Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/23/1992
You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending July 23, 1992, include: CASPIAN TERN, GULL-BILLED TERN, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, PARASITIC JAEGER, and the beginning of fall shorebird migration.

CASPIAN TERN was seen in the Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Meadows on the 17th. The Meadows are on Sunset Blvd. in West Cape May. The Meadows also hosted a GULL-BILLED TERN on July 21, and 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS on the 20th. WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS were seen close to shore on several occasions last week; 2 were seen off the Meadows on the 18th, and 1 was seen near the Concrete Ship at the end of Sunset Blvd. on the 20th.

A PARASITIC JAEGER was seen on the 21st off Cape May City. A first-summer LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen on the 21st near the Second Ave Jetty in Cape May. An UPLAND SANDPIPER was seen on the 23d at the Concrete Ship at the end of Sunset Blvd. BROWN PELICANS continue to grace the skies for those seawatching. Eleven were seen on the 15th off the Cape May beachfront; fifteen flew over Reeds Beach on the Delaware Bayshore on the 15th, and several were seen over the Meadows on the 18th.

Earlier in the week the water level in the Meadows was down, and hundreds of egrets and herons were attracted to feed. On the morning of the 18th, 350 SNOWY EGRETS and 40 GREAT EGRETS were seen foraging in the early morning. On the 22d, a TRICOLORED HERON was seen in the Meadows, along with 7 GLOSSY IBISES; while a large flock of 50 GLOSSY IBISES migrated overhead.

Lingering winter ducks reported along the Delaware Bayshore this week included 2 SURF SCOTERS at Moore's Beach, and 6 BLACK SCOTERS at Reed's Beach. Both spots are off Rt 47. A BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen circling over Sunset Blvd. in Cape May Pt on the 17th. We had no reports of Mississippi Kites this week. VIRGINIA RAILS were very vocal in the Meadows on the morning of the 22d. Shorebirds are beginning to move through; on the 18th, there were 40 LESSER YELLOW-LEGS and 20 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS in the Meadows. Two WHIMBRELS were on the Meadows on the 22d. On the 17th there were 3 or 4 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 1 adult WESTERN SANDPIPER, and 30 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS in a pool behind the Cove Restaurant near the Second Ave Jetty in Cape May.

Brigantine NWR was loaded with SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS this last week. There were an estimated 5000 Short-bills there on the 16th. Many PIPING PLOVER chicks are able to fly at this point in the season, and 4 fledglings were seen on the beach near the Meadows last week. With the aforementioned Caspian and Gull-billed Terns, the total number of tern species this week at the Meadows was five, with LEAST TERN, FORSTER'S TERN, and COMMON TERN seen on the 22d. Some of the adult Forster's are accompanied by young-of-the-year.

Swallow migration was going full-force on the 22d, with ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, CLIFF SWALLOW, BANK SWALLOW, TREE SWALLOW, and BARN SWALLOWS seen flying over the Meadows. Many of the local nesting passerine species are beginning to disperse from nesting sites and getting more obvious; ORIOLES, BLUE-GROSBEAKS, GNATCATCHERS, and PRAIRIE WARBLERS are being seen again. An adult male SCARLET TANAGER, 2 E. WOOD-PEWEES, BOBOLINKS, BLUEBIRDS, and CEDAR WAXWINGS were seen at Higbee Beach on the 19th.

In the Butterfly department, we have reports of 2 Monarchs, 2 Tawny Emperors, one Hackberry, 2 Spicebush Swallowtails, one American Painted Lady, and several Red Admirals and Pearl Crescents seen at Higbee on the 19th. A Monarch was seen laying eggs on Milkweed on the 21st along Seagrove Ave in Cape May Point. A Snout Butterfly was seen on the 19th also along Seagrove Ave. Two Wood Nymphs and a Red-spotted Purple were seen in Goshen on the 20th, and lots of Wood Nymphs were seen in Fortescue in Cumberland Cty on the 22d. Dragonflies reported this week include Wandering Gliders laying eggs in the puddles in the Meadows, and thousands of dragonflies hawking insects there on the 21st.

Whale watching is still excellent off the Cape. Fin Whale (which is the second largest whale in the world) and Humpback were seen this week along with SOOTY SHEARWATER, GREATER SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, and WHIMBREL migrating offshore. Call Capt. Robbins, skipper of the 'Holiday', at 609 898-0055 to make reservations; the boat sails at 1 and 6 PM.

[Program announcements omitted. -LL]

Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation 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, phone our office at 609-884-2736 or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point.

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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