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 Wednesday, October 9. 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.
HUMPBACK & FINBACK WHALES have been seen from local whale watching boats
out of Cape May. Up to 10 whales have been seen between Cape May and
Cape Henlopen in Delaware and the water temperature is still 72 degrees
The big butterfly news this week is the most unusual sighting of 2
QUEENS and 1 SOLDIER! A female Queen was seen October 4 in Cape May
Point, while a male Queen was seen October 5 in a backyard garden in
Linwood (southern Atlantic County), and a male Soldier was seen on
October 6 in the same Linwood garden. Photos of all 3 were obtained are
archived at the CMBO center in Goshen. It has been a quiet summer/fall
for hairstreaks, other than Gray Hairstreak, until this past week when
WHITE M HAIRSTREAKs were seen in Villas on October 5 and in Linwood on
October 6, and 4 RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS were seen in Villas on October
8. It's been a good fall for southern vagrants and still is.
LONG-TAILED SKIPPERS, FIERY SKIPPERS, SACHEMS, and OCOLA SKIPPERS are
all still being seen regularly at various butterfly hotspots like
Pavilion Circle Gardens in Cape May Point, the butterfly bushes in the
parking lot at Higbee Beach, and at the Cape May Bird Observatory's
gardens in Goshen.
MONARCH MIGRATION -- The forth push of Monarchs arrived on October 7th
with the coldfront & west-northwest winds. CMBO's Monarch Monitoring
Project crew counted 300 Monarchs at various evening roosts that night
in Cape May Point. Monarchs are moving south, heading to Oyamel fir
forests on mountaintops in central Mexico. Waves of Monarchs (& many
other migrants) are blown to the tip of the Cape May Peninsula (the
first southbound peninsula on the East Coast) by coldfronts (winds from
the north and northwest). If you truly want to see LOTS of Monarchs,
pay close attention to weather. CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project,
which September 1st and will run till the end of October, so far has
recorded lower numbers than average this fall. 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 Monarch Intern Janine McCabe will conduct "Monarch Tagging Demos"
Thursday through Monday at 1 p.m. through October 14. Other learning
opportunities with CMBO's experts that focus on butterflies, their
natural history, and ID include : (1) "Butterfly Walk at Cape May Point"
on Thursday at 1 p.m., (2) "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" on Sunday at 10
a.m. CMBO's Center in Goshen has a terrific assortment of hummingbird
and butterfly plants FOR SALE.
DRAGONFLY MIGRATION -- Hundreds of dragonflies were seen at dawn on
October 3 coming in off the ocean at Strathmere (mostly COMMON GREEN
DARNERS) and at dusk at Stone Harbor Point, also coming in off the
ocean. Species that are migrating through right now include: Swamp &
Green Darners, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Wandering and Spot-winged
Gliders, Black Saddlebags, and Carolina Saddlebags. CMBO's "Dragonfly
Workshop & Walk" on Saturday, October 12 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) still has
room; participants will receive the up-to-date, annotated dragonfly &
damselfly checklist to Cape May and Cumberland Counties by Ken Soltesz &
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. 36,000+ seabirds have been
tallied as of October 8th, with some mega flights this past week (6,400
on Oct. 5; 9,000 on Oct. 6, and 4,700 on Oct. 8). Loons are just
beginning. N. Gannets numbers are growing. Double-creasted Cormorants
are charging through, making up the bulk of the flights now. There have
been 3 Great Cormorant so far mixed in, so be alert. Snow Geese & Brant
have begun to move. Black Scoter numbers are growing (640 on October 8)
with Surf Scoter mixed in (194 on October 4). There've been 87
Parasitic Jaegers seen so far with a peak of 26 on October 2. Learn
your seabirds by attending CMBO's "Seabird ID Mini-Workshop,"taught at
the Avalon Seawatch, on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to Noon.
CMBO's Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch this week saw the PEREGRINE FALCON big
day flight of 291 on October 7, 1997 BROKEN by an even bigger flight on
October 5 with 298 birds! The 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
8th 19,300 raptors have been counted, including 1,000-1,500+ bird
flights with each coldfront (Oct. 5, 6, & 8). Totals to date: 1,800
OSPREY (155 on 10/5), 104 BALD EAGLE (9 on 10/8), 423 N. HARRIER, 8,460
SHARP-SHINS (976 on 10/8), 1,430 COOPER'S HAWK (182 on 10/8), 7
RED-SHOULDERS, 413 BROAD-WINGS (so the thousands on-the-move took a
different route this fall & missed us), 1 SWAINSON'S HAWK (10/1 & seen
again 10/6 at Higbee Beach), 13 RED-TAILS (they're just beginning), the
FIRST GOLDEN EAGLE of the fall (10/8), 4,760 AM. KESTREL (249 on 10/5),
950 MERLIN (65 on 10/6), 901 PEREGRINE (298 on 10/5, 135 on 10/4, and
127 on 10/7). Remember, coldfronts are the key. Time your visit &
outings to coincide with coldfronts, winds from the north & northwest.
And learn to ID hawks & eagles by attending CMBO's "Hawk ID
Mini-Workshop," taught on Friday & Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Begin your Cape May weekend by attending CMBO's Friday evening "Open
House" from 7-8:30 p.m. at our Center for Research & Education in Goshen
(600 Rt. 47 N.). Each open house begins by sharing the past week's
migration and predictions for the weekend, and is followed by a program
(October 11: Kevin Karlson, "Birds on the Wind: The Magic of
A mighty flock of BLACK SKIMMERS is staging on Cape May's beaches and is
often seen near 2nd Avenue Jetty.
MARBLED GODWITS, BROWN PELICANS, BRANT, many CASPIAN TERNS, AMERICAN
OYSTERCATCHERS, and a most amazing LONG-BILLED CURLEW were enjoyed this
past week in the waterways behind Stone Harbor Point. A perfect way to
get closer to this normally inaccessible watery world is CMBO's "Sunset
Cruise for Fall Migrants." The Saturday, October 12 (2-6 p.m.) trip
still has room. The boat cruises by active heron roosts, Clapper Rails,
thousands of shorebirds, good numbers and variety of terns and gulls,
Osprey & more. "Back Bay Birding By Boat" trips (every Sunday & Monday,
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) also get you out into this normally inaccessible
The late season songbirds are IN -- Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers,
both kinglets and more! CMBO walks have been very birdy; be sure to
attend one or all of these bird walks to witness migration unfolding.
"Songbird Banding Demos" offered every Friday & Saturday from 10-10:30
a.m., weather permitting. "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"
(every Saturday) are all from 7:30-9:30 a.m. "Higbee Beach Bird Walk"
(every Sunday) is from 7-9 a.m. Three one-hour introductory programs
this fall include: "The Nature of Cape May" (every Sunday) from 2-3
p.m.; "Enjoying Migration at Cape May" (every Wednesday) from
10:30-11:30 a.m; and "Birding for First Timers" (Every Thursday) from
1-2 p.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 p.m.
It's sparrow time. Get a jump start by signing up for CMBO's "Sparrows
Mini-Workshop" with Michael O'Brien on Saturday, October 12 (7:30 a.m.
to 12:30 p.m.).
If you're keen on migration that begins at dusk, sign up before Friday
for the October 16th "Night Watch for Migrating Bats, Owls, and Herons,"
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
brilliant colors. Learn to recognize beneficial native trees & shrubs
with Pat Sutton on CMBO's "Wildlife Food Plants: ID Workshop," an
outdoor workshop on Friday, October 11 (1-4 p.m.).
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). The 2-Day Bullet Workshop
on Raptors (Oct. 12-13) is full, but taking names on a waiting list.
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
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)