Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 9/28/1995
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending Sept. 28, 1995 include AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, EURASIAN WIGEON, migration news and announcements.

New Jersey Audubon's 49th annual Cape May Autumn Weekend will be held Friday, Sept. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 1, a non-stop weekend of programs, workshops and field trips with hundreds of birders attending. Call CMBO for information.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen along Ocean Drive at the Coast Guard ponds Sept. 22; it has not been reported since. Ocean Drive is reached by bearing left at the end of the Parkway, instead of crossing over the bridge into Cape May. Two AVOCETS were also in the northeast corner of the East Pool at Brigantine on Sept. 23.

Up to five MARBLED GODWITS continue to be seen at Thompson's Beach on the Delaware Bay shore; they were last reported on Sept. 23. A drake EURASIAN WIGEON is still being seen in the Bunker Pond, in front of the CMBO Hawkwatch platform at the State Park. Earlier in the week, both BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and AMERICAN BITTERN were present at Lighthouse Pond at the State Park, and a SORA rail was in the South Cape May Meadows. These have not been reported recently.

Some passerine highlights this weekend included a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Higbee Beach on Sept. 23; the arrival of YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS on Sept. 24; WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW on Sept. 26 near the Hawkwatch platform; and LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Higbee on Sept. 27. Today, Sept. 28, a good fallout of birds at Higbee produced a late MOURNING WARBLER and a late KENTUCKY WARBLER; three PINE WARBLERS; and a SOLITARY VIREO. Also today, *OVER 500 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES* were seen in the dunes around Cape May Point. Other warblers seen today included BAY-BREASTED, BLACKPOLL, PARULA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, & BLACK-THROATED GREEN at Hidden Valley Ranch.

We are nearly a month into the CMBO Hawkwatch, staffed this year by Andre Robinson; Jerry Ligouri and Paul Koenig are our education interns. Already today, Sept. 28, a major flight is underway. By 1:30 PM, 9 BALD EAGLES and over 60 PEREGRINE FALCONS had come through. On Sept. 23, over 1500 birds were counted, highlighted by over 950 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS. On Sept. 24, over 2200 total, with over 1700 SHARPSHINS; on Sept. 27, 970 SHARPSHINS, 500+ AM. KESTRELS, 65 MERLINS & 53 PEREGRINE FALCONS. There have also been 3 NORTHERN GOSHAWKS this week.

The CMBO Seawatch at the north end of Avalon is staffed by Dave Ward, Clay Sutton, Mike O'Brien, Fred Mears. It began Sept. 22, and already there is good movement and variety, including a few NORTHERN GANNET, a few SCOTERS, thousands of CORMORANTS, several PARASITIC JAEGERS, one POMARINE JAEGER on Sept. 24, and BROWN PELICANS daily.

If you are in Cape May and looking for nearby birding attractions, the SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER that spent the summer at Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware was still there on Sept. 26.

Local nature notes follow.

Sept 28 a huge DRAGONFLY migration took place; from 10 AM on, the sky was so full of them it was hard to pick out migrating hawks. They were mostly GREEN DARNERS, with BLACK-MANTLED GLIDERS and others mixed in. The same day marked this season's largest movement of MONARCHS to date, nectaring on the dunes on Goldenrod and filling the sky overhead.

The Cape has had lots of southern vagrant butterflies this fall. A garden on Lincoln Ave. in Cape May Point this week had ten LONG-TAILED SKIPPERS in one day. Other sites include the Water Conservation Garden in Cape May city, and the Pavilion Circle Garden in Cape May Point. CMBO's Sept. 27 butterfly walk at the Pavilion Circle had two LONG-TAILED SKIPPERS, two OCOLA SKIPPERS, eight FIERY SKIPPERS, constant CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, lots of PAINTED LADIES and AMERICAN LADIES, over 100 SACHEMS and over 100 MONARCHS. A few non-migrant species there were ORANGE SULPHUR and SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPER. RED ADMIRALS and COMMON BUCKEYES are also migrating through and have been seen along the dune lines. CLOUDLESS SULPHURS are laying eggs on Partridge Pea, and COMMON BUCKEYE caterpillars can be seen now on Seaside Gerardia along the central path at the South Cape May Meadows.

[program information deleted--LL]

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 birding hotline. For more information regarding Cape May birding, our programs and field trips, and the Observatory, call our office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.

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 (llarson@pucc.princeton.edu).] Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.

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