Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline -- December 1, 2005
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, December 1. New
Jersey Audubon's three hotlines can be read in full on our website
(http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (top of any page).
Christmas Bird Counts are coming up. Dates and organizers follow: (1)
Cape May CBC will be on Sunday, December 18; contact Louise Zemaitis
to participate (609) 898-9578 or swallowtailstudio at comcast.net.
(2) Belleplain CBC will be on Wednesday, December 28; contact Paul
Kosten to participate (609) 861-5827 or floraff at algorithms.com.
(3) Cumberland County CBC will be on Sunday, January 1; contact Pat &
Clay Sutton to participate (609) 465-3397 or patclaysutton at
ALERT: HUNTING SEASON is underway. In Cape May County the six-day
firearm season runs from December 5-10. Permit shotgun season runs
from December 14-16. Permit muzzle loader season runs from Dec. 12,
13, 17-31, and January 2-6, 2006. In New Jersey there is no hunting
on Sundays. Hunting is closed at Higbee Beach from September 1
through December 12, but open to Woodcock hunting there between
Our fall programs are winding down, but our winter programs have lots
of opportunities to get out and learn. For details on the many CMBO
programs go to:
The Avalon Seawatch is having a terrific season and still going
strong! As of November 29, 788,747 seabirds have been tallied.
Thousands upon thousands of birds are going by daily: 6,000 on 11/29,
13,200 on 11/28, 29,400 on 11/27, 31,000 on 11/26, 12,700 on 11/25.
The biggest flight of the fall at the seawatch to date was 71,436
seabirds occurred on 11/9. To date 33,500 RED-THROATED LOONS have
passed (7,350 on 11/26, 4,100 on 11/27, 2,300 on 11/28, 1,470 on
11/29). To date 85,623 N. GANNETS have passed with huge numbers daily
so far in November (1,850 on 11/25, 3,500 on 11/26, 4,100 on 11/27,
2,170 on 11/28, and 1,040 on 11/29). GREAT CORMORANTS are daily (9 on
11/25, 3 on 11/26, 4 on 11/27, and 1 on 11/29). To date 171,735
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS have passed (peak flight of 16,382 on
10/28). To date 10,118 GREEN-WINGED TEAL have passed (peak flight of
2,445 on 11/9). To date 78 COMMON EIDER (peak flight of 43 on 11/28).
To date 384,605 scoters; on 11/27 the flight included 12,424 BLACK
SCOTER, 4,872 SURF SCOTER, 100 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER. To date 80
PARASITIC JAEGERS (1 on 11/28, 2 on 11/20, 2 on 11/18). To date 6
RAZORBILLS (1 each on 11/26, 11/27, 11,28, and 2 on 11/29). To date 8
HARLEQUIN DUCKS (1 each on 11/26, 11/24, 11/23, 11/15, 11/14, 11/9,
11/7). To date 3 RED-NECKED GREBE (2 on 11/27, 1 on 11/29). To date 2
ICELAND GULLS (11/20 and 11/15). To date 1 POMARINE JAEGER on 11/15,
1 LITTLE GULL on 9/24, 2 KING EIDERS (11/26 and 11/14), 1 GREATER
WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on 10/15, 2 FRANKLINS GULLS on 11/8, and 1
PACIFIC LOON on 11/16. To date thereve been 2,014 COMMON LOONS, 72
HORNED GREBE, 538 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 1,861 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS,
BONAPARTES GULLS are daily . . . And the show goes on. The Avalon
Seawatch ROCKS! Due to construction of a new seawall the Avalon
Seawatch at the north end of Avalon has been juggeling between the
road end at 7th Street (if construction is quiet) to the jetty or
beach at 8th Street (if construciton at 7th Street is disruptive).
Cape May Harbor has attracted RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, LONG-TAILED
DUCKS, and BUFFLEHEADS.
The CAPE MAY HAWKWATCH came to a close on November 30. A total of
41,283 raptors were tallied this fall. The final week was relatively
quiet, weather-wise and bird-wise. But winds today, after the
official count ended, probably created a late season hawk flight.
This weeks flights included 10 BALD EAGLES, 5 N. GOSHAWKS (2 on
11/30, 1 each on 11/27, 11/26, 11/24), close to 100 RED-SHOULDERS (66
on 11/25, 14 on 11/26), 129 REDTAILS on 11/25, no Rough-legs or
Golden Eagles, a final MERLIN on 11/25, and a final PEREGRINE on
11/28. The season ended with 2,446 OSPREY, 262 BALD EAGLES, 1,219
OSPREY, 15,305 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 5,829 COOPERS HAWKS (a new
record), 23 N. GOSHAWK, 699 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, 580 BROAD-WINGED
HAWKS, 3 SWAINSONS HAWKS, 2,327 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 1 ROUGH-LEGGED
HAWK, 12 GOLDEN EAGLES, 6,163 AMERICAN KESTREL, 1,775 MERLIN, and
4 OSPREY were still along the Tuckahoe River on November 17. A WHITE
PELICAN was soaring over Jeffers Landing on the Great Egg Harbor
River on November 17.
The Cape May Owl Banding Project banded over 100 SAW-WHET OWLS and 9
LONG-EARED OWLS this fall, between @ October 27 and November 19. A
road-killed SAW-WHET OWL was found November 23 on the Garden State
Parkway. SHORT-EARED OWLS are frequenting some of their favorite
winter haunts. 1 was at Jakes Landing on November 27 between 4:30 and
CMBO has 3 All About Owls: Workshop & Field Trip scheduled: (1) on
Saturdays, December 3 (Noon to 5 p.m.), (2) Saturday, January 7
(1-5:30 p.m.), (3) Saturday, January 28 (1-5:30 p.m) They all still
have room. The 3-Day Owl and Eagle Workshop (January 21-23, 2006)
with Pat & Clay Sutton and Ward Dasey still has room and is held at
the peak time of year to see owls and eagles (when many winter here).
For full details on this and CMBOs other Cape May Birding Workshops,
To register or learn more information call 609-861-0700, x-11.
Close to 400 RED KNOT were on the beach in Avalon on November 14,
between 32nd and 38th Streets, along with 2,500 DUNLIN and about 30
PURPLE FINCHES and PINE SISKINS have been fairly regular at backyard
bird feeders. FOX SPARROWS are IN.
HUMMINGBIRD sightings are scarce now. But this is when rare western
hummingbirds often show up. So, if you havent taken your feeder
down, continue to clean and maintain it right through December. And
call us if you have a hummingbird.
It was an incredible fall for MONARCHS. The Avalon Seawatch tallied
4,472 this fall with peak flights of 2,011 on September 27 and 1,538
on October 1. Monarchs were still being seen at the Seawatch in early
November with the last sighting of 2 on November 20. A Monarch
emerged in a garden in Tuckahoe on November 13. To learn of the
history of the Monarch migration through Cape May go to:
http://www.njaudubon.org then click on Research and then on Monarch
Any warm spell may still entertain with butterflies. A LONG-TAILED
SKIPPER was in CMBOs Gardens in Goshen on November 6, nectaring on
Butterfly Bushes. On November 30, a COMMON GREEN DARNER, YELLOW-
LEGGED MEADOWHAWK, E. COMMA, and ORANGE SULPHUR were seen in Salem
County at the Natural Lands Trusts Burden Hill, while a Questionmark
was seen at Bivalve in Cumberland County. A CLOUDLESS SULPHUR was
seen in Goshen on November 14.
Heavy RIVER OTTER sign was seen November 12 in the Cape May NWR on
the Schellenger Farm track, including multiple slides, fresh scat
full of fish bones and scales, and tracks in the marsh at low tide
right along the dike into Green Creek marsh. A RIVER OTTER was
swimming in Lily Lake on October 27, quite content as it caught and
feasted on fish.
COYOTES are regularly heard, and sometimes seen, along New England
Road. Locals think there are between 14 and 22 individuals.
The Capes fall colors were dazzling November 16. But rain and wind
blew leaves from the trees and by November 18 the landscape was
wintery. Frosts between November 23-26 did in the last of the late
blooming flowers: Pineapple Sage, Tropical Salvia, and a few
Butterfly Bush flowers.
CMBOs bookstore hours are as follows: Northwood Center in Cape May
Point will be open Thursday through Monday, 9-4:30 (CLOSED: Tuesday
and Wednesday). The Center for Research and Education on Route 47 in
Goshen is open 7 days a week, 9-4:30. Both Centers will be closed the
week between Christmas and New Years, from December 24 - January 1.
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. All
are detailed in the Kestrel Express. To receive a copy of the Winter
Kestrel Express (December through February) stop at either CMBO
Center, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go
to New Jersey Audubon's web site:
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 Cape May, 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!