows. From the Avalon Seawatch at 7th Street and the beach in Avalon, Dave Ward reports 25 N. GANNET going north on June 24, and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS moving on June 23 and 26.

A ROYAL TERN was seen at Cape May Point on June 20. And LEAST BITTERN nest in the Cape May Point State Park and can be seen in Bunker Pond or some of the ponds on the trails.

Bob Carlough, of The Skimmer birding by boat tours, reports that last week just about all the marsh nesters had newly hatched young, which are growing in leaps and bounds -- including lots of LAUGHING GULL chicks, FORSTER'S and COMMON TERN chicks, sizable 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 Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly 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 chicks they're keeping a close eye on. And LEAST TERN chicks should hatch this week. 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 pasture and 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, but in just the last week activity has really increased, making us wonder if some of the young haven't just fledged. CMBO's 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.

Local Nature Notes follow: 1,000's of WANDERING GLIDERS, with GREEN DARNERS, BLACK-MANTLED GLIDERS, and VIOLET-MASKED GLIDERS mixed in were in the air everywhere all over the County on June 26. They were so thick that it was hard for cars not to run into them. The Cape May Butterfly Count on June 22 was quite successful with a total of 39 species seen. It's been a late spring and early summer for butterflies, and by the very next day many more butterflies were seen than had been seen during the count. So, they're just "popping" or emerging! Highlights of the count include a HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING in the Cape May Point State Park at the end of the Blue Trail, 3 Hoary Edge at Rio Grande, HACKBERRY EMPERORS and TAWNY EMPERORS just beginning to fly, 1 Appalachian Brown at Rio Grande, and 3 on Fulling Mill Road. Hairstreaks were very low! No Banded Hairstreaks were seen and only 2 CORAL HAIRSTREAKS and 2 RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS were found. Just a few days later on June 24 100 Banded Hairstreaks were seen in Atlantic County. On the 22nd several fully grown MONARCH caterpillars were found, much to our surprise, since so few adults have been seen to date. Garden Fennel and Bronze Fennel has lots of Black Swallowtail caterpillars here at CMBO's garden and other gardens. Trumpet Creeper is just beginning to bloom in some locations, a favorite with hummingbirds. Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly Weed are coming into full bloom, all favorites with butterflies! Everlasting Pea is in bloom, great for skippers.

News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include 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 require 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 Bill Glaser 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 "Sunset Bird 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 and pick 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 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 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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