Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/24/1997
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 24 include sightings of AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER, AMERICAN AVOCET, RUFF, ROSEATE TERN, news of a conservation emergency that demands your immediate action, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips.

Higbee Beach parking lots are 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. Also Forsythe, or Brig, will have restricted access on July 26 & 27, the back end will be closed, with two-way traffic on the front end. It is scheduled for full closure on August 9 & 10, and September 13 & 14.

We're asking everyone to please call New Jersey's Governor Whitman at 609-292-6000 today, even if you've already called. Ask the governor to issue emergency regulations to protect the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds on Delaware Bay before the moratorium expires on July 29.

An Audubon's Shearwater was seen from the Cape May Point State Park on July 23, fairly close to shore. Another was seen from the Ferry on July 19 and three Audubon's-type was seen from the Whale Watcher on July 20. Also seen that day were 30 Cory's and 15 Greater Shearwaters, 40 Wilson's Storm Petrels, and a Parasitic Jaeger.

An American Avocet was present in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) for about 45 minutes on July 21.

A Ruff was briefly seen in SCMM on July 18.

A Roseate Tern, along with a Black Tern, was in SCMM on July 24.

July 18th saw a good movement of Glossy Ibis with 140 counted on July 18. A good swallow movement on the 19th had 250 Tree Swallows, good numbers of Barn Swallows, and some Bank Swallows.

The SCMM continues to be good for shorebirds. Highlights include an Upland Sandpiper on the 20th, 15 Western Sandpipers on the 21st, a few Whimbrels almost daily, and 5 Stilt Sandpipers on the 24th. A Sora was also there on the 20th and 21st

Three Common Eiders continue to be seen. Two around Cape May Point, and one in the canal south and east of the Ferry terminal.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are emptying our feeders and constant at flowers in CMBO's gardens. Increased activity recently indicates that the first brood of young has left the nest! If you have feeders, be sure to clean them thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution, otherwise it can be hazardous to hummingbirds.

Bob Carlough, Captain of The Skimmer -- a boat CMBO works with in doing back-bay boat tours, shared the following on what they've been witnessing in the marshes on his boat trips. The breeding season has been bad for marsh nesters due to extra high tides and flooding. Common Terns and Laughing Gulls are 2 species that seem to be doing well. Most others are busy with their 2nd attempt and young have not yet hatched. Only 2 Am. Oystercatcher chicks have been seen to date, and no rail chicks. Rails had to renest after flooding of the marshes in early June. Bob has noted 80% failure in Osprey nests in the marshes along the coast. These nests all had young, but when the young were 2-4 weeks old they disappeared. Did they starve? 2-4 weeks is a young bird's time of maximum growth when they need alot of food. Waters may have been too cold at that time and surface feeding fish were unavailable for adult Osprey to catch. Much to be learned!

Local Nature Notes follow: Dozens of migrating SWAMP DARNERS were noticed on July 19th over the Migratory Bird Refuge on Sunset Blvd, and on July 20th 4 migrant species of dragonflies were seen in good numbers over Cape May Point, including: SWAMP DARNERS, GREEN DARNERS, CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS, and BLACK SADDLEBAGS. Butterfly numbers are picking up. Butterflies reported this week include: BROAD-WINGED SKIPPERS, SALTMARSH SKIPPERS, SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPERS, and ZABULON SKIPPERS, SACHEMS, dozens of MONARCHS, lots of RED ADMIRALS, RED-SPOTTED PURPLES, AMERICAN LADIES, VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, also seen were Hummingbird clearwings & SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS in gardens too. Trumpet Creeper is in full bloom and attracting hungry hummingbirds. Dave Ward saw whales off Avalon this week as he monitored for seabird migration, but were too far out to ID. A Loggerhead Sea Turtle was seen on July 23 off the Concrete Ship. Sea turtles move into the area with jellyfish, their favored food. Keep an eye out!

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center fo r Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North, either 1 mil e 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 birdi ng bookstore and birding information. Both centers are open daily, 10-5.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's Summer Program Schedule includes morning bird wa lks 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 S unset Bird Walks at 6:30 p.m. Beginning in August, other weekly walks will begi n including a Wednesday Butterfly Walk and a Thursday Wildflower Walk, both beg inning at 10 a.m. Also offered weekly, but requiring preregistration, are Birdi ng By Boat trips each Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and a Kayak Nature T our each Tuesday afternoon. Stop by either center to pick up the Kestrel Expres s, which includes our Summer Program Schedule with full details.

Special upcoming summer programs include a 2-day "Bird Watching for Beginners Co urse" July 26-27, a "Bennett Bog Wildflower Walk" on August 16, a "Field Trip f or 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 & Hummingbir d Gardens," a "Champagne Island Cruise for Terns & Skimmers" on August 22, a "W orkshop on Binoculars & Spotting Scopes for Birders" on August 30, and a "Purpl e Martin Fest on the Maurice River on August 30.

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 sig nificance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this birding h otline. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and fiel d trips, and the Observatory, call our new Center for Research & Education at 6 09-861-0700 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 o ur 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, bot h 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 609-8 84-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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