Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 9/16/2005
The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This hotline was prepared on Friday, September 16. NJ Audubon's three hotlines can be read in full on our website (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (top of any page). Sightings for this week include BROWN BOOBY, LITTLE GULL, and other birds of note

A BROWN BOOBY was seen off South Cape May, heading east, at 9:30 am, on September 16. Most probably hurricane Ophelia related, the bird continued out of the Bay. The 2nd winter LITTLE GULL was on the Beach at St. Mary's Church on September 12 among the many hundreds of COMMON TERNS that are frequenting the areas.

Other terns include 2-3 SANDWICH TERNS, 3-4 CASPIAN TERNS, 2 BLACK TERNS. All these have been seen at various locations including South Cape May and Cape May Point Beaches. Also to be watched for on the beaches (or just offshore) is the female KING EIDER which remains in the area.

The South Cape May Meadows has seen a drop in water levels. In response, shorebirds are increasing and have included, recently, 3 MARBLED GODWIT, both SHORT-BILLED and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS , 2-6 STILT SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, WILSON'S PHALAROPE. Also in the meadows, multiple SORAs, VIRGINIA RAIL.

Songbirds have been lean at Higbee Beach (what else would you expect on easterly winds) and the Hawk flight has been equally lackluster. The catalytic touch of a westerly or northwest wind should turn this around.

Interesting has been a late influx of PURPLE MARTINS (a dozen or so have been around Cape May Point and several hundred lingered to September 15 in Mauricetown. Stone Harbor Point shorebirds are in diminished but still good numbers on a high tide. As many as 8 PIPING PLOVER are still being seen as well as numbers of RED KNOT. Also at Stone Harbor, 8 BROWN PELICAN on September 15.

Advice for visiting birders trying to work out an itinerary. Bird Higbee Beach early in the day. Go to the Hawkwatch Platform around mid-morning to catch the news and the flight. Do afternoon trips to Stone Harbor or the Delaware Bayshore or Brigantine. The water levels in the South Cape May Meadows are finally dropping. Shorebirds should oblige by dropping in.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory. For more current information and details relating to these sightings and others stop by the Northwood Center in Cape May Point or the Center for Research and Education in Goshen and check the bird sighting sheets. You can also pick up a birding map, checklists, and information relating to our programs and events (daily walks and workshops), as well as registration information for the annual Cape May Autumn Weekend / THE Bird Show (slated for October 27-29). For additional information call 609-884-2736 or 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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