You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending July 1 include: MISSISSIPPI KITE, ROSEATE TERN, BROWN PELICAN, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, SHEARWATERS of three species, good numbers of returning shorebirds, local nature notes, and news of upcoming programs.
A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen on June 29 along Sunset Blvd.. Summer sightings of this species have increased in recent years, probably due to increased birding activity at this time of year. Up to 12 BROWN PELICANS were seen today, July 1, off the S. Cape May Meadows; before today they had been seen in ones and twos in scattered locations.
Aboard Capt. Ron Robbins' whale watching boat this week, birders saw 30-plus WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS on June 29 (and some were even seen from the Second Ave. Jetty today).
Also seen from the boat this week were SOOTY SHEARWATER, GREATER SHEARWATER, and CORY'S SHEARWATER, mostly the latter; PARASITIC JAEGER, COM. LOON, ROSEATE TERN on July 1, and BLACK TERN. The boat sails daily from Cape May Harbor at 1 pm. A BLACK TERN was also seen on Champagne Island in Hereford Inlet, Wildwood, on June 25.
Migrant shorebird numbers increased significantly this week. S. Cape May Meadows held the following on various dates between June 30 - July 1: up to 30 Short-billed Dowitchers, the same number of LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 15 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 2 STILT SANDPIPERS, 20 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 1 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and1 WHIMBREL.
The Belleplain and Cumberland Butterfly Counts were held on June 26 & 27. The Belleplain count totaled 46 species, including 2 SPOTTED SKIPPERS; this was the 103 species for Cape May County. The Cumberland count totaled 48 species after a rainy start.
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If you have visited Cape May recently, you've probably been surprised to find it nearly impossible to park at Higbee Beach. The main parking lot is closed; but Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area is not closed. There is a parking lot down the road to the right of the main lot, though this is sometimes full of fishermen. If you're concerned about the parking situation at Higbee Beach, call or stop by CMBO to get the addresses and phone numbers where you can write or call to express your concerns.
CMBO will be offering Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, scheduled for July 24-25, and each month thereafter. Shorebird ID workshops and walks are scheduled for July 10, 24 and 31. Higbee Beach Sunday morning birdwalks begin July 4. Regular weekly Bird Walks for Beginners begin July 7. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline 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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thanks for calling; good birding.