Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/21/2002
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, August 21, 2002. Highlights from the last week include LARK SPARROW, PARASITIC JAEGER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, BLACK TERN, SANDWICH TERN, and news of the migration.

A young LARK SPARROW was seen in Cape May Point on Aug. 15th and 16th, near the corner of Coral and Harvard.

Two PARASITIC JAEGERS were seen from the Avalon Seawatch site on Aug. 20th.

It's been another good week at The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (also called the South Cape May Meadows, or simply, "The Meadows"), but water levels are now dropping so low that in the last 24 hours shorebird numbers have dramatically declined. A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was seen on and off from Aug. 17 through the 20th. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was reported on Aug. 20th, but not relocated. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was seen from Aug. 17th to the 19th. Two WILSON'S PHALAROPES were seen on August 16th, along with 30 STILT SANDPIPERS and a single LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. Another WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen here on Aug. 20th. Six HUDSONIAN GODWITS and an UPLAND SANDPIPER flew over the Meadows on Aug. 18th but apparently did not stop. Another UPLAND SANDPIPER flyover occurred on Aug. 17th. An UPLAND SANDPIPER was flushed from fields in the Rea Farm (the "Beanery") on Aug. 17th.

Falling water levels have created shorebird habitat at Bunker Pond, Cape May Point State Park, along with extensive flats where gulls and terns gather to rest. Recent sightings here include WILSON'S PHALAROPE on Aug. 20th, 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on Aug. 17th and 1 on the 16th, 2 SANDWICH TERNS on Aug. 17th and 18th, and varying numbers of BLACK TERNS throughout the week, with no birds often present but a high of 5 seen here on Aug. 17th.

The Brigantine Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is harboring large numbers of shorebirds. Highlights reported to us include an AMERICAN AVOCET and 10 HUDSONIAN GODWITS on Aug. 18th, with 15 HUDSONIAN GODWITS, 1 AMERICAN AVOCET, 1 WILSON'S PHALAROPE, and 2 WHITE-FACED IBIS found on Aug. 16th.

Stone Harbor Point is also harboring large numbers of birds. Eight BLACK TERNS and 8 SANDWICH TERNS were seen here August 16th, along with 15 "Western" WILLETS.

Migrant songbird numbers continue to increase. Unusually early were a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area on August 21st and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW in West Cape May on August 20th. At least two "TRAILL'S FLYCATCHERS" were seen at the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area on August 21st, along with hundreds of EASTERN KINGBIRDS, and assorted other migrants including BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, WORM-EATING WARBLER, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. Flyover DICKCISSELS were reported at Higbee and at the Meadows on Aug. 18th. Other migrant songbirds reported from south of the Cape May Canal last week include HOODED WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, MOURNING WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, and LEAST FLYCATCHER.

Spaces are still open for bullet workshops on Fall Warblers on Sept. 7 & 8 and on Raptors October 12 & 13. Spaces are also still available for the full 5-day workshops on Fall Migration, September 17 21, and Raptor Migration, October 20 24. New half-day Migration Hotspot programs are scheduled for Sept. 14, Oct. 5, Oct. 19, and Nov. 2. Contact CMBO at (609) 861-0700 for more information about these and other upcoming programs for the busy and exciting fall migration season.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration, and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. NOTE THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE CHANGE FOR LATE SUMMER. Updates to this hotline are scheduled to be made on the following dates: Wednesday August 21, Sunday August 25, and Saturday August 31. Normal Thursday updates will begin again on September 5. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland, Senior Naturalist
Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr., PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

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