Cape May Natural History Hotline - 11/11/2004

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, November 11 and will next be updated by Mark Garland @ November 20 or 21. 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).

The Avalon Seawatch continues to dazzle. Some days N. GANNETS are right in the surf or migrating close to shore. Wavy ribbons of sea ducks or scoters and cormorants pass day after day after day (44,600 scoters and 15,138 cormorants in just the past 6 days). A higher line of RED-THROATED LOONS pass by offshore. When you are next at the Seawatch scan all levels of the horizon to take in the pageant.

Waterfowl is IN at its usual haunts. 300 RUDDY DUCKS in a pond on Turkey Point Road and 100s of RING-NECKED DUCKS in a sand pond just outside of Mauricetown. To really get comfy with waterfowl, including the tricky females and eclipse plumaged males, consider signing up for CMBO's "2-day Waterfowl Workshop" with Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis (November 20-21); call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register! For a full write-up go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html Other waterfowl adventures include the CMBO sponsored "Back Bay Birding By Boat" tours aboard "The Skimmer," offered every Sunday in November (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Call Wildlife Unlimited to register for the "Back Bay" trips (609-884-3100).

30,000 raptors have been counted since September 1 at CMBO's "Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch." GOSHAWKS (10 on Nov. 9 and 4 on Nov. 10) have been putting on quite a show and have been easily seen by most visitors in the last few days. BALD EAGLES are daily with 193 seen so far this fall. 8 GOLDEN EAGLES (1 on Nov. 9 and 3 on Nov. 10) have been seen to date. Big buteo flights on November 9 and 10, with amazing numbers of RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS (153 on Nov. 9 and 74 on Nov. 10). Still high diversity with 14 species enjoyed this past week. Be sure to go to NJ Audubon's website each day to view the previous day's totals for the Cape May Hawkwatch, as well as the cumulative total and peak flight (total and date) for each species: http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/HWdailytotals.html

Katy Duffy & Patrick Matheny will be here through about November 19, running the Cape May Owl Banding Project. They began October 26 and since then (through November 9) they've banded 93 owls (1 BARN OWL, 9 LONG-EARED OWLS, and 83 SAW-WHET OWLS). The nights with gentle north and northwest winds have been the best: Nov. 1, 3, 8, & 9. Most evenings (unless it is raining), the owl research team offers a free short program about the research project. If an owl has been caught for banding, it will be brought to the program and released back into the wild for all to see. Check with the CMBO Northwood Center for information about the timing and dates of these programs (609-884-2736). On CMBO's November 6 "All About Owls Workshop" 15 participants scrutinized every Red Cedar tree at the beginning of the Red Trail in the Cape May Point State Park, walking back and forth as directed by instructor Pat Sutton. After 15 minutes of scrutiny a LONG-EARED OWL flew out of a tree right before our eyes. Talk about camouflage. None of us ever saw it, even though 15 sets of eyes looked up and down that tree, and the tree was not even dense. Consider joining Pat Sutton for one of the upcoming "All About Owls Workshop & Field Trips" offered December 4 (Noon to 5 p.m.), January 19 (1-5:30 p.m.), and January 27 (1-5:30 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register! CMBO's "4-day Owls & Eagles Workshop" (January 21-24, 2005) still has room. To learn more about this and other Cape May Birding Workshops go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html

Late fall is a great time to explore! And CMBO offers the following exceptional opportunity: Mark Garland leads a "Cape Henlopen and Broadkill Marsh" field trip to his favorite waterfowl areas in Delaware on December 4 (9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.

Backyard feeding stations have filled up with hundreds of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. Mixed in are nice numbers of PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCH. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS have settled into backyard feeding stations too and are busy singing their, "Oh Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody." WILD TURKEYS are flocking up. 61 were seen November 7 on Dragston Road in Cumberland County. 2 GREAT CORMORANTS continue to entertain on the Concrete Ship.

The sunny, warm days over the weekend of November 6 & 7 triggered some late butterfly and dragonfly watching, including: several CLOUDLESS SULPHUR, many ORANGE SULPHURS, several E. COMMA, several VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, numbers of COMMON BUCKEYES, AMERICAN LADY, PAINTED LADY, RED ADMIRAL, a late MONARCH, SACHEMS, clouds of dragonflies (in Cumberland County on Hansey Creek Road), and a pair of mating YELLOW-LEGGED MEADOWHAWKS at CMBO's Center in Goshen.

6 COYOTES were seen November 9 near Bayshore Road and New England Road, including 2 adults, 2 adolescents, and 2 young.

CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project ended October 31 with the lowest numbers in the history of this full-time project. We can all help the Monarch population by planting more Milkweed in our gardens. CMBO has Tropical Milkweed seed packets for sale at our Center in Goshen (609-861-0700 -- call to learn bookstore hours). Plant them next spring and enjoy this annual milkweed with its constant blooms all summer and right up until the frost. The tender leaves of the milkweed are especially attractive to egg-laying Monarchs. Stop by while they last! Great gifts for anyone with a garden.

Enjoy late fall migrants by joining one of CMBO weekly walks with local experts, including walks already mentioned and these additional walks : (1) Fridays (through November 19), "Late Fall Birding at Cape May" with Mark Garland, meets at 8:00 a.m. at the hawkwatch platform in Cape May Point State Park, (2) Saturdays (through November 27), "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot on Bayshore Road (not at the Rea Farm produce stand on Stevens Street), (3) Mondays (through November 15), "Mondays at The Meadows" meets at 7:30 a.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, and (4) every Wednesday, "Birding Cape May Point" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.

New Jersey Audubon Society needs volunteers to submit site nominations for the New Jersey Important Bird and Birding Areas Initiative. The NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection is integrating Important Bird Areas into the Landscape Project Mapping and its official Comprehensive Wildlife Plan. The Landscape Project is used by the NJDEP as the SOLE SOURCE of wildlife information for determining land acquisition priorities and management of state lands. Get involved in the NJ IBBA program: visit our website at http://www.njaudubon.org/conservation/IBBA or call 201-891-1240.

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 our Winter (December 2004 - February 2005) Program Schedule (the Kestrel Express), stop at one of our 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 around Cape May County, and also include reports from 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!

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