You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a
service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This
update was made on Thursday, October 17. 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
The Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research & Education in Goshen
(600 Route 47 North) is hosting an exhibit of David Sibley's early works
(THE ART OF DAVID SIBLEY, JOURNEYMAN BIRDER) through November 17th.
Stop by any day between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The exhibit is made up
entirely of pieces from private collections and includes some of David's
early field guide plates.
The TREE SWALLOW show is reaching a crescendo. 10,000+ are involved and
at dusk they fill the horizon and all at once spiral down into marshes
near the Point in a mighty vortex.
A sizable flock of BLACK SKIMMERS has gathered on Cape May's beaches and
is often seen near 2nd Avenue Jetty.
Since October 11 (and through today, Oct. 17) the PARASITIC JAEGER show
in the Cape May "rips" (where the ocean meets the bay) continues. One
of the best vantage points has been the raised picnic pavilion at the
Cape May Point State Park. Look for the jaegers as they chase gulls and
terns to steal their food.
CMBO's first Night Watch on October 16 enjoyed migrating Great Blue
Herons, night herons, American Bittern, Common Snipe, Common Nighthawk,
the amazing Tree Swallow "show," and several late hunting Merlins. The
October 21 "Night Watch for Migrating Bats, Owls, and Herons," 5:30-7:30
p.m., still has room & the full moon that night should make for quite a
show if the skies are clear!
Last week's big butterfly news, 2 QUEENS and 1 SOLDIER, met with lots of
feedback. There has been evidence of intentional releases of farmed
butterflies elsewhere and this could very well be the case here in South
Jersey. We've just learned of a MIMIC that was photographed in a garden
in the Villas in September; this butterfly is even a rare stray to
Florida, much less New Jersey.
It continues to be good for southern vagrants: CLOUDLESS SULPHUR (dozens
daily everywhere), VARIEGATED FRITILLARY (10/11 at Higbee Beach),
LONG-TAILED SKIPPER (10/13 at Pavilion Circle Garden in Cape May Point),
FIERY SKIPPERS (10+ on 10/17 at Pavilion Circle Gardens), SACHEMS (5+ on
10/17 at Pavilion Circle Gardens). Also seen this week: Cabbage Whites,
Orange Sulphurs, White M Hairstreak, Mourning Cloak, American Ladies,
Red Admiral, #s Common Buckeye. Hotspots include butterfly bushes in
and around Pavilion Circle Gardens in Cape May Point and in the parking
lot at Higbee Beach, and the Cape May Bird Observatory's gardens in
Goshen. Be sure to also check the Heath Asters (in full bloom) at
Higbee Beach & Hidden Valley.
On October 17, following the rainy northeaster when the skies cleared
and winds switched to the north and northwest many MONARCHS arrived at
Cape May Point. CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project will continue to
monitor Monarchs till the end of October, but so far their migration
through Cape May this fall has been below average. To learn more about
this project go to NJ Audubon's web site:
(http://www.njaudubon.org/Research) and click on "Monarch Monitoring
Project." Results of this fall's daily road census results are at the
end (click on "2002 Road Census").
CMBO's Avalon Seawatch began September 22. Please welcome seabird
counter Karl Bardon and seawatch interpretive naturalist Tricia
Rodriguez the next time you are there. 95,800 seabirds have been
tallied as of October 15th, with some mega, mega flights this past week
(19,900 on Oct. 15; 13,600 on Oct. 14, and 12,500 on Oct. 12). The bulk
of the flight is Double-crested Cormorant (12,000 on 10/12), Surf Scoter
(9,650 on 10/15) and Black Scoter (1,300 on 10/9). Common Loons are
daily (71 on 10/15) with some Red-throated Loons mixed in (26 on
10/15). N. Gannets numbers are growing (229 on 10/11). There have been
11 Great Cormorant so far mixed in, so be alert. Snow Geese & Brant are
on the move. The season's first Long-tailed Duck (1) and Red-breasted
Merganser (8) were seen October 15. 115 Parasitic Jaegers have been
seen so far with a high of 12 this week on October 12. Learn your
seabirds by attending CMBO's "Seabird ID Mini-Workshop,"taught at the
Avalon Seawatch, on Saturday, October 18, from 10 a.m. to Noon.
CMBO's Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch began September 1st with hawk counter
Jason Guerard and our two hawkwatch interpretive naturalists Denny
Ariola and Michael Retter. Between September 1st and the October 16th
21,500 raptors have been counted. Today's coldfront (Oct. 17) is not
doubt producing the next big flight following a rainy Northeaster, but
numbers won't be available for this hotline. Remember, coldfronts are
the key. Time your visit & outings to coincide with coldfronts, winds
from the north & northwest.
Begin your Cape May weekend by attending CMBO's final Friday evening
"Open House" on October 18, from 7-8:30 p.m. at our Center for Research
& Education in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 N.). The night begins with an update
on the past week's migration and predictions for the weekend, and is
followed by the program. Pat & Clay Sutton will share, "25 Seasons at
the Point," an informal slide collage of sites, people, and projects
over time, including historical shots of some of your favorite birding
sites . . . the meadows w/cows, the beanery w/machinery, the Magnasite
Plant in full operation, and more.
"Back Bay Birding By Boat" trips (every Sunday & Monday, 10 a.m. to 1
p.m.) get you out into the normally inaccessible waters behind the
barrier islands, rich hotspots for shorebirds, rails, hunting hawks,
herons and egrets, and more.
The late season songbirds are IN -- Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers,
both kinglets, Brown Creepers and more! CMBO walks have been very
birdy; be sure to attend one or all of these bird walks to witness
migration unfolding. "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" at 5:00 p.m. every
Friday evening and "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's
Island" at 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday evening. "Birding with Pete Dunne"
(every Monday), "Birding Cape May Point" (every Wednesday), "Hidden
Valley Bird Walk"(every Thursday), and "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm"
(Saturday, Oct. 19) are all from 7:30-9:30 a.m. "Higbee Beach Bird
Walk" (Sunday, Oct. 20) is from 7-9 a.m. Two one-hour introductory
programs include: "The Nature of Cape May" (Sunday, Oct. 20) from 2-3
p.m. and "Enjoying Migration at Cape May" (Every Wednesday) from
10:30-11:30 a.m. Join Mark Garland for the specially arranged outing to
a variety of "Migration Hotspots" on October 19, from 7:30 a.m.-12:30
SEASIDE GOLDENROD's golden-yellow blooms are spectacular in the dunes
and natural gardens. GROUNDSEL-TREE is also blooming. The white shrubs
are female and the showiest. Female RED CEDAR trees are blue with
berries. POISON IVY berries are formed & the leaves are turning
To receive a copy of CMBO's program schedule with full details about
these walks and upcoming programs, stop by either CMBO Center, or call
609-861-0700, or visit New Jersey Audubon's web site at
http://www.njaudubon.org (click on "Calendar," then on "Cape May Bird
Hummingbird sightings are very scarce now; Ruby-throats have all
migrated through. Leave your feeders up, though, since NOW is when
rarities from the west show up. Black-chinned, Calliope, Rufous, and
Allen's Hummingbird have all been seen in Cape May County. Stop by CMBO
to see our full selection of easy-to-maintain feeders and to get CMBO's
handout on hummingbird feeder directions and maintenance. Coupling a
feeder with habitat and gardens is the key. Stroll through the CMBO
gardens (still in full bloom in early October) to get ideas for your own
CMBO still has room on upcoming 4-5 Day Classic Workshops focused
Raptors (Oct. 20-24) and Owls (Jan. 17-27). NJ Audubon's 56th Annual
Cape May Autumn Weekend / The Bird Show is October 25-27, 3 full days of
workshops, field trips, programs, boat trips, & more. Many celebrities
will be part of the event. Call, write, or stop by CMBO for brochures
on each or visit NJ Audubon's web site.
The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and education unit of the
New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and preserve the
ornithological and natural history significance of Cape May. Your
membership supports these goals and this Cape May Natural History &
Events Hotline (updated Thursday evening).
Our two centers are CMBO's Center for Research & Education at 600 Route
47 North in Goshen and CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in
Cape May Point. Both are open DAILY, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more
information call 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL
Patricia Sutton, Program Director
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)