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Cape May Bird Observatory
School of Birding Workshops
All Workshops and Birding Breaks require advance registration, and the number of participants is limited to ensure the best experience. Sign-up early to ensure your spot! For registration or further information, please contact our Program Registrar at (609) 400-3864 or by email to cmboregistrar@njaudubon.org

WINTER

Winter Hawks, Eagles, and Owls (Workshop)
Saturday-Sunday, January 14-15 2017 (2 Days)
With Pete Dunne
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

A weekend of raptor watching and learning. Thirteen diurnal raptors and all eight New Jersey owls are possible on this workshop, thanks to southern New Jersey’s mosaic of prey-rich habitats. You’ll see a lot of other great birds in the process too, along with some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes on the Eastern Seaboard. Learn to find and recognize good wintering hawk and owl habitat. The bulk of this workshop is in the field, with indoor sessions to heighten your understanding of wintering birds of prey. Past years have featured Short-eared and Great Horned Owls.

Techniques of Field Observation (Workshop)
Saturday, February 4, 2017 (1 Day)
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

Set the tone for the new year of birding by sharpening your field skills. This is the workshop that every birder wishes they’d taken. Binoculars show you the bird. Field guides identify the bird. But how many times have you studied a bird only to discover that all the information you gathered has evaporated by the time you get to the field guide, or that the one field mark you need to distinguish one feathered gremlin from another was the one thing you failed to note? This workshop will teach you how to look, record and recall and, most importantly, how to bird like an expert (even before you become one).

SPRING

Gulls Simplified (Workshop)
Saturday, March 4, 2017 (1 Day)
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

From the brown and mottled to the clean and gray, you either love gulls or you don't. Whatever camp you're in, join Michael O'Brien for a morning in the field learning the easy way to separate the four common winter gulls and practicing sifting flocks of gulls for something rare--and perhaps even find an Iceland Gull or other species. We’ll also cut through the fancy terminology around age and molt. After lunch we’ll head indoors for a review of gull plumages, aging, and some of the rarer species.

Field Sketching for Beginners (Workshop)
Saturday, April 1, 2017 (1 Day)
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

There is no better way to learn the details of a bird’s structure and plumage than to draw it, and many expert birders, like Michael and Louise, are also artists. Learn tips and tricks for quickly sketching birds in the field when there may not be time for painstaking observation. Drawing birds brings advantages to non-artists, too, simply from the need to look at a bird critically in order to draw it, and is a great way to document an unusual species. No previous artistic talent or training needed.

Introduction to Bird Photography
Friday-Saturday, April 7-8, 2017 (2 Days)
With Scott Whittle
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Whether you’re looking to accelerate your identification skills, or show the world how you see the birds around you, the camera is a perfect tool. In this two-day workshop, professional photographer Scott Whittle will help you work with the equipment you have to achieve your photographic goals. The course will include an overview of gear and how to use it, shooting sessions in the field, and how to develop a digital workflow that gets you the best possible image. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops for post-photo capture learning.

Birding by Ear: Calls & Songs of Eastern Birds (Workshop)
Saturday-Sunday, April 29-30, 2017 (2 Days)
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Everyone’s dreamed of learning bird songs, and everyone can. Even experienced birders spend time each spring “getting their ear in,” re-learning the songs they already know. Jump-start your audio-recall by learning how to listen critically, group and categorize song types, and (as your song and call repertoire grow) gain confidence and skill. Many of southern New Jersey’s breeding birds are back and singing heartily, while migrants will be joining the chorus, too.

Spring Migration Special (Birding Break) 
Friday-Sunday, May 12-14, 2017 (3 Days)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $225 members, $265 nonmembers.

Birding for everything! Celebrate spring with migrating songbirds deposited by the night sky and shorebirds teeming on the mudflats. Hooded and Kentucky Warblers sing in the shadows of Belleplain State Forest, while Summer Tanagers “piki-tuck”ing overhead. Red Knots and Sanderlings feed in mosaics of rust and silver on the Delaware Bay shore, egrets and herons dot the back bay meadows. This birding break is all about diversity and focuses not only on identifying the birds, but also learning about their lives. 

Spring Shorebirds and Southern Breeders (Birding Break)
Tuesday-Wednesday, May 16-17, 2017 (2 Days)
With Pete Dunne
Second leader if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Heislerville’s celebrated shorebird concentration (not to mention the whole Delaware Bay) coupled with Belleplain State Forest (not to mention nearby Cumberland County hotspots) – all resulting in a lot of great birds, all close together! Red Knots, Dunlin, maybe a Curlew Sandpiper plus woodland birds like Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers and Summer Tanagers.

Warblers by Sight and Sound
Tuesday-Wednesday, May 22-13, 2017 (2 Days)
With Scott Whittle
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Few families of birds are so colorful, vocal and animate as the North American warblers and no spring is complete without a trip seeking warbler waves. Here’s your trip, timed to catch the peak of the wave of northern species like Blackburnian, Blackpoll and Canada, while also engaging southern breeders like Hooded, Yellow-throated and Prothonotary. This workshop aims to help you pick up on both audio and visual clues to be able to quickly and accurately locate these springtime gems.

Appalachian Birding by Ear (Workshop)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27, 2017 (2 Days)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

With forests, hemlock glens, marshes, streams, and bogs, there is no better place than High Point State Park and Stokes State Forest in northern New Jersey to hear a diversity of bird songs in a concentrated area, from Cerulean and Blackburnian Warblers to Ruffed Grouse and Barred Owls. Plan to begin early for dawn chorus and lunch in the field, ending by early afternoon each day. This workshop is entirely in the field and, yes, we will look at birds like Cerulean and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and over 100 others there to be heard or seen.

SUMMER

Here be Dragons! (Workshop)
Saturday, July 8, 2017 (1 Day)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

Dragonflies & Damselflies are a common part of our local wildlife, yet they can be confusing at first glance. With a mixture of indoor theory and outdoor practice, come and learn how to identify many of the 100 or so species that occur in Cape May County. We’ll visit a variety of habitats around Cape May County that will allow us to see a good cross-section of species, from the tiny sprites to the mighty darners.

One Good Tern... (Workshop)
Saturday, August 5, 2017 (Half Day)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $45 members, $65 nonmembers.

Cape May Point offers some great opportunities during late summer for viewing our breeding terns. These birds can seem all too similar at first, but this workshop will set you in the right direction to understanding the basic principles of telling the terns apart. Pre-registration required. Limited to 12 participants.

The World of Butterflies: Natural History, Finding, & Identification (Workshop)
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (1 Day)
With Pat Sutton (coauthor of "How to Spot Butterflies")
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

Learn about butterfly life cycles, their relationships to the plant world, odd behaviors, survival in a world filled with hungry predators, the spectacular migration of some species and the restricted range of others, and tips for easy identification. There will be an indoor illustrated presentation on butterfly biology, resources, and ID, but most of the day will be spent in the field. Pollinator gardening principals will be seen in action as the group visits private wildlife gardens (including Sutton’s) and natural areas near Cape May Court House and Goshen. Cape May County hosts 107 species of butterflies. If it is a good year for Monarchs, they may be plentiful.

Shorebirds with the Man Who Wrote the Book (Workshop)
Wednesday-Thursday, August 23-24, 2017 (2 Days)
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

It is not surprising Houghton Mifflin’s landmark The Shorebird Guide (2006) sprang from the brains and hands of three Cape May birders and authors. Now you can experience some of the East Coast’s best shorebirding while guided by one of them. Michael O’Brien is equal parts skilled birder and superb teacher. Search storied locations like Bunker Pond, the South Cape May Meadows, Stone Harbor, and Edwin B. Forsythe NWR for peeps, plovers and yellowlegs plus possible gems like phalaropes or godwits. Over 25 plovers and sandpipers are in easy reach, with some species numbering in the thousands. Learn to begin with size, shape, behavior and voice, and then move on to careful examination of plumage details, just as The Shorebird Guide teaches.

Birding by Ear in Cape May (Birding Break)
Saturday, August 26, 2017 (Half Day)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $45 members, $65 nonmembers.

When the chorus of spring and summer songs start to diminish, the late-summer mix of sounds from the migratory and local birds of Cape May continues on. The calls of many neotropical and long-distance migrants fill the skies, fields, marshes, beaches, and woods of the Cape May area. Many of the early fall migrants are at their peak in late August and their vocality provides a great opportunity to hone your ears and thoughts toward the particularly exciting soundscape at this time of year. This workshop will help you learn to focus on, describe, and identify these sounds. Warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, terns, shorebirds and many more groups of birds, in a variety of habitats, will be sought out and given all-ears!

FALL

Fall Migration at Cape May (Birding Break)
Thursday-Saturday, September 14-16, 2017
With Louise Zemaitis
Second leader (if registration warrants): Michael O’Brien
Cost: $225 members, $265 nonmembers.

September straddles the migratory timetable; you’re not too late for shorebirds, not too early for hawks, and right on time for warblers and other neotropical migrants. Indeed, it is the great variety of songbirds heading south during early September that will be the main target of this three-day birding break and we shall have ample opportunity to learn these birds both by sight and sound. We will go where weather conditions dictate and will strive to see the greatest species diversity.

Falcon Fest & Hawks on High (Workshop)
Saturday-Sunday, September 23-24, 2017
With Pete Dunne
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Bird Cape May at the peak time for raptor diversity, with experts who know identification tricks unavailable anywhere else! This workshop will be “just birding,” no indoor workshop time (unless severe weather dictates otherwise) at the prime time to be in Cape May. Expect many falcons (including Peregrines), plus accipiters, buteos, harriers, ospreys and eagles. Though our aim will be to study and appreciate the sometimes spectacular passage of falcon species through Cape May at this time of year, we shall be in a prime location to enjoy other migrants too and, depending on the conditions, we may also seek shorebirds, late warblers, early sparrows, and more.

Things that go Seep in the Night (Workshop)
Saturday to Sunday, September 30-October 1, 2017
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

Experience the cutting edge of birding! Birds don’t sing much in the fall – but they sure do call. Chip notes, flight notes and critical listening are the primary subjects of this workshop, led by the man who wrote the book (well, made the CD-ROM) on flight calls. Two hours with Michael equals years of struggle on your own! Includes optional night-time listening for nocturnal migrants. Learn to dissect a single note, determining whether it rises or falls, is clear or burry. You will never listen the same way again. This workshop is spread over two half-days to allow us to be in the field at the best time of day; it includes an evening session to study nocturnal migrants, followed by an early morning listening session the next day – the perfect way to learn the subject!

Monarchs on Migration (Workshop)
Tuesday October 3, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
With Mark Garland
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers.

Learn about the biology of the monarch butterfly and spend a day in the field with the Director of the CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project. Visit gardens and other natural areas around Cape May Point to watch monarch behavior and see the principles of butterfly gardening in action. Learn how to safely handle and tag monarchs, and also learn methods for conducting field research into these migratory insects. Visit the CMBO Northwood Center to see the terraria where monarch caterpillars and chrysalides are on display, and learn about the proper husbandry of such displays. We will take time to identify many other butterflies that can be found at this season in Cape May Point, and we’ll identify a few of the migrants birds that are sure to be around, but the primary focus will be on monarch biology all day. There will be a short indoor illustrated talk on monarch biology, but most of the day will be in the field in Cape May Point.

Sparrow Sampler (Workshop)
Saturday-Sunday, October 14-15, 2017
With Michael O’Brien
Second leader if registration warrants 
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

A workshop celebrating the LBJs (little brown jobs). Subtle and cryptic they might be; difficult to identify they are not, providing you have the right instructor, the right place and the right time. A time when lots of sparrows and lots of species abound. Common species like Swamp, Field, Savannah and Chipping. Uncommon ones like Clay-colored, Vesper, Lincoln’s, Nelson’s and Saltmarsh. Learn the basics of size, shape and behavior first, then practice examining plumage patterns to discover how stunning sparrows can be.

Hawks in Flight (Workshop)
Wednesday-Thursday, October 18-19, 2017
With Pete Dunne
Second leader if registration warrants 
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

At fifteen raptor species, this is the time of peak raptor diversity in Cape May. Perhaps including bonus birds like Golden Eagle and Swainson’s Hawk! It is a rare moment during late October in Cape May when something raptorial is not in view. Learn how to tell buteos from accipiters from falcons from eagles at the very edge of eyesight. Pete Dunne co-wrote the book that is the title of this workshop, and the only thing he enjoys more than watching hawks is imparting the knowledge he has accumulated during his 15,000 hawk watching hours. 

Cape May with Everything on It (Birding Break)
Monday-Wednesday, October 23-25, 2017
With Louise Zemaitis
Second leader (if registration warrants): Michael O’Brien.
Cost: $225 members, $265 nonmembers.

Late October is the time the local birders wait for; crowds have diminished and the most massive fallouts of the season commonly occur NOW! Sparrows, kinglets, bluebirds, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, and literally who knows what else, since this week starts the season for vagrants in Cape May. It’s also a great time for big raptors like buteos and Golden Eagle, while large seabird flights pass Avalon and Cape May Point nearly every day.

Waterbirds in Flight (Workshop)
Saturday-Sunday, November 4-5, 2017 (2 Days)
With Glen Davis
Second leader added if registration warrants
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers.

Hawkwatching and the Morning Flight songbird experience are well-known to be exercises in distant or difficult ID. An often under-appreciated challenge also lies with identifying the large suite of migrating waterbirds during the great round-the-clock flights they make. Waterfowl, herons, loons, grebes, gannets, gulls, jaegers, terns, shorebirds, and others are all passing in a convergence of great diversity and abundance in late fall. In this new workshop offering, the spectacle of their movements will be paired with gaining a better sense for their identification, both near and far. Flock structure and flight style will be integrated with size, shape, and plumage features to enhance your ability and appreciation for the interesting study of these far-flung fliers.

All Workshops and Birding Breaks require advance registration, and the number of participants is limited to ensure the best experience. Sign-up early to ensure your spot! For registration or further information, please contact our Program Registrar at (609) 400-3864 or by email to cmboregistrar@njaudubon.org


SPRING WORKSHOPS


Introduction to Bird Photography (2 Days)
Saturday-Sunday April 11-12, 2015 
Leader: Scott Whittle
Pre-registration required 
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers

Whether you’re looking to accelerate your identification skills, or show the world how you see the birds around you, the camera is a perfect tool. In this two-day workshop, professional photographer Scott Whittle will help you work with the equipment you have to achieve your photographic goals. The course will include an overview of gear and how to use it, shooting sessions in the field, and how to develop a digital workflow that gets you the best possible image. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops for post-photo capture learning.


Birding by Ear: The Calls & Songs of Eastern Birds

Monday-Tuesday, May 4-5, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Michael O'Brien
Second Leader if registration warrants: Louise Zemaitis
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers
 
Everyone’s dreamed of learning bird songs - and everyone can. Even experienced birders spend time each spring “getting their ear in,” re-learning the songs they already know. Jump-start your audio-recall by learning how to listen critically, group and categorize song types, and (as your song and call repertoire grow) gain confidence and skill. Many of southern New Jersey’s breeding birds are back and singing heartily, while migrants will be joining the chorus, too.

Warblers by Sight and Sound
Thursday-Friday, May 21-22, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Scott Whittle
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers

Few families of birds are so colorful, vocal and animate as the North American warblers and no spring is complete without a trip seeking warbler waves. Here’s your trip, timed to catch the peak of the wave of northern species like Blackburnian, Blackpoll and Canada, while also engaging southern breeders like Hooded, Yellow-throated and Prothonotary. This workshop aims to help you pick up on both audio and visual clues to be able to quickly and accurately locate these springtime gems.

Identifying Trees
Saturday, June 6, 2015 (1 Day)
Leader: Mike Crewe
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers 

As birdwatchers it’s useful to know at least the commoner trees of our area so that we can more easily explain where that elusive bird is located. But knowing trees can also help you understand more about the habitats that birds live in. We will spend the whole day in the field and visit several locations, covering the full suite of Cape May habitats. Learn just which parts of which species are important for identification and enjoy putting what you have learned into practice! Oaks, elms, hackberries, pines, cedars, hickories and much more.
 


SUMMER WORKSHOPS

Here Be Dragons!
Saturday, July 11, 2015 (1 Day)
Leader: Mike Crewe
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers 

Dragonflies & Damselflies are a common part of our local wildlife, yet they can be confusing at first glance. With a mixture of indoor theory and outdoor practice, come and learn how to identify many of the 100 or so species that occur in Cape May County. We’ll visit a variety of habitats around Cape May County that will allow us to see a good cross-section of species, from the tiny sprites to the mighty darners.

PLANT ID – GETTING OFF THE START LINE
Saturday, July 25 (1/2 Day)
Leader: Mike Crewe
Pre-registration required
Cost: $45 members, $65 nonmembers
Identifying plants can seem daunting when you are starting out, but it’s just a matter of taking it in bite-sized chunks. We’ll spend a half-day out in the field, studying a wide range of both native and alien species and learning some simple rules that can be used as stepping stones toward identifying pretty much anything that’s out there. Limited to 12 participants. 

ONE GOOD TERN…
Saturday, August 8 (1/2 Day)
With Mike Crewe
Preregistration required
Cost: $45 members, $65 nonmembers
Cape May Point offers some great opportunities during late summer for viewing our
breeding terns. These birds can seem all too similar at first, but this workshop will set you in the right direction to understanding the basic principles of telling the terns apart. Limited to 12 participants. 

Shorebirds with the Man Who Wrote the Book
Wednesday-Thursday, August 12-13, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Michael O'Brien
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers 

It is not surprising Houghton Mifflin’s landmark The Shorebird Guide sprang from the brains and hands of three Cape May birders and authors. Now you can experience some of the East Coast’s best shorebirding while guided by one of them. Michael O’Brien is equal parts skilled birder and superb teacher. Search storied locations like Bunker Pond, the South Cape May Meadows, Stone Harbor, and Brigantine NWR for peeps, plovers and yellowlegs plus possible gems like phalaropes or godwits. Over 25 plovers and sandpipers are in easy reach, with some species numbering in the thousands. Learn to begin with size, shape, behavior and voice, and then move on to careful examination of plumage details, just as The Shorebird Guide teaches. 

SHOREBIRDS ON THE MOVE
Saturday, August 15 (1/2 Day)
With Mike Crewe
Preregistration required
Cost: $45 members, $65 nonmembers
Mid-August is the perfect time to get to grips with the shorebirds, for it is now that the season’s youngsters are heading south from Arctic breeding grounds. Stripy peeps and little brown jobs may seem daunting at first, but a half-day in the field learning the principal starting points will set you in the right direction to getting more enjoyment from these fascinating birds. Limited to 12 participants.

Butterfly Bonanza
Saturday, August 29, 2015 (1 Day)
Leader: Will Kerling
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers 

No other insects captivate us in quite the same way as butterflies, with their colorful wings and graceful flight styles. Spend a day around Cape May County, enjoying butterflies while at the same time learning identification tips and cues from the experts. Over 100 species have been recorded in the county and, whilst we won’t see that many in a single day, we shall nevertheless see a good cross-section, and learn how to tell them apart.

Birds in Flight
Wednesday-Thursday, September 9-10, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Michael O'Brien
Second Leader if registration warrants: Louise Zemaitis
Pre-registration required
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers 
  

You’ve heard of the legendary Higbee Dike, where migrant songbirds are identified and counted as they fly past. How do those guys do it? Here’s your chance to learn from one of “those guys!” For certain groups of birds – ducks, seabirds, raptors – flight identification techniques have been well established. But have you ever longingly watched a songbird fly over, wishing it would perch so you could identify it? Or had a flock of blackbirds on the horizon and wondered if they were grackles or red-wingeds? Learn how to apply what we’ve learned about flight i.d. to any bird that crosses your air space, be it a familiar-in-flight Sharp-shinned Hawk, or a relative stranger like a tanager or oriole.  

NOTE: This workshop takes place over two half-days, so as to allow us to be out in the field at the very best time of day.  We shall have an indoor session on Wednesday evening, followed by a 6:30am start the following morning, finishing a little before midday.    

Introduction to Bird Photography
Saturday-Sunday September 12-13, 2015  (2 Days)
Leader: Scott Whittle
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers

Whether you’re looking to accelerate your identification skills, or show the world how you see the birds around you, the camera is a perfect tool. In this two day workshop, professional photographer Scott Whittle will help you work with the equipment you have to achieve your photographic goals. The course will include an overview of gear and how to use it, shooting sessions in the field, and how to develop a digital workflow that gets you the best possible image. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops for post-photo capture learning. 


Falcon Fest & Hawks on High
Saturday-Sunday, September 26-27, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Pete Dunne
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers
   

Bird Cape May at the peak time for raptor diversity, with experts who know identification tricks unavailable anywhere else! This workshop will be “just birding,” no indoor workshop time (unless severe weather dictates otherwise) at the prime time to be in Cape May. Expect many falcons (including Peregrines), plus accipiters, buteos, harriers, ospreys and eagles. Though our aim will be to study and appreciate the sometimes spectacular passage of falcon species through Cape May at this time of year, we shall be in a prime location to enjoy other migrants too and, depending on the conditions, we may also seek shorebirds, late warblers, early sparrows, and more. 


FALL WORKSHOPS


Things that go Seep in the night!
Saturday-Sunday, October 3-4, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Michael O'Brien
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Pre-registration required
Cost: $85 members, $125 nonmembers 
  

Experience the cutting edge of birding! Birds don’t sing much in the fall – but they sure do call. Chip notes, flight notes and critical listening are the primary subjects of this workshop, led by the man who wrote the book (well, made the CD-ROM) on flight calls. Two hours with Michael equals years of struggle on your own! Includes night-time listening for nocturnal migrants. Learn to dissect a single note, determining whether it rises or falls, is clear or burry. You will never listen the same way again.

NOTE:  This workshop is spread over two half-days to allow us to be in the field at the best time of day; it includes an evening session to study nocturnal migrants, followed by an early morning listening session the next day -- the perfect way to learn the subject!  

Sparrow Sampler
Saturday-Sunday, October 17-18, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Michael O'Brien
Second Leader if registration warrants: Louise Zemaitis
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers   

A workshop celebrating the LBJs (little brown jobs) of the bird world. Subtle and cryptic they might be; difficult to identify they are not, providing you have the right instructor, the right place and the right time. A time when lots of sparrows and lots of species abound. Common species like Swamp, Field, Savannah and Chipping. Uncommon ones like Clay-colored, Vesper, Lincoln’s, Nelson’s and Saltmarsh. Learn the basics of size, shape and behavior first, then practice examining plumage patterns to discover how stunning sparrows can be.


Hawks in Flight
Wednesday-Thursday, October 21-22, 2015 (2 Days)
Leader: Pete Dunne
Second Leader if registration warrants: Michael O'Brien
Pre-registration required
Cost: $150 members, $190 nonmembers   
At fifteen raptor species, this is the time of peak raptor diversity in Cape May. Perhaps including bonus birds like Golden Eagle and Swainson’s Hawk! It is a rare moment during late October in Cape May when something raptorial is not in view. Learn how to tell buteos from accipiters from falcons from eagles at the very edge of eyesight. Pete Dunne co-wrote the book that is the title of this workshop, and the only thing he enjoys more than watching hawks is imparting the knowledge he has accumulated during his 15,000 hawk watching hours.




For registration or further information, please contact our Program Registrar, Chris Tonkinson (609) 861-0700 or by email to chris.tonkinson@njaudubon.org


WINTER WORKSHOPS


Winter Warmers!
Saturday-Sunday, January 12 & 13, 2013 (2 days)
Leader:  Mike Crewe
Second Leader (if registration warrants):  Louise Zemaitis
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

Winter is far from the doldrums in Cape May. We’ll target hard-to-find winter specialties like Purple Sandpiper, Great Cormorant, Harlequin Duck and many others. Ocean watching means a chance for all three scoters, eiders, loons, and Northern Gannets or something really unusual, like an alcid or a special gull. Perhaps winter finches like Red Crossbills will appear at Cape May Point.  Perhaps we'll have a chance at a lingering rarity found during the Christmas Bird Count.  

Day One of this workshop will focus on the Cape May area. Day Two may explore either up the Delaware Bayshore to Cumberland County or up the coast to Atlantic County, depending on the conditions and what’s being seen. We’ll include an indoor session on tougher winter ID’s.


Techniques of Field Observation
Saturday, January 19, 2013 (1 day)
Leader:  Michael O'Brien
Second Leader (if registration warrants):  Louise Zemaitis
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $85 members; $125 nonmembers

Set the tone for the new year of birding by sharpening your field skills. This is the workshop that every birder wishes they’d taken. Binoculars show you the bird. Field guides identify the bird. But how many times have you studied a bird only to discover that all the information you gathered has evaporated by the time you get to the field guide, or that the one field mark you need to distinguish one feathered gremlin from another was the one thing you failed to note. This workshop will teach you how to look, record and recall and – most importantly – how to bird like an expert (even before you become one!). 


Wintering Hawks, Eagles and Owls
Saturday thru Monday, January 19 to 21, 2013 (3 days)
Leader:  Pete Dunne
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $225 members; $265 nonmembers

A weekend of raptor watching and learning. Thirteen diurnal raptors and all eight New Jersey owls are possible on this workshop, thanks to southern New Jersey’s mosaic of prey-rich habitats. You’ll see a lot of other great birds in the process, along with some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes on the Eastern Seaboard. Learn to find and recognize good wintering hawk and owl habitat. The bulk of this workshop is in the field, with indoor sessions to heighten your understanding of wintering birds of prey. Past years have featured a Golden Eagle hunting Snow Geese in the company of several Bald Eagles, plus point-blank Eastern Screech-owl, Rough-legged Hawks of both color morphs and hunting Short-eared and Great Horned Owls. 


NEW! Break Into Birding
Saturday & Sunday, February 16 & 17, 2013 (2 days)
Leader:  Pete Dunne
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

This is the introductory course that you wish you'd taken!  One that imparts the basics, puts the accent on in-the-field learning, and never loses sight of the fact that bird watching is, after all, supposed to be FUN.  You'll discover how to get the most out of  your field guide and optics.  You'll learn where to go to find birds and how to identify them once you find them using all the hints and clues birds are offering you.  It's a course for absolute beginners, backyard birders who want to expand their horizon, and birders whose skills have grown a bit rusty.


Gulls Simplified
Saturday, March 9, 2013 (1 day)
Leader:  Michael O'Brien
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $85 members; $125 nonmembers

From the brown and mottled to the clean and gray, you either love gulls or you don’t. Whatever camp you’re in, join us for a morning in the field learning the easy way to separate the four common winter gulls and practicing sifting flocks of gulls for something rare, and perhaps even find an Iceland Gull or other species. We’ll also cut through the fancy terminology around age and molt. After lunch we’ll head indoors for a review of gull plumages, aging, and some of the rarer species.


SPRING WORKSHOPS

Field Sketching for Beginners
Sunday, April 13, 2013 (1 day)
Leader:  Louise Zemaitis
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $85 members; $125 nonmembers

There is no better way to learn the details of a bird’s structure and plumage than to draw it, and many expert birders, like Louise, are also artists. Learn tips and tricks for quickly sketching birds in the field when there may not be time for painstaking observation. Drawing birds brings advantages to non-artists, too, simply from the need to look at a bird critically in order to draw it, and is a great way to document an unusual species. No artistic talent or training needed. This workshop has been very popular in the past – sign up early!

Introduction to Bird Photography
Saturday & Sunday April 20 & 21, 2013  (2 days)
Leader:  Scott Whittle
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

Register early - there was a waiting list last year, and those who attended clamored for more! Whether you’re looking to accelerate your identification skills, or show the world how you see the birds around you, the camera is a perfect tool. In this two-day workshop, professional photographer Scott Whittle will help you work with the equipment you have to achieve your photographic goals.  The course will include an overview of gear and how to use it, shooting sessions in the field, and how to develop a digital workflow that gets you the best possible image.  Participants are encouraged to bring their cameras and laptops, or borrow equipment.


Spring Migration Peak Week Workshop
Friday thru Sunday, May 3 thru 5, 2013 (3 days)
Leader:  Louise Zemaitis
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $225 members; $265 nonmembers

Birding for everything! Celebrate spring with migrating songbirds deposited by the night sky and shorebirds teeming on the mudflats. Hooded and Kentucky Warblers sing in the shadows of Belleplain State Forest, while Summer Tanagers “piki-tuck” overhead. Red Knots and Sanderlings feed in mosaics of rust and silver on the Delaware Bay shore and egrets and herons dot the backbay meadows.  This workshop is all about diversity and focuses not only on identifying the birds, but also learning about their lives.


Birding by Ear: The Calls & Songs of Eastern Birds
Monday & Tuesday, May 6 & 7, 2013 (2 days)
Leader:  Michael O'Brien
Second Leader (if registration warrants):  Louise Zemaitis
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

Everyone’s dreamed of learning bird songs, and everyone can. Even experienced birders spend time each spring “getting their ear in,” re-learning the songs they already know. Jump-start your audio-recall by learning how to listen critically, group and categorize song types, and (as your song and call repertoire grow) gain confidence and skill.  Many of southern New Jersey’s breeding birds are back and singing heartily, while migrants will be joining the chorus, too.


Warblers by Sight and Sound
Thursday & Friday, May 8 & 9, 2013 (2 days)
Leader:  Scott Whittle
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

It’s been suggested that without the excitement of warblers in the spring, there would be no birdwatching in North America as we know it today. No family of North American birds is so colorful, vocal, and animate. No spring is complete without a trip seeking warbler waves. Here’s your trip. Timed to catch the peak of the northern migrant wave with species like Blackburnian and Canada, and also to engage southern breeders like Hooded and Prothonotary. And did we mention that vireos, thrushes, and tanagers will also be about?


Spring Shorebirds and Southern Breeders
Monday & Tuesday May 13 & 14, 2013 (2 days)
Leader:  Pete Dunne
Second Leader will be added if registration warrants
Preregistration Required
Cost:  $150 members; $190 nonmembers

Come with us to witness Heislerville’s celebrated shore-bird concentration (not to mention the whole Delaware Bay) coupled with Belleplain State Forest (not to mention nearby Cumberland County hot-spots) – all resulting in a lot of great birds, all close together and all offering great learning opportunities. Red Knots, Dunlin, maybe a Curlew Sandpiper plus woodland birds like Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers and Summer Tanagers.