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. 30, 1993 include: RED-THROATED LOON, BROWN PELICAN, COMMON EIDER, PURPLE GALLINULE, MARBLED GODWIT, AMERICAN AVOCET, POMARINE JAEGER, PARASITIC JAEGER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, GRAY KINGBIRD, passerine and raptor flights, nature notes and news of upcoming programs.
Cape May's first GRAY KINGBIRD in 70 years was found at the S. Cape May Meadows parking lot on the morning of 9/29. The bird was very obliging and was seen by all who looked for it that day. Unfortunately it was not found today, 9/30.
The season's first RED-THROATED LOON was found near the Cape May ferry terminal on 9/24. Two Red-throats flew past the Cape May Point State Park 9/29 as did the first migratory BRANT of the season. The state park was also the hot spot last weekend; on 9/25, 4 PARASITIC JAEGERS were seen chasing Royal Terns and Laughing Gulls over the offshore rips for 2-3 hours. Also seen there was an adult light-morph POMARINE JAEGER close to shore. The Jaeger show continued for the next 3 days, whenever gulls and terns were concentrated. Also seen off the state park several times this week were 2 female-plumaged COM. EIDERS.
A dead PURPLE GALLINULE was picked up at the corner of Lighthouse Ave. and Lake Ave., just outside CMBO in Cape May Point this morning. A report of another Purple Gallinule at Brigantine NWR 9/30 suggests that careful searching at ponds with emergent vegetation might produce more individuals. Eleven BROWN PELICANS were at Hereford Inlet 9/25. Nearby Champagne Island still hosts 10 PIPING PLOVERS and big flocks of roosting SANDERLING and DUNLIN as well as 100+ AM. OYSTERCATCHERS and other species. Observers on their way to Champagne Island by boat found a MARBLED GODWIT on a mudflat in Jarvis Sound today, 9/30.
Two AMERICAN AVOCETS were reported from Ocean Drive on 9/29. They were on the south side of the road just past the toll bridge near the Coast Guard radio towers. Also on Ocean drive, the clam shell pile at the west end of the toll bridge has hosted 2 different LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS among 1000+ other gulls this week.
A juv. BAIRD'S SANDPIPER spent the week splitting its time between the S. Cape May Meadows and the beach on the outside of the sand dunes at the Meadows.
This past week we were blessed with 3 cold fronts that produced good flights. Possibly the best passerine flight of the season was this morning in the rain. Thousands of warblers and nearly 1000 Indigo Buntings flew out over the bay. Lots of sparrows, warblers and other landbirds were found by scouring the fields and hedgerows. Land bird arrivals this past week included Solitary Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned, White-throated and Swamp Sparrows, E. Phoebes, Am. Pipit, Pine SIskin on 9/29, and the first big hit of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Cliff and Bank Swallows continue to be found in small numbers among the vast hordes of Tree Swallows now present (numbering into 5 digits).
Some good raptor flights this week were highlighted by nearly 600 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 101 Coopers Hawks on 9/29; 26 Peregrines, nearly 300 Osprey, and over 100 Broadwinged Hawks on 9/30.
[Local nature notes omitted - LL]
Upcoming programs daily through mid-October: Hawk banding demonstrations take place at the State Park every Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM nest to the hawkwatch platform. Every Saturday evening beginning Oct. 9, a night watch will meet at the Nature Conservancy's property at the Cape May Meadows, at 5:30 PM in October and 4:30 in November. Each Sunday beginning Oct. 10, a seabird field trip will meet at the Cape May Point State Park picnic pavillion at 7:30 AM. Every Monday, a birdwalk leaves from the State Park Picnic Pavilion at 7:30 AM. Every Tuesday evening a "sunset bird walk" meets at 5:30 PM at the Nature Conservancy's property at the Cape May Meadows. Every Wednesday, a birdwalk for beginners meets at 7:30 AM 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. Birdwatching for Beginners two-day workshop is scheduled for Oct. 23-24 and November 27-28, 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.