Voice of New Jersey Audubon - 3/11/2004
You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Thursday, March 11. Highlights from the last week include RAZORBILL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, RED-NECKED GREBE, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, LITTLE GULL, ICELAND GULL, and news of spring arrivals.

Sea birds continue to gather around Cape May. RAZORBILL sightings include 4 by the St. Mary s jetty off Cape May Point on March 7th, 1 at Poverty Beach on the 7th, and 1 at Sunset Beach on the 7th. A female HARLEQUIN DUCK has been seen through at least March 10th by the St. Mary s jetty in Cape May Point.. Single RED-NECKED GREBES were found at Sunset Beach, March 7th, at Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest on March 6th and 7th, on the bayside of 80th St. in Avalon on March 5th, and at the Little Egg Harbor Inlet on March 5th.

The huge flock of SCOTERS at the mouth of Delaware Bay is now estimated to number roughly 200,000 birds. BLACK SCOTERS are especially abundant near shore, SURF SCOTERS further offshore, and many fewer WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS also generally found further offshore. These birds may be observed, and the nearby BLACK SCOTERS heard calling, from anywhere along the shore of Cape May Point, from Sunset Beach, and from the Cape May Lewes Ferry.

We have received a report of an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN spotted at Thompson's Beach, Cumberland County, on March 7th.

An immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE and an ICELAND GULL were seen off Cape May Point from the Brainerd Ave. crossover on March 9th. A first-winter LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the beach here on March 10th and 11th. Two LITTLE GULLS were found near the Concrete Ship off Sunset Beach on March 11th. ICELAND GULLS and GLAUCOUS GULLS continue to be seen sporadically around the southernmost toll bridge on Ocean Drive (near the clam processing plants); our most recent report is of 2 ICELAND GULLS on March 6th. An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was here on March 7th.

There have been many spring arrivals during the last week, including the season's first LAUGHING GULL, TREE SWALLOW, OSPREY, GLOSSY IBIS, PIPING PLOVER, and PINE WARBLER. HERRING GULLS are molting into breeding plumage, GREAT HORNED OWLS are raising young, AMERICAN WOODCOCKS are displaying, and many non-migratory birds are courting. Waterfowl are staging on all Cape May bodies of water, with a small flock of CANVASBACK still residing at Bunker Pond, Cape May Point State Park. Dozens of RED-THROATED LOONS may be observed daily at Sunset Beach. PURPLE FINCHES have been seen at several feeders in the Cape May area during the last week.

Due to bad offshore weather, the March 7 Cape May pelagic has been re-scheduled for March 14. If you are interested, contact See Life Paulagics at 215-234-6805 or http://www.paulagics.com

Please note that the free bridge connecting Nummy Island to south Stone Harbor is now closed until further notice for construction estimated date for reopening is late May. Nummy can still be accessed from North Wildwood Blvd. drive past the road closed local traffic only sign and over the bridge).

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of our Program Schedule, stop at one of our centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, call our natural history and events hotline at 609-861-0466, or go to New Jersey Audubon's WEB SITE at http://www.njaudubon.org

This Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report your sightings of rare or unusual birds to CMBO's Northwood Center at 609-884-2736, or e-mail reports to CapeMayReports@njaudubon.org. Thanks for calling and GOOD BIRDING!

Mark S. Garland
Senior Naturalist
New Jersey Audubon Society
Cape May Bird Observatory
Northwood Center
701 E. Lake Dr.
PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212
(609) 884-2736

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