Cape May Natural History Hotline - 11/5/2004

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 4. 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 is awesome right now. 80,000 seabirds migrated by on October 28, including 70,000 scoters or sea ducks. LONG-TAILED DUCKS and BUFFLEHEADS arrived in small numbers on October 28, along with a few HORNED GREBE. RED-THROATED LOONS, COMMON LOONS, and N. GANNET have come through in big numbers over the past four days (since October 31). November 2nd's flight included 20,000 scoter (including the first 40 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER), 800+ N. Gannet, 300+ Red-throated Loons, and 100+ Common Loons. Seawatch totals to date for key species follow: 75,000 SURF SCOTER, 77,000 BLACK SCOTER, 130,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, and 3,000 GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Stop by the Avalon Seawatch (at the north end of Avalon, 7 th Street and the beach) any day or join CMBO Saturday, November 6 (at 2:00 p.m.), for the "Seabird ID Mini-Workshop," at the Avalon Seawatch. 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).

Close to 30,000 raptors have been counted since September 1 at CMBO's "Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch." 9 GOSHAWKS have been seen since the first one came through on October 17, including one observed by 100s at the Autumn Weekend banding demo on October 31 and 3 seen on October 28. November's cold fronts brought nice buteo and eagle flights. 74 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 2 GOLDEN EAGLES, and 2 BALD EAGLES passed over on November 1. 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 are here from Yellowstone National Park on their annual pilgrimage to run the Cape May Owl Banding Project. They time their stay with the peak of the owl migration. Their first night was October 26 and they'll be here till about November 19. To date they've banded 3 species of migrant owl: LONG-EARED (4), SAW-WHET (24), and BARN OWL (1). The nights with gentle north and northwest winds are best. 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). A BARRED OWL has been seen several times in the last week near the CMBO Northwood Center. This year-round resident owl could be settling in as a resident in Cape May Point. The nearest breeding pair lives in the wet woods stretching between Hidden Valley and the Rea Farm. GREAT HORNED OWLS, another year-round resident, are vocal now as they declare where they plan to nest. Consider joining Pat Sutton for one of the "All About Owls Workshop & Field Trip" offered November 6 and again on December 4, from Noon to 5 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 a number of opportunities: (1) Pat Sutton leads a "Cape May NWR Field Trip" to the Delaware Bay Division on Sunday, November 7 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and (2) Mark Garland leads a "Cape Henlopen and Broadkill Marsh" field trip in Delaware on December 4 (9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.

The fall's first TUNDRA SWANS passed over November 2! If you're out in the evening, listen for them as they migrate over. A magical late fall flight came one day after the Cape May Autumn Weekend when a cold front passed and winds came out of the north. On November 1, 100,000 AMERICAN ROBINS, 700 PURPLE FINCH, and 100s of E. BLUEBIRD passed over. The mournful call of Bluebirds was heard everywhere.

BOTTLENOSED DOLPHIN were still being seen October 29-31 during the Cape May Autumn Weekend. It's getting quite late for them. The warm unseasonably warm weather October 29-31 also triggered calling SPRING PEEPERS and a sunning SOUTHERN GRAY TREE FROG!

Butterflies have slowed down to a trickle, but not disappeared. In fact sunny weather and still-flowering gardens on November 2 and 3, found CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, COMMON BUCKEYES, RED ADMIRAL, AMERICAN LADIES, a few MONARCHS, a FIERY SKIPPER, and numbers of SACHEMS.

CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project ended October 31 with the lowest numbers in the history of this full-time project. 3,000-4,000 MONARCHS were tagged this fall (final numbers to come on next week's hotline). Go to NJ Audubon's website (http://www.njaudubon.org), click on "Research," then click on "Monarch Monitoring Project" for more information. 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.

Several late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were discovered this week, each attracted to feeders and gardens -- one at Barnegat Light and one in a Cape May Point garden. Too, now is the time vagrant hummingbirds from the west may appear. Be sure to continue to clean out and maintain your feeders weekly. If you should see a hummingbird, be sure to give CMBO a call.

South Jersey's beautiful fall colors lasted through the Cape May Autumn Weekend. But the November 1 cold front blew many of the leaves off the trees and the landscape has a winter look now.

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 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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