Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/28/1997
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 28 include sightings of SANDWICH TERN, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, MARBLED GODWIT, COMMON EIDER, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and field trips, an update on the HORSESHOE CRAB crisis.


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 quality 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!

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. Also, an update on the closure at Forsythe (or Brig). It will be closed on weekdays until August 29. On weekends through September 13-14 it will be partially open, but closed on the 13th and 14th.

A SANDWICH TERN was on the sand spit in Bunker Pond in the Cape May Point State Park on August 26.

A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen on the center path of the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on the evening of August 22. Another, or possibly the same bird was in North Cape May on August 26.

The two MARBLED GODWITS that had been regularly were seen on August 23 near the free bridge to Stone Harbor .

COMMON EIDERS continue to summer around the area. Three were seen near Higbee Beach on August 28.

Landbird flights were good this week on August 23 and 24. Hundreds OF AMERICAN REDSTARTS were present at Higbee Beach on the 23rd. Other highlights included WORM-EATING, BLACKBURNIAN, and CANADA WARBLERS, SUMMER TANAGER and DICKCISSEL. The 24th featured a good variety of warblers highlighted by CERULEAN, MOURNING and PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS along with over 20 BALTIMORE ORIOLES. A HOODED WARBLER was at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 24th. Two GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS were near Higbee Beach on the 25th.

A BLACK TERN was seen at Thompson's Beach along with a number of WESTERN SANDPIPERS. Water levels in the SCMM are still high. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was there on August 22. while a handful of birds there on the 27th including a WESTERN SANDPIPER and 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS.

A CASPIAN TERN was over the SCMM on August 23, while 6 GULL-BILLED TERNS were near Champagne Island on the 28th.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is high. 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. Some butterfly highlights this week include 2 Fiery Skippers, Variegated Fritilary, and a Tawny Emperor at the Circle Gardens in Cape May Point on August 24. A Cloudless Sulphur was on Stevens St. on the 25th. Hayhurst Scallopwings are flying now and being seen at Higbee Beach and in Goshen. Zabulon Skippers are flying now also. 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. Ninety were seen at the Avalon Seawatch on August 18. 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 book store 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 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 a pelagic trips out of Brielle 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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