Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 9/29/1994
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending Sept. 29, 1994 include sightings of : SABINE'S GULL, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, PARASITIC JAEGER, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT, migration notes, nature notes and announcements.

A juvenile SABINE'S GULL was found on the beach near the South Cape May Meadows on Sept. 27, roosting with Royal Terns. The bird flew and landed on the water offshore and was eventually lost as dense fog rolled in. There were no repeat sightings.

The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW reported last week at Hidden Valley Ranch was seen again on Sept. 23. Another was at Higbee Beach on Sept. 24.

PARASITIC JAEGERS have been regular off the Cape May Point State Park this week chasing through flocks of feeding gulls and terns. Seven PARASITIC JAEGERS were seen from the Avalon Sea Watch on Sept. 28. A mystery alcid was seen from the watch Sept. 26; the bird was a puffin-sized alcid but the bill was thought to be wrong for that species. The CMBO Sea Watch started full-time coverage this week, and is being conducted from Seventh Street, not Eighth Street as indicated on our Cape May Birding Map.

An eclipse plumage male EURASIAN WIGEON continues to be seen nearly daily from Bunker Pond next to the Hawk Watch at Cape May Point state park. On Sept. 28, it was joined by a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, and the 2 birds of European origin could be viewed side by side for a short while. Up to 3 MARBLED GODWITS were still being seen near Grassy Sound by the Jersey Cape Nature Excursion tour boat trips.

The Cape May Hawk Watch had a close brush with a record PEREGRINE FALCON flight on Sept. 24 when 142 Peregrines were counted; but a switch of the winds, to the southwest, kept the previous one-day record of 157 intact. A hunting BARN OWL was seen along Sunset Blvd. on Sept. 27.

Passerine highlights this past week included a sighting of DICKCISSEL on Sept. 28 and 2 on Sept. 29. One was seen along Sunset Blvd. on Sept. 28, while on Sept. 29 one was at Hidden Valley Ranch and the other at Higbee Beach. CONNECTICUT WARBLERS were seen at Higbee Beach on Sept. 28 and 29; and a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was at Higbee on Sept. 28.

WILSON'S PHALAROPES were reported from 2 locations this past week, with one near the cove at the Second Ave. Jetty, and one along the canal east of the Seashore Rd. Bridge. AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS were flyby's at the State Park on Sept. 24 and Sept. 27. A flock of about 100 Black Scoters has taken up residence around the jetties at the State Park. BROWN PELICANS this week were down to two sightings of two birds each, on Sept. 23 at the State Park, and on Sept. 28 two were at Hereford Inlet.

Local nature notes: Southern butterflies continue to wander north to please butterfly watchers.LONG-TAILED SKIPPERS have become regular, being seen in any good butterfly garden. One was in the CMBO garden on Sept. 26; and three others were reported in the county this week. Who knows how many individuals have been involved in over a dozen sightings so far this fall. An OCOLA SKIPPER was in a garden in Goshen on Sept. 25, and another at Cape May's Water Conservation Garden, Madison Ave., on Sept. 28. This is another southern wanderer, as are LITTLE YELLOW, Sept. 25 at Cape May Point, and a CLOUDED SKIPPER, Sept. 24-25 at Higbee Beach. CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, formerly called GIANT CLOUDLESS-SULPHURS, have been pretty scarce this fall. Some years they are one of the most common butterflies seen from the hawk watch. Several WHITE-M HAIRSTREAKS were seen this week, as well as a TAWNY EMPEROR and a HORACE'S DUSKYWING Sept. 24 at Higbee. MONARCHS and COMMON BUCKEYES are still being seen in numbers. A RIVER OTTER entertained observers in the state park this week; it is more common than realized but very secretive. VIRGINIA CREEPER leaves are turning scarlet now; who says you need to go to New England for colors?

[Program notes omitted -LL]

Fine print: 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 [(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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