Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/26/1996
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 26 include sightings of ROSEATE TERN, AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER, 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.

Four ROSEATE TERNS were seen in a single flock as they passed the Avalon Seawatch at 7th St. and the ocean on July 22nd.

On the evening of the following day two AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS were seen at the same location.

A rare mid-July cold front sparked a movement both passerines and shorebirds on July 20th and 21st. Some of the highlights on the 20th were two LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH at Higbee Beach, an UPLAND SANDPIPER over the South Cape May Meadows, three MARBLED GODWITS off the Concrete Ship, and 25 BOBOLINKS over SCMM. On the 21st at Higbee Beach were two LEAST FLYCATCHERS, CANADA WARBLER, WORM-EATING WARBLER, and VEERY. At SCMM on the 21st were eight CLIFF SWALLOWS, numbers of BANK SWALLOWS, and twenty YELLOW WARBLERS.

Other interesting sightings were BLACK TERN on Cape May Point off July 23rd, BROWN PELICAN on the Point on the 23rd and the 25th, and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER at the State Park on the 22nd.

Bob Carlough, of THE SKIMMER birding by boat tours, reports they are now seeing lots of migrant shorebirds, including small flocks of WHIMBREL. LAUGHING GULL and COMMON TERN young of the year are now flying, and some (but not all) young OSPREY are now flying. The Champagne Island BLACK SKIMMER colony is doing well. Thankfully Hurricane Bertha did not do it in. This is the state's largest nesting colony of Black Skimmers.

Champagne Island also attracts roosting BROWN PELICANS and it's a favorite roost site for migrant terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of ROSEATE TERN, SANDWICH TERN, BLACK TERN, CASPIAN TERN, and ROYAL TERN 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 b nefit 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 trips through CMBO!

Hurricane Bertha did wash out most of the LEAST TERN nests at the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, though the PIPING PLOVERS did survive, since their young were fledged alread. 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-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS and YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, GLOSSY IBIS, and EGRETS. This is excellent news now that the Stone Harbor Heronry is still unoccupied!

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity has really picked up in the last week, probably due to a build up in numbers of birds since young birds have recently fledged and a few migrants are probably beginning to come through from the far north. CMBO's garden and feeders are quite active. 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: Butterfly activity is building. At the Cape May Poi nt Pavilion Circle Gardens, Vitex is in bloom -- a shrub covered with clusters of purple flowers. And it is attracting lots of skippers, including the first Fiery we've heard of on July 22. Expect to see lots of Broad-winged Skippers if you visit the garden. Their host plant is phragmites and so we see great numbers here. These gardens also held Red Admiral, Monarch, Viceroy, Question Mark, Silver-spotted Skipper, and Black Swallowtails this week. The first Olive Hairstreak of the summer was seen July 24. Other local gardens this week have attracted Saltmarsh Skippers, Sachems, Least Skippers, Dun Skippers, and N. Broken Dashes. Trumpet Creeper is in full bloom, a favorite with hummingbirds. There are still some stands of Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly Weed in bloom and attracting butterflies. Everlasting Pea is also in bloom and great for skippers.

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: July 27-28 Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." This same course will be ta ught again August 24-25, and September 21-22. "Hummingbird Walks" will be offered August 8 , 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16. A "Bombay Hook for Shorebirds" field trip is scheduled for August 1 7. Also on August 17, Keith Seager will lead a "Wildflower Walk at Bennett Bog" -- Bennett Bog is jointly owned by NJ Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy and is nationally famous for its many rare and unusual plants. A Week Long Birding Workshop for Shorebirds and Pa sserines (with Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis), August 19-23, still has room. Our next MEMBERS NIGHT is Wednesday, August 21, with Pete Dunne sharing "Selected Readings, the S tories Behind the Stories!" And on August 31, Pete Dunne will teach a workshop on "Bin oculars and Spotting Scopes for Birders." Call CMBO (at 609-884-2736) for the Summer Progra m Schedule, which includes details and information on registration for these special program s.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Every Friday f rom 5:30- 8:30 p.m.. The Friday trip runs to Champagne Island. To register for these CMB O 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 CO ME! 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 Wednes day Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeti ng at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Every Friday Bi ll Glaser leads a "Sunset Bird Walk" through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Re fuge, meeting at 6:30 p.m. in July and meeting at 5:30 p.m. in August. And Every Satu rday Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeti ng at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Beginning Augus t 1st, a "Wildflower Walk" with Keith Seager will be offered Every Thursday, meeting at 1 0 a.m. at The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge. Beginning August 11th, a " Birding By Bike" tour with Louise Zemaitis will be offered Every Sunday, meeting at 7:30 a. m. in the Cape May Point State Park's outer parking lot. Also beginning August 11th, Louise Ze maitis will offer a "Bookstore Safari" through CMBO's bookstore Every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Beginni ng August 14, Pat Sutton will offer a "Butterfly Walk" Every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., meet ing in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Beginning August 15th, Vince Elia will lead a "Hidden Valley Bird Walk" Every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., meeting at the sma ll clam shell parking lot on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles past the intersectio n with Bayshore Road. CMBO's Summer Program Schedule details all our programs through 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.

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 informa tion regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, and the Observatory, call our of fice 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 birdin g 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 and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counti es 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 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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