Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 7/5/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory [CMBO]. Highlights for the week ending July 4 include sightings of ANHINGA, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, returning shorebirds an announcement regarding a special CMBO sponsored boat tour to Champagne Island aboard "The Skimmer", local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

An ANHINGA was seen soaring over Hidden Valley Ranch on June 27. It did not linger and was not seen again. WILSON'S STORM PETRELS are being seen with some regularity off Cape May Point with 20 seen on June 30. A few southbound shorebirds have been this week, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER were all seen at the Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Meadows Migratory Bird Refuge ("the Meadows"). Other interesting sightings included a GREEN-WINGED TEAL in the Meadows on June 28, a N. GANNET offshore there the same day and 7 BROWN PELICANS off Cape May on June 29.

Bob Carlough, of The Skimmer birding by boat tours, reports that last week that all the marsh nesters have young now including lots of LAUGHING GULL chicks, FORSTER'S and COMMON TERN chicks, sizable chicks in all the OSPREY nests now, and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER chicks!

Champagne Island, the sand island in Hereferd Inlet between Stone Harbor and North Wildwood, is the site of the largest nesting colony of BLACK SKIMMERS in the state, with about 500 pairs, as well as about 500 pairs of nesting COMMON TERNS, and several pairs of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. BROWN PELICANS are regularly found roosting there from summer through late fall. Also, by July it's a favorite roost site for other terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate,Sandwich, Black, Caspian, and Royal Terns 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 benefit 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!

The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge has a healthy colony of nesting LEAST TERNS with a number of PIPING PLOVER nest with chicks. The Meadows also has nesting LEAST BITTERN. 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 sizable 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!

CMBO's garden and feeders are quite active with RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS. 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.

Local Nature Notes follow: 2 Butterfly Counts were conducted last weekend. The "Belleplain Butterfly Count" on Friday June, 28 recorded 46 species. Highlights were Pipevine Swallowtail on Stipson Island Road over 200 Bog Coppers, Peck's Skipper and Two-spotted Skipper. At Cranbury Bog in northern Cape May County Appalachian Brown in four territories, Hoary Edge in two territories and two rare skippers. Hairstreaks were way down with only 4 Coral, 5 Banded, 2 Striped and 20 Gray Hairstreaks. 22 Monarchs were seen along with 7 sizable Monarch caterpillars. 100% cloud cover on Saturday, June 29 did not help totals on the "Cumberland Butterfly Count" where 35 species were recorded. Hairstreaks were again low with 8 Coral, 1 Banded and 13 Gray Hairstreaks. Highlights included 2 Appalachian Brown and 25 Monarchs, a set of Monarch Caterpillars, 1 Hoary Edge, Northern and Southern Cloudywing and 1 Little Glassywing. Painted Ladies were absent from all three counts. Garden Fennel and Bronze Fennel has lots of BlackSwallowtail caterpillars here at CMBO's garden and other gardens. Trumpet Creeper is just beginning to bloom in some locations, a favorite with hummingbirds. Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly Weed are in full bloom in many places and coming into full bloom in other places, all favorites with butterflies! Everlasting Pea is in bloom, great for skippers.

News of CMBO's programs follow: July 27-28, Fred Mears will teach a two-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course." Call CMBO for details or to register at 609-884-2736. CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as well as the Friday evening trips mentioned earlier on the Hotline. 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!

Our daily bird walks are underway and require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a "Birds of the Seashore" walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30a.m. Every Wednesday, Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. Every Friday Bill Glaser leads a "Sunset Bird Walk" through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 6:30 p.m. Every Saturday, Tom Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May Point" walk at 7:30 a.m in the raised picnic pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.. Stop by our office and pick up the program schedule for more details or give us a call at 609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.

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 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 birding 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 MayBird 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 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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