You have reached the Cape May birding hotline. Highlights of the week ending Sept. 24 include WESTERN KINGBIRDS, AM. GOLDEN PLOVER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, EURASIAN WIGEON, and GREAT CORMORANT.
Twenty-five BROWN PELICANS were seen on Champagne Island in Hereford Inlet on Sept. 18. Three GREAT CORMORANTS were seen at the Cape May Ferry landing on Sept. 19. The "Holiday" whale watch boat continues to make trips; they have been seeing BROWN PELICANS, the first N. GANNETS, and BLACK TERNS this week. A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen at Brigantine on the 17th. Three WOOD DUCKS were seen in the S. Cape May Meadows on the 22d.
The CMBO Hawkwatch highlights for this week include: single BLACK VULTURES on the 18th, 20th, and 23d; single BALD EAGLES on the 17th, 22d, and 23d and 2 on the 20th; 241 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS on the 23d; 34 COOPER'S HAWKS also on the 23d; 327 AM. KESTRELS on the 19th; 83 MERLINS on the 20th; 14 PEREGRINES also on the 20th. The weekly high count was 720 raptors tallied as a strong cold front swept by on the 23d.
Brigantine offers good habitat for migrant shorebirds this year; better management of the water levels in the west pool is paying off. Two AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS were reported on the 15th, and 4 on the 22d. Also, 12 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS on the 17th, 10 on the 22d, and 8 on the 23d. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was there on the 22d and 23d; a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen at Brig on the 22d.
Closer to home, Cape May's annual LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL returned to its perch on the pilings north of Sunset Beach, about one-half mile north of the parking area. It's always worth a hike down there to say hello to the bird.
A BLACK TERN was seen flying by the Cape May ferry jetty on the 19th. Thirty CASPIAN TERNS were seen on Champagne Island on the 21st. Eleven PIPING PLOVERS were seen at Champagne Island on the 18th. 120 BLACK SKIMMERS were seen on the evening of the 19th in Thompson's Inlet, on the Sea Isle City side of the inlet. A WHIPPOORWILL was seen at Cape May Point on the 23d. Two COM. NIGHTHAWKS were seen over the Cape May Meadows on the 23d. HUMMINGBIRD numbers continue to dwindle as the birds migrate but a few are still being seen at feeders. A WESTERN KINGBIRD came to Higbee's Beach on the 23d, and we recieved a single report of a MOURNING WARBLER from Cape May Point on the 18th. SHARP-TAILED SPARROW was reported from the Cape May Meadows on the 22d.
Hump-backed whales were being seen from Avalon in close to shore up to the 19th. The group included one dead whale, and another (or the same) dead whale was seen off Cape May on the 19th.
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Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and conservation unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, phone our office at 609-884-2736 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 [(609) 884-2626] 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. [Compiled by CMBO staff; transcribed by L. Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.