Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/10/1997
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 July 10 include sightings of SANDWICH TERN, ROSEATE TERN, COMMON EIDER, BROWN PELICAN, news of a conservation emergency that demands your immediate action, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips.

A note: 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.

If you haven't called New Jersey's Governor Christine Whitman yet regarding your support of her 60 day moratorium on the commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs, please do so TODAY. The number is 609-292-6000. A bit of background if this is your first exposure to this CONSERVATION EMERGENCY that demands your immediate action. On May 29, Governor Whitman instituted a 60 day moratorium. 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.

A SANDWICH TERN was seen this week at several locations. It was in the South Cape May Meadows on July 4, at Bunker Pond on the 6th, and in the "rips" off Cape May Point on the 8th.

A ROSEATE TERN was in the SCMM on July 4 and again on July 5.

Two COMMON EIDERS continue their summer stay in the area, seen this week off Sunset Beach on July 6.

A few BROWN PELICANS were seen around the Cape May Point this past week.

Shorebird migration has begun in earnest, with SCMM a good vantage point. Highlights include there include STILT SANDPIPER there on July 5, UPLAND SANDPIPER on the 6th, 100 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS moving through on the 9th, and SOLITARY SANDPIPER on the 10th. Other shorebirds on the move now include LESSER YELLOWLEGS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPERS and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS.

Up to four GULL-BILLED TERNS have been frequenting SCMM on a regular basis and a BLACK TERN was there on July 4.

Migrant BOBOLINKS have been almost daily this past week. Other migrant passerines included a BALTIMORE ORIOLE in the Villas on July 6, RED-EYED VIREO on Cape May Point on the 5th, and a YELLOW WARBLER at SCMM on the 5th.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are constant visitors 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 Friday, July 25th CMBO will offer its third evening "Champagne Island Cruise for Skimmers & Terns" of the season. The late June trip enjoyed 500-800 Black Skimmers, 100+ Common Terns, a number of pairs of American Oystercatchers, and up-close and personal looks at all the marsh nesters en route . . . like Forster's Terns, Laughing Gulls, and active Osprey nests on nearly every channel marker. You must preregister for the July 25th trip, which is scheduled to leave a dock in Cape May at 5:00 p.m. and return at 8:30 p.m. There is still room and the fee is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to register.

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North, 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. And the Northwood Center now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding book store and birding information. Both centers are open daily, 10-5.

Local Nature Notes follow: The Cape May Butterfly Count was held on July 4th and tallied over 30 species. Numbers of butterflies were low, but diversity was quite good. Highlights included 15 SWARTHY SKIPPERS, two APPALACHIAN BROWNS, and several CORAL HAIRSTREAK. APPALACHIAN BROWNS were also found this week at Beaver Swamp WMA. Pickerelweed is in bloom at Beaver Swamp WMA and pulling in lots of bees and Broad-winged Skippers. Be alert too for all the dragonflies. Abundant species now include BLUE DASHER, SEASIDE DRAGONLET, and EASTERN PONDHAWK. Also look for COMMON WHITETAIL, BLACK-MANTLED and VIOLET-MASKED GLIDER.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's Summer Program Schedule includes morning bird walks that require no preregistration every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 7:30 a.m., Butterfly Walks every Sunday morning at 10 a.m., and Friday evening Sunset Bird Walks at 6:30 p.m. Also offered weekly, but requiring preregistration, are Birding By Boat trips each Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and a Kayak Nature Tour each Tuesday afternoons. Stop by either center to pick up the Kestrel Express, which includes our Summer Program Schedule with full details.

Special upcoming summer programs include a "Champagne Island Cruise for Terns & Skimmers" trip on July 25, a 2-day "Bird Watching for Beginners Course" July 26-27, a "Bennett Bog Wildflower Walk" on August 16, a "Field Trip for Shorebirds on the Delaware Bayshore" on August 16, a "Rail Watch by Boat" on Tuesday, August 19, a Member's Night on August 20th on "Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens," a "Champagne Island Cruise for Terns & Skimmers" on August 22, a "Workshop on Binoculars & Spotting Scopes for Birders" on August 30, and a "Purple Martin Fest on the Maurice River on August 30. Beginning in August, several other weekly walks will begin: a Wednesday Butterfly Walk and a Thursday Wildflower Walk, both beginning at 10 a.m.

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 and the Center for Research & Education in Goshen, both open Daily, 10-5.

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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