Location Abbreviations: CMP (town of Cape May Point), CMPSP (Cape May Pt. State Park), SCMM (South Cape May Meadows), SHPt (Stone Harbor Point).
WATERFOWL THROUGH RAPTORS
Lingering waterfowl remained in the headlines this week. Single Brant were noted along the Intracoastal Waterway near Ocean City 8 Jun (CD, TJ, TR) and near Wildwood 9 Jun (VE, BL et al.). Black Scoters continued to occupy the mouth of Delaware Bay near CMP; the week's high count of 88 was obtained 8 Jun (TJ). A handful of Surf Scoters also remained in the same area (m. ob.), and a Red-breasted Merganser stayed put at High's Beach through at least 7 Jun (WK). It's a good time of year to search for pelagic birds. At least 28 Wilson's Storm-Petrels were enjoyed from the Cape May Whale Watcher 7 Jun (JS, BD), while others were occasionally spied from land at Cape Island through the week (m. ob.). A Wood Stork, soaring over the Middle Twp. bike path near Burleigh, was an exciting find 10 Jun (NW). It has not been reported again. Single Northern Gannets were noted offshore CMP 11 Jun (KL, WC, CM), and near Ocean City 9 Jun (RM). Brown Pelicans continued to be scarce-- the week's only report was of two birds seen from Poverty Beach 9 Jun (TB). Mississippi Kites were reported over the Rea Farm/Beanery 7 Jun (m. ob.) and over CMPSP 13 Jun (KL). A bit out of place during summer, a Northern Harrier was seen around Cape Island through the week (m. ob.).
SHOREBIRDS THROUGH TERN
Always notable from shore, a Red-necked Phalarope flashed past CMP during the early-AM 8 Jun (TJ). Other shorebird highlights included 60 Semipalmated Sandpipers lingering at SCMM through 9 Jun (m. ob.), with another 100+ seen along the Intracoastal Waterway 8 Jun (CD, TJ, TR). Additional late-staying shorebirds included 20 Dunlin and 60 Short-billed Dowitchers in the marshes between Avalon and Ocean City 8 Jun (CD, TJ, TR). Piping Plover numbers are very low along the Atlantic Coast beaches, with only 7 active pairs in the county as of 13 Jun (fide NJDFW). Several Lesser Black-backed Gulls could be found at SCMM and CMP through the week, and another was at SHPt 7 Jun (TB). Royal Tern has been an irregular sight along the Atlantic Coast and at Cape Island; most sightings this week involved singles (m. ob.).
FLYCATCHERS THROUGH WARBLERS
Noteworthy at Cape Island, Acadian Flycatcher is apparently nesting at Higbee Beach WMA this year (fide SR). Willow Flycatchers have settled into traditional breeding locations, such as CMPSP, SHPt, and the Two Mile Beach Unit of Cape May NWR (m. ob.). A late Warbling Vireo was noted at Belleplain State Forest 7 Jun (BR). Black-throated Green Warbler isn't known as a breeding bird in Cape May County, making a pair observed at Head of River 7 Jun particularly noteworthy (MC et al.). CMP was home to two significant discoveries this week. A Yellow-throated Warbler nest was found at CMPSP 12 Jun (WC, CSl), possibly representing the first documented nesting attempt at Cape Island. A Northern Parula pair was observed feeding young along Seagrove Avenue 13 Jun (MO'B). This potentially represents the first confirmed breeding in Cape May County since the 1990s.
Contributors:Tom Baxter (TB), Warren Cairo (WC), Mike Crewe (MC), Christina Davis (CD), Bob Dodelson (BD), Vince Elia (VE), Tom Johnson (TJ), Will Kerling (WK), Bob Lubberman (BL), Karl Lukens (KL), Christina Marks (CM), Robert Maurer (RM), NJDFW (New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife staff), Michael O'Brien (MO'B), Tom Reed (TR), Bill Roache (BR), Steven Rodan (SR), Chuck Slugg (CSl), Jon Stippick (JS), Nancy Watson (NW).
eBird. 2012. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Accessed 13 Jun 2014. Available: http://www.ebird.org.Fogg, B. 2013. Keekeekerr: Recent Text Alerts. Accessed 13 Jun 2014. Available: http://www.keekeekerr.com