Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/1/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's CapeMay Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending August 1 include sightings of RUFF, CORY'S SHEARWATER, SANDWICH TERN, 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.

A RUFF was seen this week at the West Cape May Impoundements on July 26th and 27th. These impoundments are on the south side of the canal, east of the Seashore Avenue bridge. Also seen there this week were a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and three WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.

Eleven CORY'S SHEARWATERS were seen at the Avalon Seawatch on July 29th with 2 more on the 30th. the 30th also produced 14 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS. A SANDWICH TERN was there on the 25th.

A few early migrant songbirds have been seen around the Cape. AMERICAN REDSTART was in the State Park on the 28th of July along with 4 ORCHARD ORIOLES, while a CERULEAN WARBLER was found dead along Bayshore Rd. near the Beanery.

Bob Carlough, of THE SKIMMER birding by boat tours, reports they are now seeing lots of migrant shorebirds, including WHIMBREL and RED KNOT and heron and egret activity is at a peak now as heronries are in full swing. LAUGHING GULLS and COMMON TERN and 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 is a favorite roost site for migrant 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!

PIPING PLOVERS, LEAST BITTERNS, and SORA RAILS have all been enjoyed at The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (TNC) recently. Along with CMBO's many walks there, the 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 is at a peak in August. 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. The Avalon Seawatch noted a Monarch migrating over the ocean, going south on July 27th. At the Cape May Point Circle Gardens and the garden at CMBO have lots of Broad-winged Skippers; they're a rather non-descript but large skipper. Their host plants is phragmites, so we see great numbers here. The local gardens also held Monarch, Question Mark, Sachem, American Snouts, Silver-spotted Skipper, and Tiger, Spicebush and Black Swallowtails this week.

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: "Hummingbird Walks" will be offered August 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16. A "Bombay Hook for Shorebirds" field trip is scheduled for August 17. 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 Passerines (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 Stories behind the Stories!" And on August 31, Pete Dunne will teach a workshop on "Binoculars and Spotting Scopes for Birders." August 24-25 Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird-watching For Beginners Course." Call CMBO (at 609-884-2736) for the Summer Program Schedule, which includes details and information on registration for these special programs.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-3:30p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Every Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m.. The Friday trip runs to 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!

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, meetingat 7:30 a.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. And Every Saturday 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. Beginning August 1st, a "Wildflower Walk" with Keith Seager will be offered Every Thursday, meeting at 10am 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 7:30am in the Cape May Point State Park's outer parking lot. Also beginning August 11th, Louise Zemaitis will offer a "Bookstore Safari" through CMBO's bookstore Every Sunday at 1:30 pm. Beginning August 14th, Pat Sutton will offer a "Butterfly Walk" Every Wednesday at 10:00 am., meeting 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 am, meeting at the small clam shell parking lot on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Rd. 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.

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

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