CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, January 22, 2004
You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a
service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This
message was prepared on Thursday, January 22. 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 web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on
"Sightings" at the top of any page.
ALERT! It is still DEER HUNTING season! Winter Bow Season continues
till January 31. Birders and naturalists should take precautions and
wear blaze orange (hat or vest) when in the woods in Cape May and
Cumberland Counties. Sundays are safe all over NJ since there is NO
HUNTING on SUNDAYS.
A host of volunteer observers scattered all over New Jersey during the
Midwinter Bald Eagles Survey, January 10-11, found 5 new BALD EAGLE
nests, bringing the number of territorial pairs to 45! WOW! Be looking
for nest building activity. An adult was seen January 19 flying with a
large stick over Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County. Bald Eagles
are our second earliest nesting bird. On January 17, 2 adults were
sitting side-by-side on the marsh edge at Jakes Landing Road, another
sign of the approaching nesting season.
Resident RED-TAILED HAWKS are paired up now too, often sitting
side-by-side. It's a great time to get a feel for just how many
Red-tails nest in your area. "Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore"
is a great way to discover and savor many off-the-beaten path,
raptor-rich areas in Cumberland County with Pat Sutton and a host of
other raptor enthusiasts on Saturday, January 31 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Up
the Atlantic Coast another raptor-rice area is the Great Egg Harbor
River. Explore it by signing up for the "Tuckahoe and Corbin City WMAs"
field trip with Pat Sutton & Karen Johnson on Sunday, February 15 (2-6
p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register for either trip while
With the lengthy stretch of freezing temperatures, many creeks, ponds,
and even waterways are freezing up and concentrating waterfowl either on
top of the ice or at the few open water sites they can find. VIRGINIA
RAILS have recently been seen in similar open water spots, like at the
Cape May Point State Park. This situation results in great viewing
opportunities. Where possible, use your car as a blind and enjoy them.
CMBO's "Longtails In Love" trip on Saturday, February 14 (10 a.m. to 4
p.m.) still has openings. Longtails are displaying now, but will be
really wound up by mid-February! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register.
Some birds and animals are quite stressed by the winter we are having.
Predators take advantage of this stress and savor easy pickings. Many
predators are highly opportunistic as was a COOPER'S HAWK found feeding
on a pile of deer carcasses off Turkey Point Road on January 18. An
AMERICAN WOODCOCK probed for earthworms beneath the leaf covered ground
just outside the CMBO Northwood Center this week. Those of us who let
our leaves lay are the most likely to attract American Woodcock right
into our yards, since the earth under composting leaves can remain
unfrozen. An active compost pile is another steamy site that may
attract hungry woodcock. If you are driving the Garden State Parkway
(or any other road with wide, sunlit, grassy shoulders) look for their
very camouflaged and barely moving shapes as they probe down with their
long bills and try to feed and stay alive. A good old-fashioned nature
walk with Mark Garland, "The Wonders of Winter," on Sunday, February 8
(8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) still has room. Learn how creatures adapt and
survive winter's freezes! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register. Also
consider signing up to help with an American Woodcock breeding survey on
the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (45 minute surveys will be
conducted after sunset between April 10-30), by calling Heidi Hanlon,
the refuge's wildlife biologist, at (609) 463-0994.
Winter gardens are fun to explore now. Look for the very camouflaged
ways in which our insects winter over on last year's now-dead plant
stems: Preying Mantis egg cases, butterfly chrysalides, and moth
cocoons. FOX SPARROWS were singing on January 19 on Berrytown Road in
Cumberland County. Imagine that!
GREAT HORNED OWLS will be laying their eggs soon, they being the
earliest nesting bird. They will use last season's Red-tailed Hawk
nest, or perhaps the nest of an Osprey or a Great Blue Heron. On
January 21 at 5:30 p.m. CMBO's "All About Owls" workshop group spotted a
Great Horned Owl on a snag in the marsh at Jakes Landing Road. About 5
minutes later a 2nd owl sat next to it, undoubtedly a mated pair. Once
the female has laid her eggs, don't expect to see two owls together at
dusk. She tends to the nest and he tends to her. So, at least that
pair has not yet laid eggs. Many are hearing Great Horned Owls call at
dusk now. Be aware that they could be calling from quite close to the
nest. And, not a surprise, they get silent once the eggs are laid.
SHORT-EARED OWLS continue to entertain at many of their favorite winter
haunts. They've been seen hunting earlier in the day than just at dusk,
so don't wait until near dark to go looking for them. A bird at Newport
Landing in Cumberland County was seen flying quite high in the sky and
appearing to clap its wings under itself . . . sure sounds like their
display flight! On January 17, 7 were seen hunting at Brigantine NWR, 4
at Corbin City NWR, 3 at Jakes Landing, and 2 at Newport Landing.
CMBO's complete listing of "2004 Cape May Birding Workshops" is now
posted on New Jersey Audubon's web site:
http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html Call 609-861-0700,
x-11, to request a brochure be sent to you once available.
Enjoy winter birding by joining CMBO for the following walks that
require no preregistration! EVERY SATURDAY, " Birding Cape May Point,"
8:00-10:00 a.m.; EVERY SUNDAY, "Nightfall at Jakes Landing," 4:30 p.m.
to dusk; EVERY SUNDAY, "Sunday Mornings at Turkey Point," 8:00-10:00
CMBO will next teach the "Nikon School of Birding" April 23-25, Friday
through Sunday. This workshop is designed to help birders of all
experience levels build better birding skills. Call 609-861-0700 or
stop by either center to request the Nikon School of Birding brochure.
There are many additional special programs being offered this winter.
Check CMBO's WINTER Program Schedule. To receive a copy, stop at either
of the two centers, or call the office during business hours at
609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site where a full
listing of CMBO's WINTER 2003 PROGRAMS (November, December, January,
February, and a few of the March programs) is posted at:
The Cumberland County Winter Raptor Festival , Saturday, February 7,
2004 (7:00 am till 8:30 pm.) will again be based at the Mauricetown Fire
Hall in Mauricetown, NJ, adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Maurice River,
a major viewing site for wintering raptors. Lectures will be held all
day: (1) 10:30 a.m. Steve Eisenhauer, Regional Manager of the Natural
Lands Trust -- "Flying Over Cumberland County: A Raptor's View." (2)
11:30 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Pat Sutton, Program Director, NJ Audubon
Society's Cape May Bird Observatory -- "A Naturalist's Journey Through
Cumberland County," 26 years of experiences through the seasons. (3)
12:30 p.m. Book Signing by Clay Sutton, author of Birding Cumberland,
produced by Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development and
Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries. (4)
1:00 p.m. Clay Sutton, Writer and Naturalist -- "All About Eagles."
(5) 2:00 p.m. David Mizrahi, Vice President of Research, NJ Audubon
Society -- "Delaware Bay, Mecca for Migrants." (6) 3:00 p.m. Karen
Williams, Proprietor of Flora For Fauna (nursery that specializes in
wildlife habitat landscaping) and gardener at Cape May Bird Observatory
-- "Inviting Wildlife into your Yard." (7) 4:00 p.m. Jane Galetto,
President, Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its
Tributaries -- "Eggs to Flight; the Maurice River Osprey Colony."
Pete Dunne, Vice President, NJ Audubon Society, will speak about "Wind
Masters, Stories Behind the Stories" at an evening presentation after
the sunset owl watch. Tickets for dinner and Pete Dunne's evening
program may be purchased for $8 that morning. Guided walks led by CMBO
Staff and volunteer naturalists, boat tours on the Maurice River, events
for novice naturalists, vendors, a morning sunrise walk with Pete Dunne,
book signings, and a sunset owl watch with Pat Sutton and other leaders
will be part of the day's schedule. Bring binoculars! Registration
begins at the Mauricetown Fire Hall in Mauricetown, NJ, at 8:00 a.m.
Food will be available at the fire hall until 5:00 p.m. Admission is $4
for children and $8 for adults. For more information call the
Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development at 856-453-2177
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 around Cape May County, and also
include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are
typically made on Thursdays. Natural history sightings can be written
on sighting sheets at either CMBO center or called in to 609-861-0700.
Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!
New Jersey Audubon Society's
Cape May Bird Observatory
Center for Research & Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609-861-0700, x-16 (phone) / 609-861-1651 (fax)