CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY & EVENTS HOTLINE JANUARY 28, 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 26, and
will next be updated on February 9. 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: BOW SEASON in Cape May County ends January 31. In New Jersey
there is no hunting on Sundays.
Today, January 28, a SNOWY OWL was seen this morning on a fence post
on the beachfront in Cape May in front of Congress Hall. The SNOWY
OWL, discovered December 8 at Stone Harbor Point, played hard-to-see
last weekend in Cape May County, but a SNOWY OWL was discovered in
Atlantic City in the Venice Park section (Missouri & Riverside) on
January 23. Looks like its back or there are 2 in the area!
Next Saturday, February 4, is Cumberland Countys Winter Eagle
Festival, beginning at 7 a.m. with a Sunrise Walk at Turkey Point
with Pete Dunne! Admission for the Festival is $10 for adults and $5
for children under twelve; registration starts at the Mauricetown
Fire Hall at 8 a.m. For more information call (856) 453-2177 or (866)
866-MORE. Exhibitors, artists, vendors, lectures / presentations, and
food will be available at the Mauricetown Fire Hall (8 a.m. to 4
p.m.). Presentations include Larry Niles at 10 a.m. (of the NJ
Endangered & Nongame Species Program), David Mizrahi at 11 a.m. (The
Crucible of Migration), Pete Dunne at 1 p.m. (Identifyin em Far
far away), Pat Sutton at 2 p.m. (How to Spot an Owl), and Kevin
Karlson at 3 p.m. (Raptors of the Bayshore). For the outdoor
enthusiast CMBO/NJAS naturalists will staff four different raptor
viewing sites between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., plus walks are scheduled
with Steve Eisenhauer (8:30 a.m. at Natural Lands Trusts Maple
Street Trail and 11:30 at their Bald Eagle Trail) and Pat Sutton
(Sunset at Turkey Point for owls at 5 p.m.). A hearty Chili Dinner,
good spirits, a program by Clay Sutton and an auction (held at the
Laurel Lake Property Owners Association from 6:30 to 9 p.m.) will
follow the Eagle Festival and is sponsored by Citizens United to
Protect the Maurice River (CU) as a fundraiser. Tickets for the Chili
dinner and talk are $20.00; seating is limited, purchase your ticket
ahead of time by contacting Renee Scagnelli at 856-692-0460 for more
information or email Rscagnelli@comcast.net.
Those looking for the Snowy Owl at Stone Harbor Point on January 24
flushed a SHORT-EARED OWL from out of the grass. SHORT-EARED OWLS
have been hit-or-miss this week at the normal winter hotspots,
including places theyve been seen previously this winter. A brief
look on January 22 at Jakes Landing, though clouds of SNOW GEESE made
up for it. One SHORT-EARED OWL was seen well on January 24 at the
Tuckahoe WMA close to the road by the northernmost impoundment. These
impoundments also held 27 TUNDRA SWANS, 160 N. PINTAIL, 60 GREEN-
WINGED TEAL, 150 HOODED MERGANSERS, and 19 COMMON MERGANSERS on
January 24 just in time for CMBOs first Nightfall at Corbin City
Impoundments walk on Sunday, January 29.
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 will be taught 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.), Sunday
Morning at Turkey Point meets at the end of Turkey Point Road. Every
other Sunday (Feb 5, 19, March 5, 19), Nightfall at Jakes Landing
meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road at 4:30 p.m. Every other
Sunday (Jan. 29, Feb. 12, 26, March 12, 26), Nightfall at Corbin
City Impoundments meets on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the
Corbin City Hall parking lot at 4 p.m. (4:30 p.m. in Feb). For
details on each walk as well as CMBOs many preregistration programs
Its a GREAT time of year for GULLS! A BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen
January 20 off Cape May Point, while 3 BONAPARTES GULLS fed near the
St. Peters By the Sea dune crossover. 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 (12 places left). And if you want to be a better birder, more
observant, and more aware of what to pay attention to, sign up for
Michael OBrien and Louise Zemaitis 1-Day Workshop on Techniques of
Field Identification, Sunday, February 5 (7 places left). 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 go to:
34 HARLEQUIN DUCKS and 150 COMMON EIDERS (including many, many adult
males) were enjoyed at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park along the jetty
on January 23! Aside from the many NJ Audubon field trips to this
location, the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is hosting a special day
called HARBOR SEALS & HARLEQUINS on Saturday, March 11, from 10
a.m. to 3 p.m., to include guided wildlife watching walks,
opportunities to climb the lighthouse, and activities for all ages.
For more information, call 609-494-2016.
An AFRICAN GREY PARROT, named Freddie, was lost on January 15 on
Brigantine Island. The owner is offering a $1,000 reward. If you see
this bird dead or alive, call 609-266-9044.
Preliminary results from the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey, held on
January 14-15, include: 95 adult and 59 immature BALD EAGLES, and 1
GOLDEN EAGLE. Special thanks to the many volunteer observers. Well
DONE! 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, adding sticks its quite a show. The pair
at Beaver Swamp WMA, up Sluice Creek from the CMBO Center in Goshen,
has been very entertaining. Almost daily one of the adults flies
right over CMBO on its way out to the marshes at Jakes Landing.
Nearly every visit to Beaver Swamp WMA, one adult is tucked hidden
down in the nest, but eventually gets up and flies about, which means
theyve not yet laid eggs. The nest at Maple Avenue Impoundments in
Dividing Creek blew down, probably in the high winds of January 15
(when wind gusted to 61 mph). Since then the adults have been seen
carrying large sticks, no doubt to build a new nest. Bald Eagles
normally lay eggs sometime in February or later.
CMBOs 3-Day Owl & Eagle Workshop on January 22 savored excellent
looks at a light ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and a distant GOLDEN EAGLE at
Amasas Landing (exit 50 on Parkway), and an adult GOLDEN EAGLE and an
adult BALD EAGLE over NJ Conservation Foundations new Franklin
Parker Preserve, visible from Rt. 563.
Pairs of RED-TAILED HAWKS are all courting now. Their courtship
displays are quite spectacular. RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS too are going
through their courtship displays. Over 100 were seen in the waters
from Longport and Somers Point on January 24.
Highlights from the January 22 Turkey Point Walk and afterwards in
nearby areas include: eagles, courting Red-tails, lots of landbirds
and waterfowl, a dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (Newport Landing), GREAT
HORNED OWL sunning during the day (also Newport Ldn.), 6 SNOW
BUNTINGS (at Fortescue), small flock of HORNED LARKS (Jones I. Road).
On January 21, a visit to the site of CMBOs Avalon Seawatch (the
jetty at 8th Street) dazzled observers with close looks (and listens
the whistle of 150+ scoters) at 100 SURF SCOTER, 50 BLACK SCOTER, a
female HARLEQUIN DUCK, 25 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 3 PURPLE SANDPIPER, 2
RUDDY TURNSTONES, 2 close COMMON LOONS, and several HORNED GREBE.
This winter smorgasbord drifted right up to observers on the jetty,
since the tide was just right for feasting on goodies attached to the
On January 24, around Cape May Point, a female REDHEAD and lots of
GADWALL (Lily Lake), WILSONS SNIPE (State Park), stunning adult male
DICKCISSEL in with a flock of HOUSE SPARROWS (at the north end of
Lily Lake) were all enjoyed. 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
On January 9, a MOURNING CLOAK was seen at Higbee Beach WMA, and on
January 12 a RED ADMIRAL was seen in Del Haven off Norburys Landing
Road. 2 RED-BELLIED TURTLES were basking on a log at Daveys Lake at
Higbee Beach on January 24. Also on January 24, a large LOCUST /
GRASSHOPPER flushed along Sunset Boulevard near the old Magnesite Plant.
AMERICAN HOLLY berries still adorn trees, so AMERICAN ROBINS have not
eaten every last one.
See Life Paulagics will be running an inshore boat trip Sunday, Feb.
12 departing at 8:00 a.m. from Belmar on the Suzie Girl and a 12-hour
pelagic out of Cape May Sunday, March 5. For information on these
trips contact their website http://www.paulagics.com or call 215-234-6805.
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
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:
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!