Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/27/1995
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 27, 1995 include sightings of early migrant landbirds, shorebirds, BLACK TERN, SANDWICH TERN, GULL-BILLED TERN, BROWN PELICAN, as well as announcements and nature notes.

Shorebirds have been on the move since early this month; recently land bird migrants have also begun their movements south. BOBOLINKS are regularly heard overhead now. ORCHARD ORIOLE was at the S. Cape May Meadows (Nature Conservancy property) July 20. LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was seen at Cape May Point July 21; and EASTERN BLUEBIRD flew over Jul 24. INDIGO BUNTINGS and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were at the Meadows July 25.

For shorebirds, the Meadows are very good right now. On July 27, they held 20 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, 31 STILT SANDPIPERS, and one LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. Flying overhead were an UPLAND SANDPIPER July 24 and MARBLED GODWIT and WHIMBREL on July 26. Historically the fields on Bayshore Rd. and New England Rd. are good for UPLAND SANDPIPER, and true to form one was there July 23. Also in the Meadows were a BLACK TERN July 25-26; two SANDWICH TERNS July 26; and a GULL-BILLED TERN July 21. LEAST BITTERN nested in the Meadows, and one was seen there July 24.

Breeding colonies of beach-nesting birds are at peak activity now. The colony at Strathmere, which is north of Sea Isle City, was visited July 26 and it held 400 to 500 BLACK SKIMMERS with many chicks; 3-400 COMMON TERNS with some fledged young; 50-75 LEAST TERNS; 40 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER; and also visiting ROYAL TERN and 4 BLACK TERNS. BROWN PELICAN sightings are regular.

The parking lots at Higbee Beach WMA are still closed 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 of NJ's attempt to address illicit activities that occur there during warm summer months.

Local Nature Notes follow.

Butterfly activity has picked up despite the desperately hot weather of late. Milkweed patches are still blooming and alive with butterflies. The most common species now seem to be SACHEMS, BROADWINGED SKIPPERS (which use Phragmites reed as their host plant); and LEAST SKIPPERS. Also be alert for OLIVE HAIRSTREAK (seen July 20 at Heislerville), HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING (seen in Goshen July 24), AMERICAN SNOUT (anywhere that has Hackberry trees, including CMBO's front yard); also, RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAK (one was seen July 24 at Goshen). Some of the big, showy butterflies flying now include MONARCH, RED ADMIRAL, QUESTION MARK, RED-SPOTTED PURPLE, and many of the SWALLOWTAILS.

[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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