Cape May Natural History Hotline - 1/12/2006

This is Pat Sutton with the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This hotline was prepared on Thursday, January 12. New Jersey Audubon's three hotlines can be read in full on our website (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (at the top of any page).

ALERT: HUNTING SEASON is still underway. In Cape May County, Winter Bow season runs through January 31. In New Jersey there is no hunting on Sundays.

Its a GREAT time of year for GULLS! An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was feeding with 40-60 BONAPARTES GULLS off Alexander Avenue in Cape May Point on January 7. Have you had trouble tracking down gulls shared on hotlines? Some gulls take 3 years to mature, others 4 and 5 years. No wonder theyre so tough to master. Now through early February is an excellent time of year to study them. As part of CMBOs 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops Michael OBrien will teach a 2-Day Gull Workshop, Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29, 2006. Want to be a better birder, more observant, more aware of what to pay attention to? Michael OBrien and Louise Zemaitis will teach a 1-Day Workshop on Techniques of Field Identification on Sunday, February 5. There are 13 places left in each of these workshops. To register for either, call 609-861-0700, x-11.

To learn more about these workshops or the 15 other 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops (Warblers, Spring Migration, and Birding By Ear in May, Backyard Habitat in June, Butterflies in August, Terns in July, Shorebirds and Flycatchers, Vireos, and Fall Warblers in late August, Fall Migration and Falcons & Accipiters in September, Advanced Birding By Ear, Sparrows, and Raptors II in October, and Waterfowl in November ) go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks06.html

Adult BALD EAGLES all over New Jersey are busy with their nests sitting in them, sitting side-by-side near them, mating near them, whistling to each other its quite a show. Today, January 12, the nesting pair near CMBOs Center in Goshen, just up Sluice Creek at Beaver Swamp WMA, entertained with all of the above! And on January 7, one of the adults flew over the Center on its way to hunt the Delaware Bay marshes. Bald Eagles normally lay eggs sometime in February or later.

The SNOWY OWL, discovered in mid-December at Stone Harbor Point, continues there. The bird is very light and probably an immature male. This week it was seen there January 8th, 9th, 10th, and today, January 12. The bird can often be seen from the end of the road between the parking lot and the Point, looking like a beacon of white on the open beachfront. It often perches on a slight rise of sand, one with dune grass growing on it, right at home in this tundra-like landscape.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES are coming out of the woodwork this week with sightings from Daveys Lake on January 7, a feeder in the Villas on January 6, a feeder off of Shunpike on January 6, and 2 birds continuing in Erma (just south or Rio Grande) in a yard at the intersection of Carol Avenue and Oak Lane. The Erma birds have been attracted to a fabulous backyard habitat and have become quite fond of orange slices and grape jelly.

A flock of SANDHILL CRANES, living in northwestern Cumberland County, has been rediscovered each winter during the Cumberland Co. CBC roosting in fields or the marsh at the end of Husted Landing Road. On January 9 a flock of 11 bugling cranes was discovered there at dawn.

2 SHORT-EARED OWLS were hunting on a bright afternoon at 4 p.m. on January 7 at Jakes Landing Road, while one was enjoyed at dusk at Turkey Point on January 9. GREAT HORNED OWLS will soon be on eggs. Pairs are still calling softly to one another. When they become silent, youll know that theyve laid eggs. An All About Owls: Workshop & Field Trip with Pat Sutton is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 1-5:30 p.m., meeting at CMBOs Center in Goshen for the indoor portion of the workshop at 1 p.m. To register or for more information call 609-861-0700, x-11. Several of CMBOs weekly winter walks (requiring no preregistration) visit owly spots at owly times. Every Sunday (8-10 a.m.), beginning January 22, Sunday Morning at Turkey Point meets at the end of Turkey Point Road. Every Other Sunday, beginning January 22, Nightfall at Jakes Landing meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road at 4 p.m. in January (Jan. 22, Feb. 5, 19, March 5, 19). Every other Sunday, beginning January 29, Nightfall at Corbin City Impoundments meets on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the Corbin City Hall parking lot at 4 p.m. in January (Jan. 29, Feb. 12, 26, March 12, 26). For details on each walk as well as CMBOs many preregistration programs go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

Those looking for the TRUMPETER SWAN at Daveys Lake in the Higbee Beach WMA on January 6 failed to find it, but did find 5 PALM WARBLERS, AMERICAN BITTERN, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, and a dark ROUGH- LEGGED HAWK. Why not join the local birders and savor all this and more. Every Saturday (8-10 a.m.) CMBOs Cape May Point walk meets at the Cape May Point State Park on the raised Picnic Pavilion.

An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was displaying on January 9 at dusk at Stone Harbor Point.

On January 11 a SPRING PEEPER was peeping in Goshen and another that evening south of the Cape May Canal. On January 12th the first spring butterfly, a RED ADMIRAL, was seen in Del Haven off Norburys Landing Road as temperatures soared to 60 degrees.

The final total for the CAPE MAY CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, held on December 18, was 159 species. Low-lights: due to a few early cold spells, the half-hardy species were harder to find than usual. Sadly, this counts hummingbird streak came to an end (it had been going since 2000). Highlights: cold fronts did bring record numbers of Red- bellied Woodpeckers (158), Cedar Waxwings (746), Hermit Thrushes (215), White-throated Sparrows (2871), Dark-eyed Juncos (1222), and Purple Finches (71). Species of note included: Sandhill Crane (which continues to hang out in a corn field on Batts Lane near the canal), Snowy Owl (at Stone Harbor Point), King Eider (Coast Guard Base), Lapland Longspur (Cape May Co. Airport with Horned Larks), Common Redpoll (at Kevin Karlson's bird feeder), 2 Black-headed Gulls (1 seen from seawatch, 1 off of Higbee), Little Gull (near ferry terminal), Eurasian Wigeon (Cape May Point State Park), and 4 Razorbills. Two NEW SPECIES added to the cumulative count total bring it to 260 species: (1) Yellow Rail (flushed near Sunset Lake in Wildwood), (2) Rose-breasted Grosbeak (at a feeder near the Cape May canal). Count Week species of note: 2 Black Skimmers (Stone Harbor Point), a Trumpeter Swan (at Davey's Lake), and a Broad-winged Hawk (photographed at Stone Harbor Point).

Pete Dunne will be teaching a 2-Day Bird Watching For Beginners Course on January 13-14. Theres still room. To register or for more information call 609-861-0700, or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

AMERICAN ROBINS continue in good numbers, and their favorite winter food, AMERICAN HOLLY berries, continue to adorn trees so the berry crop was stellar!

CMBOs bookstore hours follow: the Northwood Center in Cape May Point is open Thursday-Monday, 9-4:30. The Center for Research and Education on Route 47 in Goshen is open daily (7 days a week) from 9-4:30, though it will be closed Monday, January 9.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. All are detailed in the Kestrel Express. To receive a copy of the Winter Kestrel Express (December through February) stop at either CMBO Center, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

This Cape May Natural History and Events Hotline is a service of the Cape May Bird Observatory, which is a research, conservation, and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to preserve and perpetuate the ornithological and natural history significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this hotline. We detail sightings from Cape May, Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Please report your natural history sightings to CMBO's Center in Goshen at 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!

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