CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, January 20, 2005
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 20. For bird news call
the Cape May Birding Hotline at (609) 898-2473. NJ 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).
Many thanks to all who donated supplies to Tri State Bird Rescue to
help their rehabilitation efforts of oiled birds in response to the
November 26th Delaware River Oil Spill (the Athos I). Tri State Bird
Rescue is no longer accepting donated materials; theyve run out of
storage room. If you have collected donated materials, theyve
suggested donating them to a local animal shelter. A recent summary of
the November 26th Oil Spill can be found at the end of this hotline.
Love is in the air, yes despite the bitter winter we are finally
experiencing here in South Jersey. RED-TAILED HAWKS are paired up and
sitting side-by-side on marsh and field edges all over the Delaware
Bayshore. BALD EAGLES are busy working on their nests and may lay eggs
as early as early February. Join Pat Sutton for the popular Winter
Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore Saturday, January 29 (9 -5:30). Were
sure to be entertained by dozens of Bald Eagles! Call 609-861-0700,
x-11 to register! Cumberland Countys Winter Raptor Festival will be
held Saturday, February 5. CMBO staff and volunteers will be manning 4
raptor-rich outdoor sites during this festival. Call 856-453-2177 to
pick up the festival flyer or stop by CMBOs Center in Goshen.
A GREAT HORNED OWL was discovered sitting out in broad daylight along a
sunlit edge of the saltmarsh at Hansey Creek in Cumberland County on
January 16. They get cold too and its not that unusual to find sunning
owls during the day in winter (Screech Owls peeking out of holes in
trees and Long-ears and Great Horneds along remote edges). GREAT HORNED
OWLS will soon lay eggs. They become very silent once the eggs are
laid, so if youve been hearing Great Horneds and suddenly note their
silence, youll know why. SHORT-EARED OWLS continue to entertain at
Corbin City WMA. 3-4 hunted and interacted with N. Harriers against the
backdrop of falling snow the evening of January 19 from 4 p.m. till
dusk during CMBOs All About Owls Field Trip. Learn how to spot owls
and learn all about them by joining Pat Sutton for the final"All About
Owls Workshop & Field Trip" January 27 (1-5:30 p.m.). Call
609-861-0700, x-11 to register!
The Corbin City WMA area is also a good vantage point to enjoy
wintering ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS (3) and a GOLDEN EAGLE. Once the
impoundments thaw they will fill back up with waterfowl. Learn this
interesting area by joining Pat Sutton & Karen Johnson for the
Tuckahoe & Corbin City WMA Field Trip, Saturday, February 19 (2-6
p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register!
A raft of 200 SURF and BLACK SCOTERS drifted around the jetty at the
Avalon Seawatch (7th Street and the beach) on January 20. 200 calling
scoters sounded like wailing. 6 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and 2 HORNED GREBE
were also enjoyed there. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS are displaying now,
throwing their head back in a graceful arch and were enjoyed in the
backbay waters in Avalon visible from 53rd Street. Sunset Lake in
Wildwood Crest is another winter waterfowl hotspot and held 75
Red-breasted Merganser and a female CANVASBACK on January 19. If youd
like to savor amorous waterfowl, be sure to sign up for the Longtails
in Love field trip with Pat Sutton on Saturday, February 12 (10 a.m.-4
p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register!
The Barnegat Lighthouse jetty is always a winter treat. Because this
site can be brutally cold, choose a windless, sunny day and be dazzled
by 34+ HARLEQUIN DUCKS, 3 KING EIDER, PURPLE SANDPIPERS, SNOW BUNTINGS,
LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and HORNED GREBE.
From East Point in Cumberland County 16 COMMON GOLDENEYE were enjoyed
in the Delaware Bay on January 16. The recent cold and frozen marsh is
driving SNOW GEESE south. Several thousand were seen January 18 heading
south over Cape May Point. When the temperatures rise and the marshes
and waterways thaw, theyll be back. Some winters the Snow Geese cross
the Delaware Bay (back and forth) multiple times. Most other birds sit
tight and if the conditions become too severe, they will die.
The third HARBOR SEAL sighting this winter came in from the Concrete
Ship on January 19. An earlier one was seen in Hereford Inlet and
another was found way up a creek in the Delaware Bay in Cumberland
CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are set. Registrations are being
taken now. To receive the workshop brochure call 609-861-0700 or go to:
Enjoy winter birds by attending upcoming CMBO programs:
Weekly walks (no advanced registration, $6 members, $10 for others):
Saturdays (8-10 a.m.), "Birding Cape May Point" meets at 8 a.m. in
the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.
Sundays (8-10 a.m.), Sunday Morning at Turkey Point meets at 8 a.m.
at the end of Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County (reached from Rt.
553 south of the town of Dividing Creek).
Sundays (4 p.m. to dusk), Nightfall at Jakes Landing meets at the
end of Jakes Landing Road, near Dennisville.
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already mentioned
follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to register):
Waterfowl Art Exhibit has opened at CMBO Center in Goshen Stop by
and be dazzled! The Opening Reception will be Sun., Jan. 30 (2-4)
BIRDING FROM THE FERRY with Mark Garland Sunday, February 20 (7-11
OPTICS WORKSHOP at CMBO Northwood Center Sunday, February 20 (1-3
WINTER AT TWO MILE BEACH with Mark Garland Sunday, February 27
CAPE MAY NWR Field Trip with Pat Sutton Saturday, March 5 (1-4 p.m.)
WOODCOCK DANCE with Pat Sutton Saturday, March 5 (5-7 p.m.)
BIRDING CUMBERLAND with Pat & Clay Sutton Saturday, March 12 (9
BIRDING FROM THE FERRY with Mark Garland Saturday, March 26 (7-11
CMBOs 10th ANNUAL OPTICS SALE for CMBO or NJ Audubon members ONLY
(become a member today to take advantage of the great deals!)
Saturday & Sunday, March 19-20 (9-4:30 p.m.)
Many other programs are scheduled for 2005; contact either CMBO Center
for a copy of the Kestrel Express, which features the schedule, or go
to NJ Audubons website: http://www.njaudubon.org
The following summary of the November 26th Delaware River Oil Spill
(the Athos I) was shared at a recent conference:
November 26, 2004 an oil tanker, the Athos I, began leaking crude oil
into the Delaware River. Now that the ship has been examined in dry
dock it is estimated that 265,000 gallons of oil leaked from the ship.
Both a cargo compartment and ballast compartment were apparently
punctured by a U-shaped piece of metal that appears to be part of a
dredge pump impeller housing. The oil is a slightly buoyant crude oil
that has the consistency of "cold honey" and is very sticky. A portion
of the oil was forced underwater during the initial spill and was later
cleaned from underwater depressions. Large sections of shoreline were
covered with inches thick, relatively solid material. Shoreline impacts
extend from Philadelphia to the Smyrna River, which is a little north
of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. So far 84,020 gallons of oil
and oily liquid and 1,817 gallons of submerged oil have been recovered,
along with 7,812 tons of oily solids (cleanup materials and oil).
Shoreline clean up is on-going and not expected to be completed until
the summer. 551 birds have been recovered so far, 174 dead, 258 have
been cleaned and released, 119 are still being cleaned. Most of the
birds impacted have been ducks, geese, and gulls. In March a
reassessment of the situation will be undertaken to make plans for the
spring. It is expected that there will be additional oil in the form of
"tar balls" and small areas of "sheen" that will likely be encountered
during the spring and into the summer, from the Philadelphia area to
the outer coast in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. A
damage assessment is just beginning and both shorebirds and horseshoe
crabs have been highlighted among other things to consider when
assessing the impacts. This is expected to take on the order of 1-2
years to complete. The following 2 web sites share additional
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. To
receive a copy of the Winter Program Schedule (the Kestrel Express),
stop at either CMBO Center, call the office during business hours at
609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site at
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!