You have reached the Cape May birding hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. Highlights of the week ending June 3 include: BLACK-NECKED STILT, MISSISSIPPI KITES, SURF SCOTER, OLDSQUAW, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON LOON, WILSON'S STORM PETREL, LEACH'S STORM PETREL, PEREGRINE, BALD EAGLE, BLACK VULTURE, RIGHT WHALE, local nature notes, and news of upcoming programs.
The MISSISSIPPI KITE show continued June 1, when one was seen over Sea Grove Ave. in Cape May Point. Previous to that, 4 were seen over the Beanery, just a few days before. Some could still be around, so keep an eye skyward.
A pair of BLACK-NECKED STILTS are nesting in the marsh at the end of Goshen Landing Rd. Wander along the creek a bit to the left and look across towards the Delaware Bay. THe birds are in front of, and in line with, a duck blind. This is the first known nesting of BLACK-NECKED STILTS in New Jersey in 124 years.
A few winter holdovers are wintering. A male SURF SCOTER was a flyover at Stone Harbor Point on May 27. And a female was at the Bunker in Cape May June 1; a male was at Second Ave. on June 2. An OLDSQUAW was at the Bunker on June 2; several GANNETS were seen coming out of the Delaware Bay on June 1 after a hard blow; and on May 27, 2 BRANT and 3 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were found at Stone Harbor Point, and a COMMON LOON was at the Concrete Ship on June 2.
Capt. Ron Robbins is seeing WILSON'S STORM PETRELS from his boat the Miss Chris; and on May 29 at least one LEACH'S STORM PETREL and many WILSON'S STORM PETRELS were seen on the Memorial Day offshore pelagic trip run by the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club out of Barnegat Light.
Shorebird numbers on the Delaware Bay have been fabulous, attracting at least a few predators. At Cook's Beach, a PEREGRINE FALCON caught a Sanderling on May 29 with ease, never missing a wingbeat. An adult BALD EAGLE was sitting on the tidal mudflat at Norbury's Landing on June 1. Three to four BROADWINGED HAWKS, 2 BLACK VULTURES, and a PEREGRINE flew over Cape May Point on June 2.
Local nature notes follow.
The breeding season is in full swing. Many birds have young, and are already beginning their second brood. One yard in Salem county has two active Hummingbird nests as of June 3, so stay alert in your own yard if you have Hummingbirds. Elderberry and Japanese Honeysuckle are coming into bloom, and the Honeysuckle has distracted most hummingbirds from our feeders. Do, however, continue to clean the feeders weekly and refill with fresh solution; the birds will return when the Honeysuckle starts to wane. A Right Whale was seen June 1 at the mouth of the Delaware Bay heading north. These were the whales that the early settlers to these shores hunted. A good number and diversity of butterflies are being seen now. Tiger and Spicebush Swallowtails and an assortment of smaller butterflies can be seen.
CMBO will be offering a Bird Photography workshop with Art Morris on June 5. Birdwatching for Beginners, a 2-day course, is scheduled for May 29-30, and June 26-27, and each month thereafter. A dragonfly workshop and walk with Ken Soltesz (author of the Cape May County checklist) will be held June 19; and all-day butterfly counts will be held June 20, 26, 27. All these programs require pre-registration. To learn more about these and other CMBO programs and field trips, write to CMBO, PO Box 3, Cape May Point, NJ, 08212, or call (609) 884-2736.
The Cape May birding hotline is a service of Cape May Bird Observatory and details 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. Thanks for calling; good birding.