Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/4/1992
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 4, 1992, include ATLANTIC PUFFINS, SOUTH POLAR SKUA, lingering winter ducks, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS, WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, and Acadian Flycatchers, and the tail end of the spring passerine migration. A new species of butterfly was added to the county list, along with two new dragonflies. In a follow-up to last week's big story, we've recieved no report about the LITTLE EGRET at Chincoteague this week.

The biggest birding news this week was from a pelagic trip out of Barnegat Light on May 30. The trip made it all the way out to the Hudson Canyon, and observers were treated to 8 ATLANTIC PUFFINS. This is a record late date for this species, and a record daily high count.

Observers also had excellent looks at 4 SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, 10 LEACH'S STORM PETRELS in with the WILSON'S STORM PETRELS, one CORY'S SHEARWATER, at least 60 GREATER SHEARWATERS, lots of SOOTY SHEARWATERS, 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and 5 RED PHALAROPES, 12 Pomarine and one PARASITIC JAEGER, KITTIWAKE, FULMAR, and ARCTIC TERN. The trip also produced excellent looks at a pod of pilot whales, several Mola-mola, also known as Ocean Sunfish, and lots of Blue Sharks.

A whale watching trip on the "Holiday" whale-watching boat out of Cape May found birds somewhat closer to shore. Just a few miles off Cape May, Sooty and Cory's Shearwaters were reported on May 28 and June 1. Wilson's Storm-Petrels were reported about ten miles off Cape May on May 28. Fin and Humpback whales were also reported from the same boat.

Those who stayed on land this week also reported interesting birds. A Sooty Shearwater was seen near the Madison Ave. jetty on May 29, and a second Sooty was seen off the Cape May Meadows on June 1. Gannets continue to linger, with one reported off the State Park on June 2. Brown Pelicans were reported all over the place this week, from Cape May Point to Fortescue, up to Egg Island Point, over at Lewes Delaware, Kimball's Beach, and Moore's Beach.

LEAST BITTERN has been putting in appearances at the Meadows, on May 29 and June 1; and at the State Park on June 2. Off Alexander Ave. on Cape May Point, one GREATER SCAUP and 6 SURF SCOTER were seen on June 2; four BLACK SCOTER were seen at the State Park on June 2 also. An adult Bald Eagle was seen at Reed's Beach on June 2. King Rail was seen at the Meadows on June 3. Virginia Rail was heard calling at the Meadows on June 1. Brigantine hosted 14 Avocets on May 30. Two Avocets were reported from Brig on June 2. The reports we have say the habitat at Brigantine looks just great for shorebirds this year.

Two PURPLE SANDPIPERS were seen on May 30, at the middle jetty at Cape May Point. The shorebirds are thinning out a bit along the Bayshore, but there are still thousands of RED KNOTS, TURNSTONES, and SANDERLINGS feeding on the horseshoe crab eggs.

PARASITIC JAEGER was seen on May 29 off the concrete ship, and on June 3, three different first-winter plumage Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen feeding at Fortescue, along with hundreds of HERRING GULLS and GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS. A CASPIAN TERN was seen at the State Park on June 2.

Higbee's Beach was flycatcher heaven on June 1, with Olive-sided, two Willows, one Acadian, and three E. WOOD-PEWEES reported. An ALDER FLYCATCHER was reported from Higbees on June 2. Also at Higbees on June 1 were 13 species of WARBLERS, including BLACKBURNIAN, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, PALM WARBLER, BLACKPOLL, PINE WARBLER, AM. REDSTART, and 12 Red-eyed vireos. Mouring Warbler was reported from Higbee's on June 2. The warbler extravaganza continued on June 3, with KENTUCKY, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, AND BLACKBURNIAN. A late WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was seen on June 2 on Cherry Hill Road in North Cape May.

Other nature notes include two new county records, one for EASTERN RED DAMSELFLY, and another for AMBER SPREADWING, seen at the Tar Kiln Bog on May 31. Other species of dragonfly and damselfly reported from the same area include: PETITE EMERALD, YELLOW-SIDED SKIMMER, SOUTHERN SPRITE, SPHAGNUM SPRITE, ELFIN SKIMMER, PINE BARRENS BLUET, WHITE CORPORAL SKIMMER, AURORA DAMSEL, and the GEORGIA RIVER CRUISER. CALICO PENNANT dragonfly and CITRINE FORK-TAIL dragonflies are out in number at Higbee's. SPANGLED SKIMMER, EASTERN PONDHAWK, BLUE DASHERS, CORPORAL SKIMMERS, and PAINTED SKIMMERS were all at Beaver Dam June 1.

Butterfly watchers also had their own county record this week. DUSTED SKIPPER was recorded from Weatherby Road on June 3, bringing the county list to 101 species. Other butterflies seen this week include: CLOUDLESS SULPHUR, CHECKERED SKIPPER, FROSTED ELFIN, RED-SPOTTED PURPLE, NORTHERN CLOUDY-WING, SACHEMS, and LITTLE WOOD-SATYR all at Weatherby Road.

++ 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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 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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