You have reached the Cape May birding hotline. Highlights of the week ending Sept. 3 include SWAINSON'S HAWK, WHITE-FACED IBIS, EURASIAN WIGEON, BAIRD'S and PURPLE SANDPIPER, news from the Cape May hawk watch, highlights of recent warbler and landbird flights, UPLAND SANDPIPER, POMARINE JAEGER, BLACK and GULL-BILLED TERNS, BROWN PELICAN, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs.
A subadult SWAINSON'S HAWK was reported over New England Rd. on Aug. 25; and one was seen by the official watch at Cape May Point on Sept. 2. An adult, winter-plumaged WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen at Brigantine NWR near the tower on Aug. 31. On Sept. 3, a EURASIAN WIGEON was at Brigantine. The Cape May Coast Guard base on the north side of the Cape May canal held a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and a PURPLE SANDPIPER on Sept. 3.
431 hawks were counted by the official hawk watch in August. Highlights included: 2 BLACK VULTURES, a steady movement of OSPREY (a total of 162 by the month's end), ten BALD EAGLES (of which only one was an adult bird), 136 AM. KESTREL, and 4 PEREGRINES. The BALD EAGLES continue to surge through. Four were seen on Sept. 1, one of these was an adult. Sept. 1 was our biggest hawk flight of the fall so far, with 191 raptors, including 2 BLACK VULTURES, 51 OSPREY, 19 N. HARRIER, 12 COOPERS HAWKS, 1 RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 29 BROAD-WINGS, 11 RED-TAILS, 16 AM. KESTREL, and 1 PEREGRINE. Please welcome our hawkwatcher this fall, Jorge Montejo from Mexico. He began the watch on Aug. 18 and will continue until the end of November.
Aug. 29 produced a LAWRENCE'S WARBLER at Higbee's Beach, whetting appetites for the flights to come. Sunday Aug. 30 was a day enjoyed by countless enthusiasts. 25 species of warblers and dozens of other landbird species were seen at Higbee's Beach that day. Warbler highlights included: 2 GOLDEN-WINGED, 28 CHESTNUT-SIDED, 25 MAGNOLIA, 12 BLACKBURNIAN, 12 WORM-EATING, 1 HOODED WARBLER, 1 KENTUCKY, 1 CERULEAN, 1 WILSON'S WARBLER, 1 MOURNING WARBLER, 4 NASHVILLE, 12 TENNESSEE, 1 CAPE MAY WARBLER, 30 CANADA WARBLERS, 50-plus REDSTARTS, and more. The flight also brought over 100 N. ORIOLE, 1 YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, 2 WARBLING VIREOS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and lots of VEERIES and HERMIT THRUSH. Each morning following, clear cool nights since the 30th have produced good flights at Higbee. Dawn is the magic hour, 6:30; sometimes by 8 or 9 AM it can be as if it never happened.
An UPLAND SANDPIPER spent part of the day on Aug. 29 on the grassy lawn at Cape May Point State Park; lucky for the bird, it was one of the few days the park was not mowing. A POMARINE JAEGER was seen from the lighthouse at the State Park on Aug. 28, and a small JAEGER was seen out over the Delaware Bay from the Alexander Ave. jetty on Aug. 29.
Champagne Island, the sandbar in Hereford Inlet between Wildwood and Stone Harbor, was visited by boat on Sept. 2, and held 3 BLACK TERNS, 1 GULL-BILLED TERN, and numbers of ROYAL TERNS. This sandbar can best be viewed from Anglesea Drive in N. Wildwood, or from Nummy's Island. One BLACK TERN and 30 ROYAL TERNS were seen at Cape May Point on Aug. 28. BROWN PELICAN sightings continue to come in; one was seen flying by the State Park on Aug. 30.
BLUE GROSBEAKS nest at Higbee Beach, and on Aug. 28 a family group was seen in the tower field and several males were heard singing. Keep an eye skyward for NIGHTHAWKS. One was seen over the fields along New England Rd. on Aug. 29, and they're known to move in flocks toward dusk in migration - which is right now. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are still regular at CMBO's feeder, including one male; at many feeding stations, males have left during the past few days, they being the first to migrate.
Local nature notes follow. Many fruits are ripening, and the migrating songbirds are taking adbvantage of them, like Virginia Creeper berries, Wild Cherries, Pokeweed fruits, Autumn and Russian Olive berries. We are finally enjoying an abundance of butterflies. Up until the end of July, butterflies were nearly absent. In some case, Monarchs are now laying eggs on Milkweed plants along roadsides and in yards - spare the Milkweed now if you want to see Monarchs during migration.
[Program announcements omitted. -LL]
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.