Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/11/1996
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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 11 include news of RUFF, LESSER BLACK- BACKED GULL, GULL-BILLED TERN, news of shorebirds on the move, BROWN PELICAN. LEAST BITTERN, some amazing birds seen at Bombay Hook in DE including NORTHERN LAPWING, a LITTLE STINT, 3 RUFFS, A CURLEW SANDPIPER, and 2 WHITE-FACED IBIS, an announcement regarding a special CMBO sponsored boat tour to CHAMPAGNE ISLAND aboard the SKIMMER, news of a summer pelagic birding trip, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

A RUFF was reported July 7 in impoundments in West Cape May, and on July 9th a black Ruff was seen in The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, also known as "The Meadows."

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, in 2nd summer plumage, was seen in the Meadows on July 5.

A GULL-BILLED TERN was in the Meadows on July 10.

Shorebirds are beginning to move. 90 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 2 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and 3 LEAST SANDPIPERS were seen July 7 near Cape May.

BROWN PELICANS have been seen this week off The Meadows and from Sunset Beach.

There are at least 3 LEAST BITTERNS at The Meadows, 1 at Lighthouse Pond and 2 at Bunker Pond in the State Park.

Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware was HOT bird-wise on July 7th. Shearness Pool held a NORTHERN LAPWING, a LITTLE STINT, 3 RUFFS, a CURLEW SANDPIPER, and 2 WHITE-FACED IBIS. Unfortunately we do not have a more recent update for you.

Bob Carlough, of THE SKIMMER birding by boat tours, reports that all the marsh nesters have young now that are growing in leaps and bounds -- including lots of Laughing Gull chicks, Forster's and Common Tern chicks, sizable chicks in all the Osprey nests, and American Oystercatcher chicks!

Champagne Island, the sand island in Hereferd Inlet between Stone Harbor and Nor th Wildwood, is the site of the largest nesting colony of Black Skimmers in the state, with about 500 pairs, as well as about 500 pairs of nesting Common Terns, and several pairs of nesting Gull-billed Terns. Brown Pelicans are regularly found roosting there from summer through late fall. Also, by July it's a favorite roost site for other terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate, Sandwich, Black, Caspian, and Royal Terns in the summer occur here! THE SKIMMER, a very stable 37 foot catamaran with open and enclosed viewing decks, runs three daily birding by boat trips and each week the Friday evening, Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning trips are sponsored by CMBO and benefit CMBO. Details are found at the end of this tape in program information.

The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge has a healthy colony of nesting Least Terns and a number of Piping Plover nests with chicks. TNC's refuge also has nesting Least Bitterns, listen for their "woo woo woo" calls to give their presence away. Now through the end of August, TNC staff and interns are offering the following walks: Every Friday at 8 a.m. Clay Sutton, TNC's Naturalist/Ecologist, will lead a three-hour walk. The fee is $8. Every Wednesday and Every Saturday evening at 6 p.m. TNC interns will lead one-hour walks for FREE.

Avalon's Boro Park at 72nd Street is harboring a sizeable heronry this summer, including numbers of nesting Black and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Glossy Ibis, and Egrets. This is excellent news now that the Stone Harbor Heronry is still unoccupied!

CMBO's garden and feeders are quite active with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. If you have hummingbird feeders in your yard, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Otherwise the solution ferments and can be dangerous to the hummers.

A late summer pelagic birding trip off the coast of NJ out of Brielle will leave Sunday, August 25, at 5 a.m. and return that same day at about 8 p.m. Cost of the trip is $65/person. Contact "Focus on Nature Tours" for more details and to register at 302-529-1876.

Local Nature Notes follow: In the butterfly world Pipevine Swallowtails seem to be on the move. July 9th the first one was discovered in a yard in Cape May County in Seaville. On July 10th 9 were found in Cumberland County, including 1 near Beaver Dam on the Natural Lands Trust property and 8 near Bayside. Also on the 10th 9 were found by an observer in Delaware at Cape Henlopen State Park. On July 11th 2 were in a garden in Heislerville in Cumberland County and 5 were in a garden in the Villas in Cape May County. A number of Monarchs were observed egg laying on Common Milkweed on July 10th at Bayside in Cumberland County, and the butterfly garden CMBO put in at the Cape May Point State Park attracted an egg laying Monarch on July 11. Snouts are out and being seen now wherever Hackberry trees occur. On July 11 one was in a garden in Goshen, one was frequenting CMBO's Hackberry trees right out the front door, and one was seen on Lighthouse Avenue ... all were flitting about from one newly emerged tender leaf at a branch tip to the next, laying eggs! 2 Variegated Fritillaries were in the South Cape May Meadows on July 10. Trumpet Creeper is in full bloom, a favorite with hummingbirds. Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly Weed are in full bloom and covered with butterflies! Everlasting Pea is in bloom, great for skippers.

NEWS OF CMBO PROGRAMS FOLLOW: July 27-28 Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." Call CMBO for details or to register at 609-884-2736. CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Every Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Friday trip runs to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO! Our daily bird walks are underway and require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a "Birds of the Seashore" walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30 a.m. Every Wednesday Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Every Friday Bill Glaser leads a "Sunset Bird Walk" through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 6:30 p.m. And Every Saturday Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Stop by our office and pick up the program schedule for more details or give us a call at 609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.

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 office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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