Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 9/5/1996
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending September 5 includes sightings of LARK SPARROW, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, EURASIAN WIGEON, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, MARBLED GODWIT, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, SANDWICH TERN, a Birder Alert, news of CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch and our Avalon Seawatch, an announcement regarding a special CMBO sponsored boat tour to CHAMPAGNE ISLAND aboard the SKIMMER, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.

An alert to birders. Two cars were broken into at the Hidden Valley Ranch parking lot over Labor day Weekend. Unfortunately, this happens on occasion. Take care to place your valuables out of sight, and lock your doors.

A LARK SPARROW was seen from the dike at Higbee Beach on September 3rd. The sighting was briefand there have been no further reports.

A LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was seen in Cumberland County along Bayside Road in Bayside on September 4th.

A EURASIAN WIGEON, which was seen regularly in Bunker Pond in Cape May Point State Park early in the week, has taken up temporary residence in Lily Lake.

A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was in the South Cape May Meadows (SCMM) on August 30th, while another was at the impoundments east of the Seashore Road canal bridge on September 1st.

Three MARBLED GODWITS were seen in the marshes behind Nummy Island on August 30th. They were seen from the "Skimmer" tour boat. More on the "Skimmer" later.

A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER has spent most of this week on the beach in front of SCMM feeding in the vegetation near the dunes. A SANDWICH TERN was on the beach at SCMM on August 30th.

Several sightings of OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER occurred this week. One was at Higbee Beach on August 31st, two were there on September 2nd, and one was on the trails at the Cape May Point State Park on September 1st.

Other highlights this week included a CERULEAN WARBLER in the State Park on September 4th, several fly over DICKCISSELS at various locations, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Higbee Beach on September 2nd, AMERICAN BITTERNS at SCMM August 31st and September 2nd, and a BLACK TERN at Bunker Pond in the State Park on September 5th.

A large movement of warblers was noted at the Higbee Beach dike as the birds dispersed north in the morning. Of the 1200 or so birds estimated flying out, fully 800 were AMERICAN REDSTARTS. Warbler migration is at its peak in late August and early September.

This fall we welcome Jerry Liguori as our Official Hawkwatcher at the Cape May Hawkwatch. Jerry began the season on Sunday, September 1st with a nice flight of 106 raptors -- highlights included 4 BALD EAGLES, 56 OSPREY, 18 AMERICAN KESTRELS, 1 MERLIN, and 1 PEREGRINE FALCON. Since then flights have been steady with 92 on the 2nd, 82 on the 3rd, and 50 on the 4th. Osprey and Kestrel made up the bulk of these flights.

CMBO's Avalon Seawatch has been manned part time by Dave Ward since July and as of September 1st Dave had tallied 5,769 seabirds passing by 7th Street in Avalon.

In addition to the 3 MARBLED GODWITS previously mentioned, 11 BROWN PELICANS, lots of shorebirds, and 1,000 herons and egrets were seen on August 30th during one of the SKIMMER's birding by boat trips to Champagne Island. Champagne Island is a favorite roost site for migrant terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of Roseate, Sandwich, Black, Caspian, and Royal Terns in the summer occur here! THE SKIMMER, a very stable 37 foot catamaran with open and enclosed viewing decks, runs three daily birding by boat trips and each week the Friday evening, Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning trips are sponsored by CMBO and benefit CMBO. Details follow and are found at the end of this tape in program information. The special CMBO sponsored boat trip Every Friday evening from 5:30-8:30 p.m. will visit Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO!

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD numbers have dropped dramatically this week since many birds have migrated. Yet a few continue to utilize CMBO's feeders and gardens. If you have hummingbird feeders in your yard, be sure to clean them out thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Otherwise the solution ferments and can be dangerous to the hummers.

Local Nature Notes follow: 6 or so Southern Gray Treefrogs have found a home behind the hawkwatch board of daily totals. CMBO's monarch project intern, Gayle Steffy, began tagging monarchs and conducting surveys on September 1st and has tagged 40 monarchs as of September 5th, all males but one. There has been little movement and many of the tagged monarchs are still here. Butterfly sightings this week include Tawny Emperor and Red-spotted Purple at Higbee Beach, Fiery Skipper at Cape May Point State Park's garden, White-M Hairstreak in North Cape May, 7 Red-spotted Purple on rotten fruit in a garden in Goshen, and all gardens brimming over with Sachems. If you can get comfortable with Sachems and how variable they can be, you're sure to start noticing other skippers. But until then, it's going to be tough for beginning butterfly watchers with so many confusing Sachems about! The wild hibiscus known as Crimson-eyed Rose-Mallow is in full bloom. Wild Cherry trees are full of ripe fruit and supplying food to hungry migrant songbirds. Virgin's Bower or Clematis, a vine with delicate white flowers, is in full fragrant bloom.

Some of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs follow: On September 14 a "Tour of Private Butterfly Gardens in Cape May Point" is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Pat Sutton and Jim Dowdell will lead a "Weeklong Workshop for Butterflies & Warblers" September 16-20 and there is still room in this workshop. Our next MEMBERS NIGHT is Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m., with Kevin Karlson's slide program on "Alaska: Birds and Wildlife of the Arctic Tundra." September 21-22 and again October 26-27, Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course."

NJ Audubon's Cape May Autumn Weekend will be held September 27-29, 3 days packed withworkshops, field trips, boat trips, and great company! On Saturday, October 5th Pat Sutton willteach a "Backyard Habitat for Wildlife Workshop," to be followed by a plant sale. October 12th, Dr. George Uetz, an authority on spiders will share an indoor program and then take us on a spider outing to see and learn more about the spiders around us. Pat and Clay Sutton will lead a "Weeklong Workshop for Hawks and Eagles" October 14-18 and there is still room in this workshop. October 19-20 Dave Ward will teach a 2-day Seabird ID Workshop, to include one morning in the field and one afternoon indoors. And November 1-3 is THE BIRD SHOW, a 3-day birding festival here in Cape May! Every day CMBO offers one or several bird, butterfly, or botany walks that require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Call CMBO (at 609-884-2736) for the Fall Program Schedule, which includes details and information on registration for the special programs and meeting place and times for our daily walks.

CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are offered Every Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Every Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m.. The Friday trip runs to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you learned of the trips through CMBO!

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 send a request for information 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 DAILY, 9-5.

The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are made on Thursday evenings, more often if warranted. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

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