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Cape May Rare Bird Alert - 9/8/1994
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. 8, 1994, include: YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, LARK SPARROW, DICKCISSEL, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, WESTERN KINGBIRD, good land bird flights, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, EURASIAN WIGEON, news from the hawk watch and the sea watch, local nature notes, and announcements.

Two brief announcements first: The parking lots at Higbee Beach are open at last. The newspaper articles about conjunctivitis, which said to stop feeding the birds, were triggered by a press release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. What many of the papers did not include was: 1) the suggestion to clean your feeders with a bleach and water solution (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) at least once a week if you do not want to stop feeding; and 2) if you observe sick birds at your feeder, call Bob Rosko (sp?) at (908) 735-2849 in NJ.

On with the hotline. Lots of goodies showed up this week. A male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen in Cape May Courthouse, at the County Park on Rt. 9, at the park's Zoo, on Sept. 4 and again on Sept. 8, when it was in the White-tailed Deer pen.

A LARK SPARROW was seen from New England Road on Sept. 4, in the farm across the street from the Cold Spring Campground. The streets of Cape May Point produced a DICKCISSEL on Sept. 4 near the Gingerbread Church, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on Sept. 7 near the Post Office.

The State Park had a WESTERN KINGBIRD on Sept. 7 at the end of the Blue Trail. SAVANNAH SPARROW was there Sept. 5, and a CAPE MAY WARBLER was seen from the Hawk Watch on Sept. 3. There have been some excellent land bird flights this week. Sept. 2-3 Higbee Beach held a terrific assortment of warblers: GOLDENWINGED WARBLER, WORM-EATING WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, TENNESSEE WARBLER, KENTUCKY WARBLER, BLACKPOLL WARBLER, BLUE-WINGED WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER, and CERULEAN WARBLER, as well as WARBLING VIREO and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER. BROWN CREEPER and PINE WARBLER were seen on Sept. 6 in Cape May Point.

Another good fallout occurred today, Sept. 8, producing again a good assortment of warblers. Three CONNECTICUT WARBLERS, one MOURNING WARBLER, one NASHVILLE WARBLER, 20 TENNESSEE WARBLERS, 10 BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS, 6 CHESTNUT SIDED WARBLERS, 8 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 30 NORTHERN PARULA WARBLERS, 1 BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, 1 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, 15 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, numbers of BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, as well as 2 WARBLING VIREOS, and ALDER FLYCATCHERS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, and LEAST FLYCATCHERS.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was rediscovered on Sept. 8 on the beach by the Concrete Ship [Sunset Beach], perched on the pilings toward Higbee Beach [north]. A male EURASIAN WIGEON was in the South Cape May Meadows on Sunset Blvd. on Sept. 6. A new SNOW GOOSE showed up in Lily Lake on Sept. 7, not the one that summered there.

Dave Ward continues to man the sea watch from the north end of Avalon at Seventh St. He's seen good numbers of Cormorants and Common Terns, as well as JAEGERS almost daily, including one day this week with 6 different Jaegers. Jerry Ligouri continues to do an excellent job with this fall's hawk watch; over 500 birds were seen both on Sept. 5 and 6; primarily, AMERICAN KESTRELS, SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, and OSPREY. BALD EAGLES continue to be seen almost daily, including one today, Sept. 8, and 5 on Sept. 5. The first few PEREGRINES began moving through recently, with singles almost daily until Sept. 7 when 5 were seen, along with 16 MERLINS.

Local nature notes: RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD numbers diminished around Sept. 1, when most males left the area, they being the first to migrate. Since then, females and young are at feeders and gardens. Just today, activity really dropped; probably most of the local birds moved on, but migrants may still be seen at feeders.

Aug. 31 we received our first report of a LONG-TAILED SKIPPER butterfly in the area. These are southern emigrants, seen in Cape May in small numbers for the past three years or so. This first report was from Mt. Holly NJ; in the week since, 5 others have been discovered, including 2 in Goshen, 1 in Woodbine, 1 in Avalon, and 1 at Cape May's city water conservation garden on Madison Ave. Ken Soltesz, who made Cape May's butterfly checklist, reports from Westchester Co. NY sightings of LONG-TAILED SKIPPER there, as well as an OCOLA SKIPPER. Keep your eyes open. Monarchs are migrating through in good numbers. The evening of Sept. 5, hundreds were draped on the pines on the back side of the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. Several sites in Cape May also hold hundreds in the evening or early morning. GREEN DARNER Dragonflies are emerging from their underwater nymph stage; four were found Sept. 4 in a retention basin at Belleplain State Forest's office.

NJ Audubon's Cape May Autumn Weekend has been set for Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. Registrations are pouring in for this event, held at the peak of fall migration. Call CMBO today for details and a brochure. [other program notes omitted -LL]

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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