Cape May Natural History Hotline - 1/6/2005

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 6. For bird news call the Cape May Birding Hotline at (609) 898-2473. NJ Audubon's three hotline can be read in full on our website (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (at the top of any page).

Wishing you all a Bird & Butterfly filled NEW YEAR!

Believe it or not, SPRING PEEPERS are calling as I write this hotline! They've been "peeping" on warm days, despite having had some frigid winter weather earlier. Also out of hibernation, 5 RED BATS were hunting on January 3 at dusk. A HARBOR SEAL was grappling with a 10 pound Striped Bass and trying to eat it in Hereford Inlet (south of Stone Harbor) on December 25. Another HARBOR SEAL was seen January 2 way up the Delaware Bay and way up a tidal creek in Cumberland County at Husted Landing Road. RIVER OTTER tracks have been seen at the Cape May Point State Park this week and their scat was found in the Fortescue Glades in Cumberland County during the Cumberland County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on January 2. Otter scat is very distinctive: gray and full of tiny fish scales and bones. Their scat is often discovered, though secretive Otters are not. COYOTES were yipping and howling at 2:30 a.m. in Bear Swamp in Cumberland County, heard by owlers during the Cumberland Co. CBC.

Enjoy winter birding around Cape May Point every Saturday on CMBO's "Birding Cape May Point" walk; meets 8 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. There's a lot around! A big movement of sea ducks occurred along the New Jersey coastline, December 31-January 2. Zillions could be found on January 5 around the jetties in Strathmere and probably elsewhere. 5 COMMON EIDER were at the Alexander Avenue jetty in Cape May Point on January 2. 3 HARLEQUIN DUCKS (2 males & 1 female) were enjoyed at the Poverty Beach pilings at the north end of Cape May City on January 4. 5 RAZORBILLS were seen from 2nd Avenue Jetty in Cape May City on January 5.

GREAT HORNED OWLS were seen mating (by moonlight) at Turkey Point on January 2. They, being our earliest nesting bird, will lay their eggs late this month. SHORT-EARED OWLS have been thick at Corbin City WMA and 1 or 2 can be found at Jakes Landing. The Belleplain CBC on December 26 discovered 2 LONG-EARED OWLS and 1 SAW-WHET OWL in Belleplain State Forest. Learn how to spot owls and learn all about them by joining Pat Sutton for the"All About Owls Workshop & Field Trip" offered 1-5:30 p.m. on January 19 and again on January 27. Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register!

BALD EAGLES (NJ's second earliest nesting bird) are courting and working on their nests now. One day earlier this week 2 adults were seen near Camden carrying twigs and huge sticks all day long up to a brand new nest they were building. The pair just north of CMBO's Center in Goshen was at their Beaver Swamp WMA nest on the back side of the impoundment on December 28, sitting side-by-side! If you should see Bald Eagle courtship and nest building activity at a new nest site, contact Larissa Smith of the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program (609-628-2103). Many, many BALD EAGLES and a sub-adult GOLDEN EAGLE were seen during the Cumberland Co. CBC on January 2, by almost all parties involved. They were literally everywhere along that stretch of the Delaware Bayshore! Join Pat Sutton for the popular "Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore" Saturday, January 29 (9 -5:30). A December 28 outing along the Great Egg Harbor River tallied 10 BALD EAGLES (7 adults) and 2 GOLDEN EAGLES (1 adult and 1 sub-adult). One of the best vantage points was Corbin City WMA. 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.). To register for either trip, call 609-861-0700, x-11.

Wintering E. BLUEBIRDS are moving around now from one tall grass meadow to the next. So, if you have a backyard habitat meadow, you might just attract a wintering flock. On January 2, during the Cumberland Co. CBC, a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was actually singing, something we rarely hear in South Jersey!

Has anyone seen a RUFFED GROUSE in South Jersey since 1996? That was the last year CMBO offered it's popular "Ruffed Grouse A'Drumming" field trip. An active naturalist shared a South Jersey sighting from mid-December of a bird that flew out of the woods along Rt. 55 south of Rt. 322 / Glassboro. Any other sightings? Let Pat Sutton know at CMBO (609-861-0700, x-16). Hopefully they're making a recovery.

CMBO's 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are set. Registrations are being taken now. To receive the workshop brochure call 609-861-0700 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

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 (2-4 p.m.), "Birding Skills for Beginners" meets at the raised Wildlife Viewing Platform at the Cape May Point State Park. . A host of other walks begin January 23 and are posted on New Jersey Audubon's web site at http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

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 Opening Reception at CMBO Center in Goshen - Sun., Jan. 30 (2-4) . LONGTAILS IN LOVE with Pat Sutton - Saturday, February 12 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) . BIRDING FROM THE FERRY with Mark Garland - Sunday, February 20 (7-11 a.m.) . OPTICS WORKSHOP at CMBO Northwood Center - Sunday, February 20 (1-3 p.m.) . WINTER AT TWO MILE BEACH with Mark Garland - Sunday, February 27 (1-4:30 p.m.) . 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 a.m.-4 p.m.) . BIRDING FROM THE FERRY with Mark Garland - Saturday, March 26 (7-11 a.m.) . CMBO's 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 Audubon's website: http://www.njaudubon.org

The current Art Exhibit at the CMBO Center in Goshen (Closed until January 2; then open DAILY 9-4:30) features local wildlife artists and should not be missed - great gift ideas. It flows through the classroom, continues up the stairs and into the loft. This center will be closed December 24 through January 1.

New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center in Cape May Point and Rancocas Nature Center in Mount Holly are accepting donations for Tri State Bird Rescue to help their rehabilitation efforts of oiled birds in response to the worst oil spill to hit the Delaware River since 1995. Species affected include waterfowl, herons, and gulls. Many more birds in need of rehabilitation are anticipated in the days and weeks ahead. You can help in the care of these birds by donating the following items: newspapers, flat bed sheets, bath towels, and "soft sided" (not wooden slatted) playpens. Currently, they have an ample supply of paper towels, Ensure and Pedialyte. Donated items can be dropped off at the Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center in Cape May Point or at Rancocas Nature Center in Mount Holly during regular hours. Please note that the Cape May Bird Observatory's Northwood Center will be closed for the holidays on December 24 through January 1. The Center will reopen on Sunday, January 2. Donations will be accepted until further notice. Or you can make a donation of money or items directly to Tri State Bird Rescue, 110 Possum Hollow Road, Newark DE 19711 (302-737-9543). Tri State Bird Rescue has a new temporary facility in West Deptford, NJ. Call Tri State Bird Rescue to see about dropping off donated items there.

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 Centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site at 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!

<< 12/23/2004   1/12/2005 >>