You have reached the Cape May Birding Hotline, a service of New Jersey
Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. THE highlight for the week
ending July 18 was
the passage of Hurricane Bertha on July 13th, we also have an announcement
a special CMBO sponsored boat tour to CHAMPAGNE ISLAND aboard the SKIMMER,
news of a summer pelagic birding trip, local nature notes, and news of
CMBO's upcoming programs and field trips.
In the late morning of July 13th, the remnant eye of Hurricane Bertha passed
over Brandywine Light west of Cape May Point in Delaware Bay. The following
seabirds seen in the wake of the storm's passage is unsurpassed in Cape
May's storied birding history. Seen passing the Concrete Ship on the Point
were: eleven BAND-RUMPED STORM PETRELS, eight BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS, four
SOOTY TERNS, two BRIDLED TERNS, one ARCTIC TERN, one LEACH'S STORM PETREL,
one GREATER SHEARWATER, eight WILSON'S STORM PETRELS, and two NORTHERN GANNETS.
On July 14th a BAND-RUMPED STORM PETREL was seen near the Concrete Ship,
while a GREATER SHEARWATER was seen from the Cape May - Lewes Ferry.
On the 15th, an obviously exhausted SOOTY TERN was found on the beach near
Alexander Ave. on Cape May Point. It spent the day there before being
captured and taken for rehab. Unfortunately it did not last the night. An
ARCTIC TERN was seen at Alexander Ave. on the 15th, while another was seen
from the Ferry.
Elsewhere, shorebirds are moving in good numbers, the highlight being a
single flock of 460 WILLET heading south across Delaware Bay.
Even a few passerines have been seen moving including BOBOLINK, ORCHARD
ORIOLE, and BLUE GROSBEAK.
Bob Carlough, of The Skimmer birding by boat tours, reports they are now
of migrant shorebirds, including WHIMBREL, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, DOWITCHERS
and YELLOWLEGS and that some of the marsh nesters are fledging. The first
LAUGHING GULL and COMMON TERN chicks flew this week, and the first young
OSPREY took wing this week. He also had excellent news about Champagne
Island, the site of the largest nesting colony of BLACK SKIMMERS in the
state with about 500 pairs, as as well as about 500 pairs of nesting COMMON
TERNS, and several pairs of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS. Thankfully Hurricane
Bertha did not affect this most important nesting colony!
Champagne Island also attracts roosting Brown Pelicans and it's a favorite
roost site for migrant terns and migrant shorebirds. Most sightings of
Roseate, Sandwich, Black, Caspian, and Royal Terns in the summer occur here!
The Skimmer, a very stable 37 foot catamaran with open and enclosed viewing
decks, runs three daily birding by boat 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. The special CMBO sponsored boat trip every Friday
evening from 5:30-8:30 p.m. will visit Champagne Island. To register for
sponsored boat trips, call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100 and say you
learned of the tripsthrough CMBO!
Hurricane Bertha did not treat the tern colony at The Nature Conservancy's
Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (TNC) as favorably. Now through the end of
August, TNC staff
and interns are offering the following walks: Every Friday at 8 a.m. Clay
TNC's Naturalist/Ecologist, will lead a three-hour walk. The fee is $8.
Every Wednesday and Every Saturday evening at 6 p.m. TNC interns will lead
Avalon's Boro Park at 72nd Street is harboring a sizeable heronry this
summer, including numbersof nesting Black and Yellow-crowned Night Herons,
Glossy Ibis, and Egrets. This is excellent news now that the Stone Harbor
Heronry is still unoccupied!
CMBO's garden and feeders are quite active with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
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.
A late summer pelagic birding trip off the coast of NJ out of Brielle will
leave Sunday, August 25, at 5 a.m. and return that same day at about 8 p.m.
Cost of the
trip is $65/person. Contact "Focus on Nature Tours" for more details and to
register at 302-529-1876.
Local Nature Notes follow: Hurricane Bertha dumped 4+ inches of rain on the
area and winds blew hard. But as soon as it cleared, about 2 p.m. on
Saturday, July 14th, butterflies were flying. Most amazing, when you begin
to wonder where they were
during the storm. And by the next day butterfly activity was incredible as
the sun shown and temperatures reached 80 degrees. Diversity and numbers
have been high ever since. Gardens are enjoying lots of Sachems,
Broad-winged Skippers, both hummingbird moths (the Snowberry Clearwing and
the Hummingbird Clearwing), Monarchs, and lots
of Swallowtails. And speaking of swallowtails, there is still an invasion
of Pipevine Swallowtails occurring. One was in a garden in Cape May Point
on the 12th, 1 in a garden in Avalon on the 16th, 15 around Bayside in
Cumberland County, and 3 in a
garden in the Villas on the 17th and 18th. American Snouts are out and being
seen now wherever Hackberry trees occur, including CMBO's garden. A
Variegated Fritillary was in a garden in Avalon on July 16. And a Monarch
was seen crossing the Delaware Bay on July 15. Results are finalized for
the three butterfly counts CMBO coordinates. The Cape May Butterfly Count
tallied in with 39 species on June 22, the Belleplain Count with 50 species
on June 28, and the Cumberland Count with 35 species on June 29.
With the cool, wet spring many butterflies seemed about 2 weeks late. Several
expected species were missed and other normally common species were very low
in numbers. Hairstreak numbers were low on all three counts, though we hit
the Bog Coppers at their peak with 210 on the Belleplain Count. The first
Painted Ladies of the season were seen on the Belleplain Count, though there
have been only a handfull
of sightings since. Highlights were many, but mainly the counts were a
wonderful excuse to spend a day out butterflying. Trumpet Creeper is in
full, a favorite with hummingbirds. Common Milkweed, Dogbane, and Butterfly
Weed are in bloom and covered with butterflies! Everlasting Pea is in
bloom, great for skippers.
NEWS OF CMBO PROGRAMS FOLLOW: July 27-28 Fred Mears will teach a 2-day "Bird
Watching For Beginners Course." Call CMBO for details or to register at
609-884-2736. CMBO sponsored "Birding By Boat trips" aboard THE SKIMMER are
offered Every Sunday
from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and Every Monday from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and Every Friday
from 5:30-8:30 p.m.. The Friday trip runs 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 underway and require no preregistration -- JUST COME! 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. Every Wednesday 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. Every Friday Bill
Glaser leads a "Sunset Bird Walk" through The Nature Conservancy's Cape May
Migratory Bird Refuge, meeting at 6:30 p.m. And 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.
CMBO's summer Program Schedule is now available, covering July-
September. Stop by our office and pick it up 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
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 E. Lake Dr., Cape May Point. We're open daily, 9-5.
The Cape May Birding Hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubon's Cape May
Bird Observatory unusual birds to CMBO at 609-884-2736. Thanks for calling
and GOOD BIRDING!