You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Sept. 23, 1993 include: EURASIAN WIGEON, COMMON EIDER, AM. AVOCET, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, POMARINE JAEGERS, PARASITIC JAEGERS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, CLAY-COLORED and LINCOLN'S SPARROWS, LARK BUNTING, local nature notes, and news of upcoming programs.
A quick note: until further notice, this hotline will be updated LATE on Thursday evenings instead of during Thursday afternoon as customary.
The imm. LARK BUNTING reported on last week's tape was seen through Sat. 9/18 but not after. To make up for the Bunting's disappearance, Cape May was blessed with quite a few good birds this week. Chief among these was the AM. AVOCET that spent 9/22 at Bunker Pond in front of the Hawk Watch platform. Looking it up in the newly published "Birds of Cape May" by David Sibley, we find that this is only the 8th recent record of the species for the county. The book is on sale now at CMBO.
A drake EURASIAN WIGEON in eclipse plumage was found among the flock of AMERICAN WIGEON on Bunker Pond on 9/19. It has been seen there every day this week, found by sorting through the Wigeon looking for the one with the rusty head. Five female-plumaged COMMON EIDER flew past the sea watch at Avalon on Sept. 21. Other highlights this week at Avalon were BROWN PELICAN, PARASITIC JAEGER, all 3 species of SCOTERS, and a flock of 700 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS on the beach on 9/20. The sea watch is conducted from the end of Seventh St. in Avalon.
An ad. light-morph POMARINE JAEGER was seen flying along the beach at the Concrete Ship in Cape May Point on the afternoon of 9/22. Also that day 3 Jaegers were seen from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, 2 Parasitic and one unidentified. Huge numbers of gulls and terns have been noticeable lately, for example 250 ROYAL TERNS & 400 COMMON TERNS at Cape May, 500 ROYAL TERNS at N. Wildwood, and hundreds of gulls and terns foraging in the rips off Cape May Point. The congregations are worth scanning for Jaegers attracted by the activity.
Shorebirds: variety remains high, though individual numbers are low. This week saw the arrival of the first wave of DUNLIN at Champagne Island on 9/20. PIPING PLOVER are still present there. Also there, WESTERN SANDPIPERS and a SANDWICH TERN on 9/22. Shorebirds in the South Cape May Meadows included LESSER GOLDEN PLOVER, WHIMBREL, WHITE-RUMPED, BAIRD'S, BUFF-BREASTED & STILT SANDPIPER, COMMON SNIPE, & WILSON'S PHALAROPE. Another L. GOLDEN PLOVER was seen near the Parkway along Ocean Ave. The oddest shorebird sighting was of an UPLAND SANDPIPER sitting on a telephone line near LILY LAKE 9/22; in the same field of view the observer saw a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER on the pole. The first SNOW GEESE passed by the hawk watch on 9/17. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen at Higbee Beach on 9/22. There are now a few GREAT CORMORANTS on area jetties.
Landbirds of note at Higbee on 9/18 include OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, DICKCISSEL & CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. The cold front of 9/19 produced good flights: PHILADELPHIA VIREO, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, N. PARULA, WILSON'S WARBLERS, CONNECTICUT WARBLERS, BLACKPOLL & BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, lots of PALM WARBLERS, some PURPLE FINCHES and the season's first LINCOLN'S SPARROW. Single RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were seen at Higbee and from the Hawk watch on 9/20.
The raptor flight on 9/19 was the best so far this season, totalling 1950 birds, with 1230 being AM. KESTRELS. Other high counts that day were 87 OSPREY, 77 N. HARRIER, 319 SHARP-SHINNED, 51 COOPER'S HAWKS, & 125 MERLINS. Another good flight on 9/22 saw 77 OSPREY, 245 SHARP-SHINS, 58 COOPERS, & 16 PEREGRINE FALCONS, all but 2 being adults.
[Local nature notes deleted - LL]
Upcoming programs daily through mid-October: Each Sunday through September, a birdwalk at Higbee Beach begins at 7:30 AM in the parking lot. On Mondays, a birdwalk leaves from the State Park Picnic Pavilion at 7:30 AM. Every Tuesday evening a "sunset bird walk" meets at 6:30 PM at the Meadows. Every Wednesday, a birdwalk for beginners meets at 7:30 AM at the Nature Conservancy's property at the Cape May Meadows. Every Thursday at 7:30 AM a walk leaves the parking lot on New England Rd. for Hidden Valley. On Friday, a birdwalk meets at the Concrete Ship at 7:30 AM. Hawk ID workshops take place at the State Park's education building every Friday at 9:30 AM and every Saturday at 1 PM. Birdwatching for Beginners two-day workshop is scheduled for Sept. 26, Oct. 23, and each month thereafter. Other special programs as well; call for details and registration.
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, phone our office or write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you're in the area please stop by our headquarters at 707 East Lake Drive, Cape May Point. The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and includes sightings from Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties and adjacent areas. Updates are made on Thursday evening, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.