Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/29/1995
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 29 1995 include sightings of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, BROWN PELICAN, NORTHERN GANNET, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, PIPING PLOVER, LEAST BITTERN, announcements, nature notes, etc.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL in second-winter plumage was seen June 28 from the beach front in Cape May Point.

Some good birds can be seen by scanning the waters off the beach front. BROWN PELICANS are being seen daily, feeding offshore or flying along the beach. Also look out for NORTHERN GANNET; two were seen June 28 off the Point. Other offshore sightings: WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, four June 28; ROYAL TERN, one June 21; and several BLACK SCOTERS and COMMON LOONS as well.

Young are hatching in the local colonies of GULLS, TERNS, & SKIMMERS. The Nature Conservancy's preserve on Sunset Boulevard is having the best year ever for breeding PIPING PLOVER, a Federal Endangered Species. There are 12 pairs this summer, and 11 chicks hatched as of June 25. This compares to a previous high of 5 pairs. There are also 25 pairs of LEAST TERNS. These nests are on the open beach, and very vulnerable to disturbance. VIRGINIA RAIL, COMMON MOORHEN and LEAST BITTERN also breed in the freshwater marsh on this property. LEAST BITTERN is also being heard at the Lighthouse Pond.

Two singing male YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT can be found in the Cape May State Park nature trails, one on the Red Trail and the other on the Yellow Trail. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are again breeding in the Cape May County Park on Route 9, just north of Cape May Court House. Drive straight into the Park, continue to the zoo (which is on your left), and the woodpeckers are in the oak woods to your right. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are regular at CMBO's feeders and in people's yards where hummingbird and butterfly gardens have been planted. Jakes' Landing has SEASIDE SPARROW, CLAPPER RAIL, NORTHERN HARRIER, and others.

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

Nature Notes:

The Cape May Butterfly Count was held Sunday, June 25 and it found 41 species; this is the 5th year of this count. APPALACHIAN BROWNS were discovered in 4 territories, including one south of the Canal. Five VARIEGATED FRITILLARIES were seen. Higbee Beach, Hidden Valley, the woods around CMBO, and other sites with Hackberry trees had HACKBERRY EMPERORS, TAWNY EMPERORS, & AMERICAN SNOUTS. The first BROADWINGED SKIPPERS of the season were seen. Road shoulders near salt marshes had SALT-MARSH SKIPPERS on Yarrow and Cow Vetch. SUMMER AZURES were out in force -- SPRING AZURES are gone. Dozens of butterflies flit along the trails at the Cape May Point State Park.

Many of the butterflies looked quite fresh, and newly emerged. The count was tough because, even though Common Milkweek and Butterfly-Weed are in full bloom, they were not attracting butterflies yet; most participants found butterflies by "kicking them up" while walking through overgrown fields and roadsides. We hope the two counts this coming weekend have better weather and nectar conditions.

Trumpet Creeper is beginning to bloom; it is a favorite with Hummingbirds. The CMBO butterfly garden has Bee Balm and Butterfly Bush coming into bloom.

[Program Information Omitted]

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 a send a request for info 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 9-5 every day but Monday.

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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