Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/31/2002
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 Saturday, August 31, 2002. Highlights from the last week include WHITE IBIS, GREAT CORMORANT, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, BAIRDS SANDPIPER, WILSONS PHALAROPE, SANDWICH TERN, BLACK TERN, BONAPARTES GULL, and news of the migration.

A young WHITE IBIS and an early GREAT CORMORANT were reported from the marshes behind the Wildwoods from The Skimmer boat tour on Aug. 29th.

Interesting shorebirds continue to gather around Cape May, with most sightings from Bunker Pond in Cape May Point State Park and at The Nature Conservancys Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (also called the South Cape May Meadows, or simply, The Meadows), where this weeks rain brought water back to some of the flats. Bunker Pond sightings include 1 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, 3 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, and 1 juvenile BONAPARTES GULL on Aug. 31; 11 flyover WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on Aug. 30th; BAIRDS SANDPIPER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, and WILSONS PHALAROPE on Aug. 28th (the Phalarope reported again on the 29th); and 2 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS on Aug. 27th. Two flyover UPLAND SANDPIPERS and a juvenile BLACK TERN were reported from Cape May Point on Aug. 31st, with another flyover UPLAND SANDPIPER reported from the Higbee Dike also on the 31st. Sightings from the Meadows include a BAIRDS SANDPIPER on Aug. 31st, LEAST BITTERN, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, and SORA on Aug. 30th, a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on Aug. 29th.

The Johnsons Sod Farm, located along the east side of Rt. 77 southwest of Elmer, is also hosting good numbers and variety of shorebirds. Seen on Aug. 31st: 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, 1 UPLAND SANDPIPER, and 30 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER; on the 29th: 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, 50+ AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, and 1 UPLAND SANDPIPER; on the 28th: 1 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and 12 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER. A BAIRDS SANDPIPER was seen here on Aug. 24th.

The Brigantine unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge continues to be loaded with birds. On Aug. 30th 3 BAIRDS SANDPIPERS and 200 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were tallied here. Two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were found here midweek. A WILSONS PHALAROPE, a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, and a BLACK TERN were seen here on Aug. 25th, and 2 BRANT were reported by several birders.

Highlights from the last week at Stone Harbor Point include a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, 2 PIPING PLOVERS, 14 BROWN PELICANS, and 10 RED KNOTS, all on Aug. 27th, plus 3 SANDWICH TERNS, 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, and 20 BROWN PELICANS on the 31st.

WILSONS STORM-PETRELS seem to be staging around the mouth of Delaware Bay. 45 were seen on a morning ferry crossing on Aug. 27th, and 7 were seen from Cape May Point State Park on Aug. 28th.

Songbird migration is picking up speed, though new birds shuffle through Cape May on a daily basis. We have many, many reports of various warblers, flycatchers, and other songbirds from the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (Higbee section and the Hidden Valley area), the Rea Farm (Beanery), and from the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (Meadows). Highlights include TRAILLS FLYCATCHER at the Beanery on the 31st, ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, LEAST FLYCATCHERS, ALDER FLYCATCHERS, and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS at Higbee on the 30th, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, CANADA WARBLER, and TRAILLS FLYCATCHER at Cape May Point State Park on the 30th, 11 species of warblers and BALTIMORE ORIOLES and ORCHARD ORIOLES at the Beanery & Hidden Valley on the 27th, and an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, CERULEAN WARBLER, and flyover DICKCISSEL at Higbee on the 25th.

The raptor migration is also underway, with southbound OSPREY, RED-TAILED HAWK, AMERICAN KESTREL, COOPERS HAWK, and NORTHERN HARRIER seen from the hawkwatch in Cape May Point State Park in one hour on Aug. 31st. The official Cape May Autumn Hawk Watch begins Sept. 1.

Spaces are still open for the bullet workshop on Raptors October 12 & 13. Spaces are also still available for the full 5-day workshop on 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. 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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