Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/13/1995
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 July 13 1995 include sightings of LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, returning shorebirds, announcements, nature notes, etc.

A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was in the South Cape May Meadows on July 10, in with a number of SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. The bird was identified by call, which is a sharp "keek" compared to the Short-bill's mellower call.

A first-summer LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the beach between the Meadows and the State Park on July 10.

The main attraction around the point these days is migrating shorebirds. South Cape May Meadows has held a fair number of Dowitchers, small flocks of LEAST SANDPIPERS, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, & LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and individual SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, PECTORAL SANDPIPERS and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS. WHIMBRELS can be found in the back bays. The Meadows also held a SORA today, July 13.

Champagne Island, in Hereford Inlet between Wildwood and Stone Harbor, has one of the best beach-nesting bird colonies in the state. As of July 12, it held over 1000 BLACK SKIMMERS, over 1000 COMMON TERNS, and 3 pairs of GULL-BILLED TERNS. Chicks are visible and many are nearly fledged. Between July 10 and 12, other (non-nesting) birds here included BROWN PELICANS, ROYAL TERNS, WHIMBREL, and migrant shorebirds. The island can be viewed from Nummy's Island, Stone Harbor Point, or North Wildwood; or you can take a boat trip conducted by Jersey Cape Nature Excursions. Call (609) 884-3712 for more information.

The state of NJ has closed the parking lots at Higbee Beach WMA again for the summer. This does not mean that Higbee Beach is closed, just the parking lots. You can still bird and butterfly the area, but you must be dropped off there, ride a bike, or park in the Hidden Valley parking lot further up New England Road and walk down. The parking lot closures are the state's attempt to address illicit activities that occur there during warm summer months.

Local Nature Notes follow. WILLETS are gone from Cape May; summer is over and they've begun migration. Other species may be still busy with their second or third brood. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are regular at CMBO's feeders. Trumpet Creeper is in bloom and also attracts hummers.

An amazing number of sea turtles have been seen this week. On July 6, Clay and Pat Sutton saw 6 LEATHERBACKS and 4 unidentified distant sea turtles from the Cape May - Lewes Ferry. LEATHERBACKS are the largest of all sea turtles; their food, jellyfish, have moved into the bay with the warmer water temperatures. On July 5, 5 sea turtles were seen off Cape May Point by Bill Glazer. This is a rare opportunity to view these animals.

A HUMPBACK WHALE was seen off Hereford Inlet on July 12.

CMBO's butterfly counts did exceptionally well this year. The Cape May count was on June 27 and discovered 41 species. The Belleplain count was on June 30 with a record 52 species. And the Cumberland count was on July 1 with 43 species. Highlights included APPALACHIAN BROWN on the Cape May count; BRONZE COPPERS, SOUTHERN HAIRSTREAK, & SPOTTED SKIPPER, on the Belleplain count; and PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL and HOARY-EDGE SKIPPER on the Cumberland count. VARIEGATED FRITILLARIES were on all three counts. The Hidden Valley fields off New England Road in Cape May has milkweed patches which, on July 12, had a good variety of butterflies including 4 to 6 VARIEGATED FRITILLARIES.

[Program Information Omitted]

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. [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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