Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/5/1997
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending June 5 include sightings of ANHINGA, COMMON EIDER, ROSEATE TERN, SOOTY SHEARWATER, news of a conservation emergency that demands your immediate action, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, and mention here that the Higbee Beach parking lots have been closed for the summer again, but this does not mean Higbee Beach is closed -- you just need to get there by bike or by walking.

The CONSERVATION EMERGENCY that demands your immediate action follows. On May 29, New Jersey's Governor Christine Whitman, instituted a 60 day moratorium on the commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs. This emergency measure was taken to stem the rapid and catastrophic decline in the horseshoe crab population -- a decline that has undermined the food base used by one and a half million migrating shorebirds that use Delaware Bay as their last refueling stop enroute to the Arctic. While the moratorium is in the long term interest of Delaware Bay's environment and those whose lives are dependent upon it, some commercial fishermen have orchestrated a campaign to reverse the Governor's ban. So, we are asking you to please call the New Jersey Governor's Office TODAY at 609-292-6000 and tell them that "you support the Governor's Moratorium on the harvest of Horseshoe Crabs." Then call your family, friends, and co-workers and ask them to do the same. Otherwise one of the planet's greatest and most celebrated natural spectacles may become history!

Two ANHINGAS were reported circling over Seagrove Ave. on Cape May Point on June 5th.

An adult male COMMON EIDER has been present all week around Cape May Point. It is being seen around the Concrete Ship and various Cape May Point jetties.

Up to four or five ROSEATE TERNS have been present around Cape May Point this week. They have been seen resting on the outlet pipe in Bunker Pond in the State Park and roosting on the small mud island in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM).

A few SOOTY SHEARWATERS have been seen offshore this week at both Avalon and around the Point, and up to 30 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS were seen off the Concrete Ship on the 4th of June. NORTHERN GANNETS and COMMON LOONS have been regular at both Avalon and the Point, also. A PARASITIC JAEGER was at Avalon on the 5th.

Three PURPLE SANDPIPERS continue to linger at Cape May Point, seen frequently on the Concrete Ship.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was at Hidden Valley Ranch on May 30th, while an ALDER FLYCATCHER was singing along Sunset Boulevard near the SCMM on June 1. Late warbler migrants include a BLACKPOLL at CMBO on May 30th, a BLACKBURNIAN on Cape May Point on June 1, and a CHESTNUT-SIDED on the Point on the 5th.

The first OSPREY hatched on May 25th and others are hatching this week. High tides with the New Moon flooded the marsh on June 5th and probably set back ground nesters like FORSTER'S and COMMON TERNS, and LAUGHING GULLS -- all of which build their nests right on the marsh. Extra high tides wash their nests and eggs out into the waterways and they need to begin anew.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are very regular now that they are back on territories. A female is regulary coming to the feeders at CMBO's new center in Goshen and numbers are regular at CMBO's Cape May Point center. If you have feeders, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Otherwise the solution ferments and can be hazardous to hummingbirds.

On May 31st CMBO's first "Champagne Island Cruise for Skimmers & Terns" enjoyed 500-800 Black Skimmers, 100+ Common Terns, 5 pairs of American Oystercatchers, and up-close and personal looks at all the marsh nesters en route . . . like Forster's Terns on their marsh edge nests on wrack, Laughing Gulls on their piled up nests right on the marsh, and active Osprey nests on nearly every channel marker. CMBO's nest "Champagne Island Cruise" is scheduled for Saturday, June 28th, leaving a dock in Cape May at 5:00 p.m. and returning at 8:30 p.m. The fee is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers and there are still some spaces left! Be sure to call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to register.

CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is now open every day, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We're at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen, either 1 mile south of the traffic light at Rt. 657 or 1.7 miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, brand new sign, large parking lot, and big new building beyond.

Local Nature Notes follow: Recent northeast winds and rain have proven bleak for butterfly and dragonfly watching, but we're hopeful that a few days of sunshine will change all that. Monarch caterpillars are abundant on Common Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, and Swamp Milkweed. Some of the caterpillars are full size and about to go into the chrysalis stage and others are newly hatched. There are lots of eggs too. Looks like it's going to ge a super year for Monarchs.

CMBO's Program Schedule for June includes morning bird walks every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday; a Sunset Bird Walk on Friday, Birding By Boat trips on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and a Kayak Nature Tour on Tuesday afternoons. Stop by either center to pick up the spring program schedule with full details.

Special upcoming spring programs include the "Champagne Island for Terns & Skimmers" trip on June 28 mentioned above, a "Dragonfly Workshop & Walk" with Bob Barber on June 7, an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 14 and much more! The Summer Program Schedule is now in print and available at either center and on its way to Members. 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 new Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores. The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point is open DAILY, 10-5. The Center for Research & Education in Goshen is 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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