Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/30/1992
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 30, 1992, include: RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, GULL-BILLED, ROYAL, and CASPIAN TERNS, UPLAND SANDPIPER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, AM. REDSTART, PINE SISKIN, shorebird buildup, BROWN PELICAN, VIRGINIA RAIL, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, and local nature notes.

GULL-BILLED TERNS did very well this nesting season at Brigantine NWR. Sixty were seen there on July 27, along with a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER. An UPLAND SANDPIPER was a flyover at Cape May Point on July 23, where it caught the ear of birders. Another flew over the Cape May Meadows on Sunset Blvd. on July 30. A CASPIAN TERN was seen at the Concrete Ship on July 24, along with a juvenile LEAST TERN, indicating at least one successful nest in the area.

WATERTHRUSHES are among our earliest warbler migrants. On July 24, 2 LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES were seen at the Beanery, and on July 28, Higbee's Beach held 4 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and the Beanery held 4 PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS, 2 LA. WATERTHRUSH, and 1 AM. REDSTART. Other landbirds on the move this week include a PINE SISKIN that was seen July 25 in the woods along Sea Grove Ave. in Cape May Point; and 50 ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS and 1 CLIFF SWALLOW July 28 over the point.

Champagne Island, the sandbar in the middle of Hereford Inlet, was attracting good birds this week. This bar may be observed from Anglesea Drive in North Wildwood, or from Stone Harbor Point; a scope is required. On July 26, observers aboard a boat found 2 GULL-BILLED TERNS, 4 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, 4 RED KNOTS, 12 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 2 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 4 ROYAL TERNS, good numbers of SANDERLINGS, over 1500 COMMON TERNS including many chicks, many BLACK SKIMMERS and their chicks, and 3 recently fledged PIPING PLOVER chicks. On July 28 Champagne Island was again visited by boat, and held 60 ROYAL TERNS, 100 AM. OYSTERCATCHERS, hundreds of WESTERN SANDPIPERS, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, and SANDERLINGS, a small flock of WHIMBREL, WILLETS, RED KNOTS, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. This sandbar is also one of the best spots to view BROWN PELICANS, and July 26, 22 were seen here; July 28, 35 were seen. Actually, any beachfront is fair game for pelican watching, as they fly up and down the coastline looking for their next meal. Eleven were seen off Cape May's beachfront July 29.

The Nature Conservancy property on Sunset Blvd., known as the Cape May Meadows, holds deep ponds now because of recent rains, and conditions are not conducive for herons, egret, or shorebirds. But it's still one of the best places to easily see VIRGINIA RAILS. One was seen there July 26, and again on July 29, when it preened out in the open on the central trail. On July 30, the Meadows held 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS and one WESTERN SANDPIPER. On July 25, 2 WILLET chicks were along Ocean Drive just north of Cape May along a salt pond edge, probably the product of a second nesting. They lacked flight feathers and were fluffy gray jobs with blue bills and long legs; a calling parent revealed their identity.

Young OSPREY are visible on their nest edges now, in some cases beginning to fly. The nest in the Lewes, Delaware harbor at the ferry terminal sported four OSPREY on the nest and three more in the air. A trip aboard the ferry July 28 produced 8 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, along with 2 RED-THROATED LOONS in the middle of the bay.

Local nature notes follow. Pods of Bottle-nosed Dolphins are moving along the coast now, with young accompanying their parents. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS, including young of the year, are at CMBO's feeders right now. Mimosa trees are in full bloom and attract Hummingbirds, Hummingbird Moths, and large numbers of swallowtail butterflies. Speaking of butterflies, finally we're beginning to see some. It's been a sparse summer up until now, a puzzle to many. On July 24 and daily since we are finally seeing fair numbers and diversity of butterflies. Dragonflies are emerging in force, and eating up thousands of small insects including mosquitoes. One of the world's largest dragonflies, the Swamp Darner, can be seen in good numbers over the fields at Higbee's Beach. Trumpet creeper is in full bloom right now, also attracting hummingbirds.

[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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