Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/18/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. THE highlight for the week ending July 18 was the passage of Hurricane Bertha on July 13th, we also have 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.

In the late morning of July 13th, the remnant eye of Hurricane Bertha passed over Brandywine Light west of Cape May Point in Delaware Bay. The following list of seabirds seen in the wake of the storm's passage is unsurpassed in Cape May's storied birding history. Seen passing the Concrete Ship on the Point were: eleven BAND-RUMPED STORM PETRELS, eight BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS, four SOOTY TERNS, two BRIDLED TERNS, one ARCTIC TERN, one LEACH'S STORM PETREL, one GREATER SHEARWATER, eight WILSON'S STORM PETRELS, and two NORTHERN GANNETS.

On July 14th a BAND-RUMPED STORM PETREL was seen near the Concrete Ship, while a GREATER SHEARWATER was seen from the Cape May - Lewes Ferry.

On the 15th, an obviously exhausted SOOTY TERN was found on the beach near Alexander Ave. on Cape May Point. It spent the day there before being captured and taken for rehab. Unfortunately it did not last the night. An ARCTIC TERN was seen at Alexander Ave. on the 15th, while another was seen from the Ferry.

Elsewhere, shorebirds are moving in good numbers, the highlight being a single flock of 460 WILLET heading south across Delaware Bay.

Even a few passerines have been seen moving including BOBOLINK, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and BLUE GROSBEAK.

Bob Carlough, of The Skimmer birding by boat tours, reports they are now seeing lots of migrant shorebirds, including WHIMBREL, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, DOWITCHERS and YELLOWLEGS and that some of the marsh nesters are fledging. The first LAUGHING GULL and COMMON TERN chicks flew this week, and the first young OSPREY took wing this week. He also had excellent news about Champagne Island, the site of the largest nesting colony of BLACK SKIMMERS in the state with about 500 pairs, as as well as about 500 pairs of nesting COMMON TERNS, and several pairs of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. Thankfully Hurricane Bertha did not affect this most important nesting colony!

Champagne Island also attracts roosting Brown Pelicans and it's a favorite roost site for migrant 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 follow and are found at the end of this tape in program information. The special CMBO sponsored boat trip every Friday evening from 5:30-8:30 p.m. will visit Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the tripsthrough CMBO!

Hurricane Bertha did not treat the tern colony at The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (TNC) as favorably. 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 numbersof 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: Hurricane Bertha dumped 4+ inches of rain on the area and winds blew hard. But as soon as it cleared, about 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 14th, butterflies were flying. Most amazing, when you begin to wonder where they were during the storm. And by the next day butterfly activity was incredible as the sun shown and temperatures reached 80 degrees. Diversity and numbers have been high ever since. Gardens are enjoying lots of Sachems, Broad-winged Skippers, both hummingbird moths (the Snowberry Clearwing and the Hummingbird Clearwing), Monarchs, and lots of Swallowtails. And speaking of swallowtails, there is still an invasion of Pipevine Swallowtails occurring. One was in a garden in Cape May Point on the 12th, 1 in a garden in Avalon on the 16th, 15 around Bayside in Cumberland County, and 3 in a garden in the Villas on the 17th and 18th. American Snouts are out and being seen now wherever Hackberry trees occur, including CMBO's garden. A Variegated Fritillary was in a garden in Avalon on July 16. And a Monarch was seen crossing the Delaware Bay on July 15. Results are finalized for the three butterfly counts CMBO coordinates. The Cape May Butterfly Count tallied in with 39 species on June 22, the Belleplain Count with 50 species on June 28, and the Cumberland Count with 35 species on June 29. With the cool, wet spring many butterflies seemed about 2 weeks late. Several expected species were missed and other normally common species were very low in numbers. Hairstreak numbers were low on all three counts, though we hit the Bog Coppers at their peak with 210 on the Belleplain Count. The first Painted Ladies of the season were seen on the Belleplain Count, though there have been only a handfull of sightings since. Highlights were many, but mainly the counts were a wonderful excuse to spend a day out butterflying. Trumpet Creeper is in full, a favorite with hummingbirds. Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly Weed are in 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. CMBO's summer Program Schedule is now available, covering July- September. Stop by our office and pick it up 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 send a request for information 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 daily, 9-5.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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