Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 6/6/1996
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 6 include sightings of MISSISSIPPI KITE, BROWN PELICAN, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, DICKCISSEL, local nature notes, and announcements.

At least one DICKCISSEL continues at Hidden Valley Ranch, seen this week on June 2.

Two MISSISSIPPI KITES were seen this week, one on the Tuckahoe River in Estelle Manor on May 31, and one at Hidden Valley Ranch today, June 6, seen along with a BALD EAGLE.

BROWN PELICANS were reported from 3 locations: On June 2, 6 were at Hereford Inlet; also on June 2, 2 were seen from the South Cape May Meadows, and 4 were seen in mid-Bay from the ferry.

The impoundments at the base of the Canal bridge had a good assortment of shorebirds on June 4, including a WESTERN SANDPIPER, 10 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, & 30 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS.

Horseshoe Crabs will continue to mate and lay eggs well into June, but the shorebirds are thinning out since they need to reach the Arctic to breed.

WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS are being seen from shore, as they dance over the offshore waters. Three were seen from the Concrete Ship June 6. Scan the horizon for small dark birds the size of swallows.

Some interesting news was received from the Bird Banding Laboratory regarding two bands found at Jakes Landing during CMBO owl field trips on Feb. 24-25. An owl pellet found 2/24 was dissected, and contained a tiny songbird band; we learned from the Lab that it was an EASTERN BLUEBIRD, banded Nov. 4 1995 in Deep River, CT. Since the pellet was medium-sized, it was probably either a BARN OWL or a LONG-EARED OWL. The next day, 2/25, the group found the remains of a raptor; all that was found was a foot and part of the leg, but on the leg was a USF&WS band. We learned that this bird had been a BARN OWL, banded as a nestling on May 27., 1995, near Canton, NJ, in Salem County.

Since May 21, the emergence of thousands of 17-year Cicadas in northern Cape May and Cumberland counties has led to some interesting sightings. On June 4, along the railroad tracks off Rt. 555 in Cumberland Co. at Bear Swamp, a BARRED OWL was observed hunting and eating Cicadas. Also there were male and female SUMMER TANAGERS, BLUE GROSBEAKS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, CRESTED FLYCATCHER, PEWEE, ORCHARD ORIOLE, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, and AMERICAN KESTREL.


The Higbee Beach parking lots are closed now for the summer, but Higbee is open to birding and Butterfly watching. Park in the Hidden Valley parking lot and walk. You'll find YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, BLUE GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING, WHITE-EYED VIREO, and more.


The Meadows has 9 PIPING PLOVER nests this year; it is one of the few sites that was spared so far from oil washed up from the May spill. Oil is still washing up.

The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge will eventually total 21,700 acres; to date, about 8000 acres have been purchased, and are open to walking access for birding, butterfly watching, nature study, photography, and environmental education. Please do not drive on any Refuge lands. You may walk on Refuge lands, despite the boundary signs which look intimidating and say "Unauthorized entry prohibited."

Please be sure to clean and refill your Hummingbird feeders regularly.

Local nature notes:

There was a push of monarchs on June 5, 15 were seen at Bayside in Cumberland county, and several at the Meadows. Lots of TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL, and BLACK SWALLOWTAIL are being seen, along with RED-SPOTTED PURPLES and RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS. A RED ADMIRAL was seen on June 1. These migrate south in the fall and repopulate the area each spring.

A LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE was seen May 31 off Cape May Point; a 30-foot HUMPBACK WHALE was seen in the Cape May rips off the Point at the end of May. AMERICAN HOLLY trees are in bloom; MULTIFLORA ROSE, SOUTHERN ARROWWOOD VIBURNUM, MOUNTAIN LAUREL and SHEEP LAUREL are all coming into bloom now.

[Program notes omitted -LL]

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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