Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 8/6/1998
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 6 include reports of WHITE IBIS, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, UPLAND SANDPIPER, other bird news, local nature notes, and news of CMBO.

A flock of 14 WHITE IBIS was seen as they flew across the Maurice River in Cumberland County headed from Bivalve towards East Point. This flock is very similar in size to the 15 seen at the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on July 5, and may or may not represent the same birds.

Two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were in the SCMM on July 31, with that number growing to three on August 1. One was also a fly-by at the Higbee Beach dike on the 1st.

UPLAND SANDPIPERS were recorded as fly-bys at the SCMM on July 31st, and at Cape May Point and the Higbee Beach dike on August 1.

Shorebird migration has kicked into full gear. The SCMM has had a good mixture of birds. In addition to numbers of regular migrants (i.e. SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS & LEAST SANDPIPERS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS), there have also been fair numbers of PECTORAL and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, with a few STILT SANDPIPERS & WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and an occasional WHIMBREL. The sand bars at Stone Harbor Point have had good numbers of birds that prefer that habitat. On August 3, there were 200 RED KNOTS, 110 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, over 50 of both BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, and 35 WILLETS.

A cold front on August 1 brought the first good wave of warblers. The morning flight at Higbee Beach dike had 40 YELLOW WARBLERS, 25 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, 12 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, and individual BLACK AND WHITE and PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS. a few EASTERN KINGBIRDS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were also moving. All these birds were flying out, headed north. Elsewhere on the 1st, the fields at Higbee Beach had two or three BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS and a LEAST FLYCATCHER.

A migrant NORTHERN HARRIER was at the Higbee dike on August 1, while a MERLIN was at the Cape May Point SP and COOPER'S HAWK was at the SCMM on the same day.

Local nature Notes follow: The five hummingbird feeders at CMBO's Research & Education Center in Goshen are being emptied every two days by persistent and numerous Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Local birds are being joined by migrants to put on an impressive show. Remember to continue to clean your hummingbird feeders once a week and refill with fresh solution. A WIDOW SKIMMER, a dragonfly previously named Pied Skimmer, was seen in the Villas on July 27, a first record for Cape May County (although they occur in parts of Cumberland County). Cold fronts that bring birds also bring influxes of dragonflies, and later will bring influxes of Monarch butterflies. Spot-winged & Wandering Gliders, Swamp and Green Darners, and Black & Carolina Saddlebags are the five most numerous migrants. COMET DARNERS are much less common migrants and two were on Cape May Point on August 2 during the CMBO Sunday butterfly walk. The walk also enjoyed a PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL, a rare visitor to the area. The last brood of NORTHERN BROKEN DASHES, a fold-winged skipper, is on the wane, Juniper Hairstreaks are in the middle of their final brood, while the last seasonal brood of Zabulon Skippers has just gotten under way. Among several other species, five JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK and three NORTHERN BROKEN DASHES were seen on the butterfly walk, also.

The Cape May Bird Observatory has daily walks, requiring no preregistration, and many special field trips and programs that do. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop our centers, or call 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

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 hotline. For more information call 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. Don't hesitate to visit our two centers of activity. CMBO's Center for Research & Education is located at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen. CMBO's Northwood Center is located at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. Both centers feature gardens, feeding stations, nature & book stores, and birding information. The Center in Goshen also has a wildlife art gallery, featuring artists, photographer, and carvers. Each Center is 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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