Those in the know have kept their hummingbird feeders up and maintained
(cleaned and refilled each week) and ALLEN'S, RUFOUS, and RUBY-THROATED
HUMMINGBIRDS have all been seen recently, in "Backyard Habitats," I
might add! The RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD continues in Ro and Larry
Wilson's backyard habitat on Bayshore Road north of the Rea Farm. An
immature male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, in a private yard in Villas with no
public access, has been here since November 11. An ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD
(positively identified on November 22 when it was banded) at 1012 Cape
May Avenue in Cape May City arrived November 15 and was last seen the
morning of November 24.
CMBO's "Birding Cumberland" field trip, Sunday, November 30 (9 a.m. to 4
p.m.), has 2 openings a/o 11/26. The trip is led by Clay Sutton, author
of "Birding Cumberland," Pat Sutton, and Steve Eisenhauer, Preserve
Manager of the Natural Lands Trust's Glades Wildlife Refuge, totaling
5,500 acres. On Pete Dunne's morning stroll at Turkey Point on November
23 he briefly watched a large owl hunting (probably a Long-eared Owl),
had LAPLAND LONGSPUR, SNOW BUNTING, and flyover PINE SISKIN and PURPLE
FINCH. Join CMBO for "Birding Cumberland" and learn of some wild and
bird-y off-the-beaten path areas! Call CMBO, 609-861-0700, x-11, to
register for "Birding Cumberland" while spaces are still available.
November 23, Andy Wraithmell, CMBO's Official Counter at the Avalon
Seawatch, wrote: awesome day today. 43 COMMON EIDERS!!!! including
flocks of 13 and 12. Several adult males as well. A nice 1st yr male
KING EIDER (4th of the season). 282 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, including
Andy's second largest flock ever in his many years of seawatching -- 26
birds; Andy's biggest flock was at Dungeness in Wales in May (32 birds).
A nice RAZORBILL (2nd of the season) flew by with a bunch of scoters.
All in all, November 23rd was another great day at the Avalon Seawatch.
As Andy puts it, Avalon Rocks and delivers!!! CMBO's Avalon Seawatch
(7th street and the beach in Avalon), sponsored by Nikon Sports Optics,
began September 22 and continues until December 22! As of November 23,
an astounding 791,285 seabirds have been counted there! The amazing
eider flights (22 on 11/22) mentioned by Andy have added up to a record
breaking 139 COMMON EIDER for the season so far (as of November 23) and
the Seawatch still has a month to go! RED-THROATED LOONS continue to
pour through with many thousands each day (5,200 on 11/23, 3,500 on
11/22). COMMON LOONS: 3-58/day. Big numbers of N. GANNETS (3,300 on
11/20, 1,350 on 11/22). 600-1,700 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT daily, with
a few GREAT CORMORANT (3 on 11/22, 1 on 11/23) mixed in. 5 BROWN
PELICANS migrated by November 25. 13 HARLEQUIN DUCKS have been seen so
far with the last one on 11/18. LONG-TAILED DUCKS: 11-45/day.
Thousands of scoters daily (9,000 BLACK, 5,100 SURF, 282 WHITE-WINGED
SCOTERS on 11/23). Hundreds of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS (665 on 11/23,
311 on 11/22, 415 on 11/20). PARASITIC JAEGERS daily (10 on 11/19 &
11/20, 3 on 11/21, 2 on 11/23). BONAPARTE'S GULLS moving now (180 on
11/19, 510 on 11/20). The flights at the Avalon Seawatch are so
fascinating because they're so diverse. Daily flights also include
HORNED GREBE, SNOW GEESE, BRANT, WOOD DUCKS (11 on 11/21), AMERICAN
BLACK DUCK (90 on 11/23), N. PINTAIL (22 on 11/20), GREEN-WINGED TEAL
(25 on 11/23), RING-NECKED DUCK (19 on 11/22), GREATER SCAUP (158 on
11/23), LESSER SCAUP (32 on 11/23), COMMON GOLDENEYE (3 on 11/23),
BUFFLEHEAD (6 on 11/23), and hundreds of gulls and terns (141
RING-BILLED GULLS on 11/23, 800 FORSTER'S TERNS on 11/20).
The back bay waters behind the Wildwoods, Stone Harbor, and Avalon are
full of thousands upon thousands of BRANT. Listen for their lovely
crooning to one another. At the north end of Long Beach Island the
jetty at Barnegat Light State Park attracts a flock of HARLEQUIN DUCKS
each late fall and winter. The first two arrived November 16. Later in
the week 3 were seen there.
Enjoy the great variety of waterfowl migrating by the Avalon Seawatch
and elsewhere. Also consider signing up for CMBO's popular "Waterfowl
Cruise," aboard the Skimmer, Saturday, November 29 (11 a.m.-3:00 p.m.);
9 spaces left a/o November 26. This cruise explores back bay waters
north to Stone Harbor to see thousands of water birds, including
mergansers, loons, scaup, Horned Grebe, Bufflehead, Long-tailed Ducks,
N. Harrier, Great Cormorant, shorebirds (and it's looking like the
LONG-BILLED CURLEW and the flock of 9 MARBLED GODWIT is possible, seen
11/24), and most of the Atlantic Coast population of Brant. "Birding
From the Ferry" with Mark Garland on Saturday, December 13 (7:00-11:00
a.m.) is one more special way to drink in seabirds like N. Gannet and
waterfowl. Call CMBO, 609-861-0700, x-11, to register now for either of
these trips while spaces are still available.
LONG-EARED OWLS were seen this week at the Cape May Point State Park (2
on November 21 and 2 on November 25). The dense Red Cedars along the
park trails are perfect for daytime roosting owls that either migrated
in the night before or are lingering before continuing their migration.
If you should spot an owl on the trails, it could linger there all day
for others to enjoy if observers are careful not to leave the trail and
disturb the birds. Most of the sightings this week were of birds that
flushed just as observers spotted them. So, step quietly and give owls
a wide berth. A large owl hunted the Turkey Point marsh in Cumberland
County, November 26, probably a LONG-EARED OWL. A SHORT-EARED OWL was
in "The Meadows" November 21. Katy Duffy and Patrick Matheny ran the
fall Cape May Owl Banding Project (late October through @ November 18)
and banded 73 N. SAW-WHET OWLS, 3 LONG-EARED OWLS. The owl migration
will continue through mid-December. If you're keen on owls, be sure to
sign up for the "All About Owls: Workshop & Field Trip" with Pat Sutton,
offered Sunday, December 7 (12:30-5:00 p.m.). Everyone in the know
realizes that to really guarantee owls, 3-4 days of field time is the
key, since many different sites need to be visited and weather can't
always be predicted. For that reason, CMBO once again will offer its
popular "4-day Workshop for Owls, Hawks, & Eagles" (January 23-26,
2004) with Pat and Clay Sutton and Ward Dasey, Saw-whet, Long-eared,
Barn, Short-eared, Barred, Great Horned, and Screech Owl are all enjoyed
most years during this workshop and quite often Snowy Owl too. Call
609-861-0700, x-11, to register for these owl workshop offerings. GREAT
HORNED OWLS are calling softly at dawn and dusk. They are our earliest
nesting bird and will lay egg by late January.
CMBO's Cape May Hawkwatch, sponsored by Swarovski Optik this fall, is
near the end of the season (September 1 through November 30, 2003).
Hawkwatchers Jason Guerard and Bob Diebold are nearing 45,000 but some
lovely migration weather this past week has not produced expected big
flights . . . so we'll see. . The season's total so far is 44,738 as
of November 24. Highlights this week include: late OSPREY (11/21 &
11/24), 50 N. HARRIER on 11/22, 103 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS on 11/22, 17
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS on 11/22, a late BROAD-WINGED HAWK on 11/21, 39
RED-TAILED HAWKS on 11/22, a sprinkling of AMERICAN KESTREL (8 on
11/20), MERLIN (2 on 11/22), and PEREGRINES (2 on 11/20). Today,
November 26, mid-day Tom Reed watched an immature GOLDEN EAGLE hunt the
marsh at Reed's Beach and then fly north.
Another big wave of AMERICAN ROBINS (@ 20,000) an influx of FOX SPARROWS
(25) occurred on November 21. Numbers of SNOW BUNTINGS were seen at the
Cape May Point State Park beachfront that day and since at various
locations. CMBO's "Birding Cape May Point" walk this week (each
Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m.) enjoyed close looks at WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
and COMMON EIDER in the ocean waters. And along the State Park trails
FOX SPARROW, PURPLE FINCH, MARSH WREN, WINTER WREN, RED-BREASTED
NUTHATCH, and a lingering YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.
As of November 23, 8,621 MONARCHS have been counted at the Avalon
Seawatch this fall, including 1 individual this week, on November 23.
Other Monarchs were sighted this week at Hidden Valley (2 on 11/22) and
the Cape May Point State Park (1 on 11/23). Monarchs have just begun to
arrive in the winter roosts in the high altitude Oyamel Fir forests of
central Mexico. On November 16 they were still moving through northern
Mexico in large numbers. Two excellent web sites that share information
about the Monarch's fall migration include:
(1) Journey North's web site:
(2) Monarch Watch's web site:
Other butterflies seen this week include ORANGE SULPHURS, COMMON BUCKEYE
(20 on 11/24 at Stone Harbor, 2 at Hidden Valley on 11/21, 1 at the CMBO
Center in Goshen on 11/21), AMERICAN LADY (1 in Goshen on 11/23), and a
QUESTION MARK / E. COMMA (in Goshen on 11/23). A dozen YELLOW-LEGGED
MEADOWHAWKS were sunning, hunting, and mating along a sun-lit field edge
in Goshen on November 23. If you're keen to learn dragonflies, NEWS
FLASH: a GREAT ! ! ! new "Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of
Massachusetts," by Blair Nikula and 2 other authors, is now available
for sale at CMBO. It includes full color, larger than life photos of
160+ live (in the field shots of) dragonflies and damselflies known to
occur in Massachusetts (many of which also occur in NJ), plus excellent
natural history information! We have no excuses now with this book and
Blair Nikula and Jackie Sones' "Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies" in the
Stokes series (also EXCELLENT ! ! !).
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH are coming to backyard thistle feeders in good
numbers now after a lengthy absence. Look for PINE SISKINS mixed in.
Roving flocks of EUROPEAN STARLINGS are descending on RED CEDAR trees
and eating the berries. Many backyard feeders continue to pull in
It's the peak of rarity season and late fall migration and there are
still lots of ways to enjoy it. CMBO offerings include the following
walks that require no preregistration! EVERY WEDNESDAY through December
10: " Birding Cape May Point," 7:30-9:30 a.m. EVERY SATURDAY through
December 13: "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm," 7:30-9:30 a.m.
CMBO will next teach the "Nikon School of Birding" Friday, January 30,
through Sunday, February 1. This workshop is designed to help birders
of all experience levels build better birding skills. Call 609-861-0700
or stop by either center to request the Nikon School of Birding
brochure. There are many additional special programs being offered
this winter. Check out CMBO's WINTER Program Schedule. To receive a
copy stop at either of the two centers, or call the office during
business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site
where a full listing of CMBO's WINTER 2003 PROGRAMS (November, December,
January, February, and a few of the March programs) is posted at:
If you are in the market for a holiday gift to yourself or a special
friend, be sure to stop by either CMBO Center for ideas (though both
will be closed on Thanksgiving day, November 27).
Wishing you all a lovely Thanksgiving!
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. Natural history sightings can be written
on sighting sheets at either CMBO center or called in to 609-861-0700.
Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!
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)