Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/14/1997
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 August 14 include sightings of MARBLED GODWIT, COMMON EIDER, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, an update on the HORSESHOE CRAB crisis, and mention here that the Higbee Beach parking lots are closed for the summer again, but this does not mean Higbee Beach is closed -- you just need to get there by bike or by walking.


On August 18th new proposed horseshoe crab regulations will be published in the New Jersey Register. On that date (August 18th) a 30-day public comment period opens.

The proposed new regulations: (1) will establish a limited entry system whereby individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for a horseshoe crab harvester's permit, (2) will restrict the harvest to hand collection only (prohibiting all other gear types, (3) sets a possession limit of 100 horseshoe crabs per day, and (4) will limit the open season for harvesting horseshoe crabs to Tuesdays and Thursdays during the period of May 1 through June 30. We need all of you to comment on these new proposed horseshoe crab regulations. The NJ Marine Fisheries Council must know that the conservation world is still watching, and that these regulations may not be strict enough to allow the horseshoe crab population to recover. The Council must make a commitment to maintaining this fragile and ecologically significant resource. They must acknowledge that all measures of horseshoe crab abundance indicate a decline in the species, and that this decline must be reversed. We must get a commitment that if the horseshoe crab population does not recover, that the council will put in place a moratorium.

To receive a copy of the new proposed horseshoe crab regulations send a check or money order of $2.25 (copying fee) to the Office of Administrative Law, 9 Quakerbridge Plaza, P.O. Box 049, Trenton, NJ 08625-0049 and ask for a copy of the "Horseshoe Crab Proposal adopted as an emergency amendment to N.J.A.C. 7:25-18.16."

Your written comments must be received by September 17, 1997 and can be sent to Janis E. Hoagland, Esq, DEP Docket No. 19-97-07/634, DEP Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402.

Thanks for your continued help with this environmental crisis!

A MARBLED GODWIT continues to be seen in the Cape May Point State Park, seen today August 14. It is usually seen on the beach below the raised picnic pavilion, but sometimes is in Bunker Pond in front of the hawkwatch platform. It was joined by a second bird on the 12th. Another was present at Stone Harbor Point, also on the 14th.

Three COMMON EIDER continue to summer around the area. Two are seen at various spots off Cape May Point while the other is south and east of the Ferry terminal.

Three WILSONS PHALAROPES were seen this week, all quite briefly. They were seen in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on August 8 and 9, and in the State Park at a pond along the Yellow Trail, called Al's Pond on August 12.

A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was seen in the SCMM on the 7th and 8th, with two there on the 9th.

LEAST BITTERNS have been seen regularly east of the east walk in SCMM, driven out to the edges to hunt because of low water levels.

The water levels in SCMM continue to drop, but shore birding remains good. Al's Pond in the State Park is also a good place to see shorebirds close up. WHITE-RUMPED and WESTERN SANDPIPERS were seen there today August 14.

A decent flight of landbirds on August 14 brought WORM-EATING, BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS, and two PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS to Higbee Beach. Over 100 BOBOLINKS and a DICKCISSEL were also recorded. NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES are plentiful on the edges of the Phragmites in SCMM and the State Park.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is high. The first broods of young have left the nest, plus migrants from the north are coming through -- so there are a lot of hummingbirds around. They are emptying the feeders at CMBO and constant at flowers in CMBO's gardens. If you have hummingbird feeders, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution or the solution ferments and can be hazardous to hummingbirds. Trumpet Creeper is in full bloom now and drawing in hungry hummingbirds.

Local Nature Notes follow: Wild Cherries are ripe, just in time for migrant songbirds that are beginning to come through. CMBO's Sunday and Wednesday butterfly walks have been enjoying Fiery, Broad-winged, Sachem, and Silver-spotted Skippers, N. Broken Dashes, American Ladies, Spicebush & Tiger Swallowtails, Juniper & Gray Hairstreaks, lots of Red Admirals, American Coppers, Common Buckeyes, American Snouts, Question Marks, and Summer Azures. Hayhurst Scallopwings are flying now and being seen at Higbee Beach and in Goshen. A Great Spangled Fritillary was in Goshen on August 12th along with a Red-banded Hairstreak and a Hackberry Emperor. CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is a mecca for silk moths. Almost every morning we find one or several clinging to the building; they're drawn in by our security night-lights. Most recently the building was adorned with 3 Luna Moths, a Polyphemus Moth, and an Imperial Moth. It's a great year for Monarchs. We've been seeing migrants since the last few days in July. In late July and August, migrant Monarchs seen at Cape May are coming from Canada and New England where evenings are much colder and migration has been triggered. Our local monarchs are still mating and laying eggs, creating the next generation and dying. Each of our centers has a display with live Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises. Stop by and check it out.

The Cape May Bird Observatory now has two centers of activity. Our new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is located at 600 Route 47 North, either 1 mile south of the traffic light at Rt. 657 or 1.7 miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, brand new sign, large parking lot, and big new building beyond. And the Northwood Center now has more space than ever devoted to our growing birding bookstore and birding information. Both centers are open daily, 10-5.

The Cape May Bird Observatory's Summer Program Schedule offers daily bird, butterfly, or wildflower walks. Also offered weekly, but requiring preregistration, are Birding By Boat trips each Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and a Kayak Nature Tour each Tuesday afternoons. Stop by either center to pick up the Kestrel Express, which includes our Summer Program Schedule with full details or call us at 609-861-0700.

Special upcoming summer programs include a "Bennett Bog Wildflower Walk" on August 16, a "Field Trip for Shorebirds on the Delaware Bayshore" on August 16, a "Rail Watch by Boat" on Tuesday, August 19, a Member's Night on August 20th on "Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens," a "Champagne Island Cruise for Terns & Skimmers" on August 22, a 2-day "Bird Watching for Beginners Course" August 30-31, and a "Workshop on Binoculars & Spotting Scopes for Birders" on August 30.

Focus on Nature Tours is running two pelagic trips out of Brielle. One on August 24 and one on September 14, leaving at 5 am and returning by 8 PM. Cost for either is $66.

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 new Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores. The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May Point and the Center for Research & Education in Goshen, both open Daily, 10-5.

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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