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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 23 include sightings of BLACK-NECKED
STILT, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, RED CROSSBILL,
MOURNING WARBLER, local nature notes, and news of CMBO's upcoming
programs and field trips.
Eight BLACK-NECKED STILTS were seen flying by the South Cape May
Meadows (SCMM) on the evening of May 20th. Five were seen the
following morning at SCMM, presumably part of the same flock.
A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was reported from Cape May Point on May 19th,
with no reports since.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen at Higbee Beach on both May 19th
A RED CROSSBILL was on Cape May Point on May 21st.
MOURNING WARBLERS were at CMBO on May 17th, Cape May Point on May
20th, and at Higbee Beach on the 21st.
Three MISSISSIPPI KITES were at the Beanery on May 21st.
The last report of the SWAINSON'S HAWK at Jake's Landing was on
Two BLACK TERNS were off Cape May Point on May 20th.
HORSESHOE CRABS finally came in, in good numbers on May 20th and
have been building daily since! They're late this year due to
several factors. We've had a cold spring and so the Delaware Bay
waters have been very cold up to now and the crabs weren't
triggered to leave the floor of the Bay and come out onto the
beaches to mate and lay their eggs . . . that is, until now.
Plus, all the rain we've had this spring. Crabs like salty
water, not the low salinity waters that have been along the Bay
beaches due to all the rainfall. Anyway, on the beaches in big
numbers now and will be for the next month probably -- and with
them are hungry shorebirds! Yes, by today, May 23, the beaches
looked normal for mid-May -- they were darkened with the masses
of feeding shorebirds. Mostly RUDDY TURNSTONES, SANDERLINGS,
and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, with some RED KNOTS.
Consider going on one of CMBO's special Shorebird & Horseshoe
Crab Field Trips, led by CMBO Associate Naturalist, Fred Mears --
offered daily now through May 29th (exc ept Sunday, May 26).
Call CMBO to register or learn more at 609-884-2736.
The shorebird viewing platform at Reeds Beach is one of the best
places to go, but Reeds Beach is also a year-round community.
Please park in the marina parking lot at the end of Reeds Beach
Road; parking is $1/car and supports ecotourism. View from the
viewing platform or the jetty at the north end of Reed's Beach
Road. Do not flush the birds and do not trespass on private
The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge will eventually total
21,700 acres. To date about 8,000 acres have been purchased and
are open to WALKING ACCESS for birding, butterfly watching,
nature study, photography, and environmental education. Please
DO NOT drive on any refuge lands. But there is no problem
walking on refuge lands, despite the boundary signs which look
intimidating and say: "UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY PROHIBITED." The refuge
headquarters is on Kimbles Beach Road, off Route 47 just south of
Reeds Beach. The fields along Kimbles Beach Road are refuge
property and can be explored. The next two roads south of
Kimbles Beach Road on Route 47 back onto the refuge: Woodcock Lane
and Bobwhite Lane. Park at the end of either of these two
roads and walk to your heart's content. Be sure to let us know
what you find there. We're calling these fields the "Red Barn
Several Ruby-throated Hummingbird nests have been found in the
last 2 weeks. CMBO's feeders are quite active. If you have
hummingbird feeders in your yard, be sure to clean them out
thoroughly each week and refill with fresh solution. Otherwise
the solution ferments and can be dangerous to the hummers.
Local Nature Notes follow: On May 21 we noticed 100's of Cicadas
emerging from their shells and climbing up trees or flying from
tree to tree in Belleplain State Forest. The "Periodical
Cicada" is known for its 13 or 17 year emergence -- so that once
every 13 or 17 years there is a mass emergence. Looks like this
is the year! This mass emergence overwhelms predators and
permits the great majority to mate undisturbed. Quite a survival
technique! The recent heat wave triggered many Painted and Box
Turtles to come out of their haunts and lay their eggs. It also
resulted in an emergence of Blue Dasher dragonflies and the
early emergence of 100's of Seaside Dragonlets -- all seen in the
field at Jakes Landing Road on May 21st. Wild Cherry and Locust
trees are each in bloom now with their lovely white blossoms!
With the heat butterflies are finally emerging and being enjoyed
in good numbers. CMBO's Wednesday butterfly walk watched
American Ladies laying eggs on Sweet Everlasting in the field at
Jakes Landing. And alert observers discovered Brown Elfin
caterpillars feeding on the developing fruit on Highbush
Blueberry bushes in Belleplain State Forest. These caterpillars
are bright green and slug-like, or semi-flattened.
News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include
"Shorebirds & Horseshoe Crabs on the Delaware Bayshore" field
trips daily now through May 29 (except May 26), a two-day "Bird
Watching For Beginners Course" on May 25-26, an "Osprey Nests by
Boat" trip on June 8, 3 "Butterfly Counts" in late June, and a
two-day "Bird Watching For Beginners Course" again in June on
CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard The Skimmer are
offered Every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and Every Monday from 9 a.m.
to Noon. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat trips, call
The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100.
Our spring daily bird and butterfly walks are underway and
require no preregistration -- JUST COME! Sunday, May 25, Louise
Zemaitis leads a "Bird & Butterfly Walk at Hidden Valley"
meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the small clamshell parking lot on the
south side of New England Road 0.3 miles past the intersection
with Bayshore Road. Every Tuesday Pete Dunne leads a "Birds of
the Seashore" walk through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May
Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 7:30 a.m., and Every Tuesday
through May 28 Mike Fritz leads a "Sunset Birding at Stone
Harbor Point & Nummy's Island," meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the
Stone Harbor Point Parking Lot. Every Wednesday through May 29
Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk in Belleplain" at 9 a.m.,
meeting at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Every Thursday
through May 30 CMBO offers a "Spring Birding in Belleplain" walk,
meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Belleplain State Forest Field
Office. This walk is also offered on several Saturdays,
including May 25 and June 1. Friday, May 24, Bill Glaser lead a
"Higbee Beach Bird Walk" at 7:30 a.m. Every Saturday Tom
Parsons, Fred Mears, or Bill Glaser leads a "Birding Cape May
Point" walk, meeting at 7:30 a.m. in the raised picnic pavilion
at the Cape May Point State Park. Stop by our office and pick up
the program schedule for more details or give us a call at
609-884-2736 and we'll mail it to you.
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 office at 609-884-2736 or a send a request for
info to CMBO, P.O. Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ 08212. If you
are in the area, do not hesitate to visit our headquarters
and growing birding bookstore at 707 E. Lake Dr., Cape May
Point. We're open 9-5 every day but Monday.
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. Please report sightings of rare or unusual birds
to CMBO at (609) 884-2736. Thank you for calling; good birding.