Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/26/2002

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 Monday, August 26, 2002. Highlights from the last 10 days include PARASITIC JAEGER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, WILSONS PHALAROPE, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, BLACK TERN, SANDWICH TERN, and news of the migration.

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

Interesting shorebirds continued to be seen at The Nature Conservancys Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (also called the South Cape May Meadows, or simply, The Meadows), but water levels have now dropped so low that shorebird numbers have dramatically declined. A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was seen on and off from Aug. 17 through the 20th. A BAIRDS SANDPIPER was reported on Aug. 20th, but not relocated. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was seen from Aug. 17th to the 19th. Two WILSONS PHALAROPES were seen on August 16th, along with 30 STILT SANDPIPERS and a single LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. Another WILSONS 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 WILSONS PHALAROPE on Aug. 20th, up to 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on Aug. 16th, 17th, 22nd, and 24th. Two SANDWICH TERNS were here on Aug. 17th and 18th, and varying numbers of BLACK TERNS have been frequently seen, with no birds often present but a high of 5 seen here on Aug. 17th our most recent report is from Aug. 24th. A SANDWICH TERN was seen on the beach at Cape May Point State Park on Aug. 23rd.

The Brigantine Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is harboring large numbers of shorebirds. Highlights reported to us include a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, a WILSONS PHALAROPE, and a BLACK TERN on Aug. 25th; an AMERICAN AVOCET and 10 HUDSONIAN GODWITS on Aug. 18th; and 15 HUDSONIAN GODWITS, 1 AMERICAN AVOCET, 1 WILSONS PHALAROPE, and 2 WHITE-FACED IBIS 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. Three early DUNLIN were seen here on Aug. 25.

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. TRAILLS FLYCATCHERS were seen at the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area on August 21st and again on the 25th, along with hundreds of EASTERN KINGBIRDS. Other migrants recently found at Higbee include OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, CERULEAN WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, 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, at the South Cape May Meadows on the 24th, and at Higbee on the 25th. Other migrant songbirds reported from south of the Cape May Canal during the last few days include ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, CAPE MAY WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, MOURNING WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER, and LEAST FLYCATCHER.

Raptors are also clearly on the move already, with several recent reports of southbound BALD EAGLES, MERLINS, AMERICAN KESTRELS, SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, and COOPERS HAWKS. The official Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch begins on September 1.

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, Monday August 26, and Saturday August 31. Normal Thursday updates will begin again on September 5. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBOs 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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