You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of the New Jersey
Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights for the week ending
June 14 include: MISSISSIPPI KITE, GULL-BILLED TERNS, ROSEATE TERNS, BLACK TERNS and ROYAL
TERNS, SOOTY SHEARWATER, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, RED KNOT, an announcement
regarding a special CMBO Boat Tour to Champagne Island aboard The Skimmer,
news of breeding birds at Higbee, Hidden Valley and the Meadows, local
nature notes and news of CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.
A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen June 12 over Lily Lake. GULL-BILLED TERNS are
nesting on Champagne Island again, which explains their presence on June 11
at the water lily covered pond on Route 9 just south of the Cape May County
Park and on June 10 at Beaver Swamp Wildlife Management Area, also a water
lily covered area. In each case, they were feeding on frogs that they picked
off the water lily leaves.
A ROSEATE TERN was seen at the Cape May Point State Park on June 10. A BLACK
TERN was at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge on June 7 at the east dike.
A SOOTY SHEARWATER was in Delaware Bay about 2 miles off Pearson's Point the
evening of June 10. WILSON'S STORM PETREL are being seen from shore as they
dance over the off-shore waters. Two were seen in the Delaware Bay from the
[Cape May-Lewes] ferry on June 11 along with a NORTHERN GANNET. To see these
sea birds from land, scan the horizon for small dark birds about the size of
a Barn Swallow that look like they are dancing on the water, turning back
and forth as they feed on bits and pieces of food on the water's surface.
The beach at Corson's Inlet State Park on June 8 and 9 held 6 RED KNOT, 1
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and 6 ROYAL TERNS.
CMBO's Osprey Nest by Boat boat trip on Saturday, June 8 aboard The Skimmer
delighted in excellent looks at numerous pairs of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS,
some with big, fluffy young. Also seen were FORSTER'S and COMMON TERNS on
their nests in the wrack line on the marsh edge of creeks and many OSPREY at
nests on duck blinds, old fishing boats, channel markers and man-made
platforms. Between Cape May and the Wildwoods, we saw probably 40 Osprey
nests. Some of the nests had newly hatched young. We also enjoyed several
heron and egret rookeries on marsh islands. At high tide, from the boat
trip, we saw hundreds of Horseshoe Crabs mating on creek edges in the
Atlantic Coast marshes behind the Wildwoods.
The Skimmer runs 3 daily trips and each week. The Friday evening, Sunday
afternoon and Monday morning trips are sponsored by CMBO and benefit CMBO.
Details follow and are found at the end of this tape in program information.
Champagne Island, the sand island in Hereford Inlet between Stone Harbor and
North Wildwood is the site of the largest nesting colony of BLACK SKIMMERS
in the State with about 500 pairs as well as about 500 pairs of nesting
COMMON TERNS and several pair of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. BROWN PELICANS
are regularly found roosting there from summer to late fall. Also, by July
it's a favorite roost site for other terns and migrant shorebirds. Most
sighting of Roseate, Sandwich, Caspian, Black and Royal Terns in the summer
occur on Champagne Island.
The Skimmer, a very stable 30' catamaran, with open and enclosed viewing
decks, now offers a special CMBO sponsored boat trip every Friday evening
from 5:30 to 8:30 pm to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO
sponsored boat trips, call the The Skimmer directly at (609)884-3100 and say
you learned of the trips through CMBO.
During the Nature Conservancy's weekly Friday morning walk at the Cape May
Migratory Bird Refuge led by Clay Sutton, the June 14th group enjoyed the
following goodies: 10 BLACK SCOTER, 2 SURF SCOTER, 1 NORTHERN GANNET, 12
SANDERLING, 1 NORTHERN HARRIER and 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS. The Nature
Conservancy's (TNC)Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge has 9 PIPING PLOVER nests
this year. Many of their chicks have hatched and may be found along the tide
line feeding or in the safety of the unpeopled upper beach. The LEAST TERN
colony is again healthy this year. A count several weeks ago determined that
there were 150 LEAST TERNS. TNC's Refuge also has nesting LEAST BITTERNS.
Listen for their "wok wok wok" call to give their presence away. Now through
the end of August, TNC staff and interns are offering the following walks.
Every Friday at 8am, Clay Sutton, TNC's Naturalist/Ecologist will lead a 3
hour walk. The fee is $8. Every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 6pm, TNC
interns will lead 1 hour walks for free.
Avalon's Borough Park at 72nd Street is harboring a sizable heronry this
summer including numbers of nesting BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS and YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT
HERONS, GLOSSY IBIS and Egrets. This is excellent news now that the Stone
Harbor heronry is again unoccupied.
The Higbee Beach parking lots are closed now for the summer but Higbee Beach
Wildlife Management Area is still open to birding and butterfly watching.
Park in the Hidden Valley Parking lot, which is the small clamshell parking
lot on the south side of New England Road about .3 miles past the
intersection with Bayshore Road and walk down to Higbee'a. Birding is great
the length of the road and once you get to Higbee, explore the five fields
and their hedgrows for nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, PRAIRIE WARBLERS,
INDIGO BUNTINGS, BLUE GROSBEAKS, WHITE-EYED VIREOS and more. Many of these
same birds nest at Hidden Valley. There, explore the fields, the wet woods
and the inner pasture and overlook over Pond Creek Marsh, a freshwater,
cattail marsh. INDIGO BUNTINGS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ORCHARD ORIOLE and
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER were all seen at Hidden Valley this week and the marsh
has nesting LEAST BITTERNS and COMMON MOORHEN. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS
are on nest now and CMBO 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. Japanese Honeysuckle is in full bloom and will
disract our hummers from the feeders for the next few weeks but continue to
keep your feeders filled with fresh solution for their return.
Local Nature Notes follow: Observers at Higbee Beach and Hidden Valley
reported a good assortment of butterflies for June 6 including: a Hayhurst's
Scallopwing at Higbee; Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails, 10 Question Marks,
Mourning Cloak, Viceroy, Little Wood Satyr, Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper,
Least Skipper, male and female Zabulons and Cabbage White.
[rest of nature notes omitted]
News of CMBO's upcoming preregistration programs include: a member's night
on June 19 at 7:30 pm featuring a slide presentation tour by Pat Sutton on
butterfly and hummingbird gardens she has known. The Cape May Butterfly
Count on June 22, the Belleplain Butterfly Count on June 28, the Cumberland
Butterfly Count on June 29 and a two day Birdwatching for Beginners course
on June 29 and 30. CMBO sponsored Birding by Boat trips aboard The Skimmer
are offered every Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 pm and every Monday from 9:30 am
to 12:30 pm as well as the Friday evening trips mentioned earlier on the
hotline to Champagne Island. To register for these CMBO sponsored boat
trips, call The Skimmer directly at (609) 884-3100 and say you learned of
the trips through CMBO. Our daily bird walks are under way and require no
preregistration, just come: every Tuesday Pete Dunne or some of the CMBO
Associate Naturalists will lead a bird to seashore walk through the Nature
Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge meeting at 7:30 am; every
Saturday Tom Parsons or Fred Mears or Bill Glaser lead a birding Cape May
Point walk meeting at 7:30 am at the raised picnic pavilion at Cape May
Point State Park. Every Friday, Bill Glaser leads a sunset birding walk
through the Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge meeting at
6:30 pm. Beginning in July, a Cape May Point bird walk will be offerred
at 7:30 am. Stop by our office and pick up our program schedule for more
details or give us a call at (609) 884-2736 and we'll send you one.
The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research unit of the New Jersey Aubudon
Society. Our aim is to 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 send a request for
information 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 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. We're open daily from 9
to 5. The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon
Society's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings in 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.