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 May 22 include sightings of PAINTED BUNTING, SCISSOR-TAILED
FLYCATCHER, BLACK-NECKED STILT, REEVE, WHITE PELICAN, SANDHILL CRANE,
MISSISSIPPI KITE, local nature notes, news of our upcoming programs and
field trips, and an announcement about the Higbee Beach parking.
A female PAINTED BUNTING was present at Higbee Beach from May 15 to May 17.
The bird has not been reported since the 17th.
A SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER was reported from the circle garden on Cape May
Point on May 17, but could not be relocated.
Two BLACK-NECKED STILTS have been present this week, seen at both the
impoundments east of the Seashore Road canal bridge and at the South Cape
May Meadows. The last report we have is from the 20th at the impoundments.
Also present there was a WILSON'S PHALAROPE, last reported on the 21st,
along with up to 6 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.
A REEVE (a female Ruff) was at the impoundments early in the week, last
reported on May 17.
A WHITE PELICAN was seen at Thompson's Beach in Cumberland County on May 21
and was still present on the 22nd. Thompson's Beach is a left hand turn on
the road to East Point.
Two SANDHILL CRANES were seen on May 21st over Cape May Point, but no
reports there after.
Several MISSISSIPPI KITE reports were seen this week, topping out with four
on May 21st. They were seen amid an outstanding spring BROAD-WINGED HAWK
flight of about 200 birds.
Other highlights this week included MOURNING WARBLER at Higbee Beach on May
16, BALD EAGLE on the 17th over Lily Lake, SORA in the South Cape May
Meadows (SCMM) on the 17th, three BLACK TERNS in Cape May Point State Park
on the 17th, at least 2 (and possibly 3) OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS on the
18th at Higbee Beach, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Higbee on the 19th,
Dickcissel at Hidden Valley Ranch on the 18th, SWAINSON'S THRUSHES and GRAY-CHEEKED
THRUSHES at Higbee on the 20th, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in SCMM on the 20th,
and a BARRED OWL at Higbee Beach on the 21st.
The State of NJ will again close the Higbee Beach WMA parking lots at the
end of New England Road for the summer, beginning Friday, May 23. Higbee
Beach WMA is still open to bird and butterfly watching, but you will have
to either walk there or ride your bike or be dropped off.
Horseshoe Crabs are mating and laying their eggs in the high tide line and
spring shorebirds are arriving daily to take advantage of these eggs as a
food source. The state's Endangered Species Program's aerial surveys have
found that the bulk of the shorebirds are on Delaware's beaches rather than
New Jersey's. This could be due to the thousands of horseshoe crabs being
harvested here in New Jersey. It was guesstimate that 250,000 crabs were
harvested in the last two weeks from Thompson's Beach alone. NJ Audubon is
calling for a complete moratorium on horseshoe crab harvest as soon as
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are very regular now that they are back on
territories. If you have feeders, be sure to clean them out thoroughly
each week and refill with fresh solution.
CMBO's Tuesday evening Stone Harbor Point walks are enjoying the heronry at
the boro park in Avalon between 71st and 74th Streets. This is the 2nd
year herons, egrets, and ibis have nested here and they are thick this
year, including up-close and personal looks at YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS
on their nests at the north end of the park.
On Saturday, May 31st, from 1:30-5:00 p.m. CMBO has scheduled a special
boat trip from Cape May to Champagne Island to witness the largest nesting
colony of Black Skimmers in New Jersey. The island also is home to about
500 pairs of Common Terns & some years one or two pairs of Gull-billed
Terns. It also draws in unusual birds. The fee is $30 for members and $40
for nonmembers and space is limited. Be sure to call CMBO at 609-861-0700
CMBO's new Center for Research & Education in Goshen is now open every day
except Tuesday & Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We're at 600 Route 47
North in Goshen, either 1 mile south of the traffic light at Rt. 657 or 1.7
miles north of the Gulf Station in Goshen. From either direction we are
just around a bend. Look for the split rail fence, brand new sign, large
parking lot, and big new building beyond.
Local Nature Notes follow: A new butterfly for Cape May County was
discovered on May 18th during our Cape May Spring Weekend -- a Common
Roadside Skipper, which is quite a rare butterfly anywhere. It was found
near Dennisville and again seen on May 21. Zabulon Skippers & Red-banded
Hairstreaks are out, Henry's Elfins are still flying, Red Admirals,
Question Marks, and American Ladies are being seen in good numbers. Every
garden with milkweed in it is full of Monarch eggs. Looks like it's going
to be an incredible year for Monarchs!
Focus on Nature Tours is offering an overnight Pelagic Birding Trip from
Barnegat Light and going to the Hudson Canyon. The boat leaves Friday, May
23 at 8:30 p.m. and returns Saturday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. Cost is
$89/person and reservations are required. Call 302-529-1876 for more
information or to register.
CMBO's Spring Program Schedule is packed with fun field trips and
workshops. Each day there are one or several different bird walks,
butterfly walks, and boat trips. Stop by either center to pick up the
spring program schedule with full details.
Special upcoming spring programs include "Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs on
the Delaware Bayshore" field trips daily through May 28 (except for May
25), 2 boat trips to "Champagne Island for Terns & Skimmers" (one on May 31
and another on June 28), a "Dragonfly Workshop & Walk" with Bob Barber on
June 7, an "Osprey Nests by Boat" trip on June 14 and much more! Pick up a
copy of CMBO's spring program schedule for more details on our programs or
call CMBO at 609-861-0700 to learn more.
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 new
Center for Research & Education at 609-861-0700 or send a request for
information to CMBO, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210.
If you are in the area do not hesitate to visit our 2 birding bookstores.
The Northwood Center in Cape May Point at 701 E. Lake Drive in Cape May
Point is open DAILY, 10-5. The Center for Research & Education in Goshen
is open every day but Tuesday & Wednesday, 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!