CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, December 16, 2004 UPDATE
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 16. 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).
Because of its importance we have placed this announcement at the beginning
of the hotline. Tri-State Bird Rescue will offer "OILED WILDLIFE TRAINING
SEMINARS" for volunteers that want to assist in the care of the oiled
animals at Tri-State's new Thorofare, NJ, facility.
The training will be held Monday (20 December) or Tuesday (21 December) in
West Deptford, NJ, from 7 - 9 PM each night. This is a 2-hour classroom
session (no oil, no birds, no mess!) at the Best Western Hotel at Exit 20 on
I-295. For directions, see the map at http://www.westdeptfordinn.com
Volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age, in good health, with a
current tetanus inoculation and have the ability to donate several shifts
over the next month. Volunteers must attend a 2-hour classroom session and
then a 2-hour hands-on session in the facility to meet the approved safety
training requirements. The new cleaning facility in Thorofare opened
December 16 and is accepting 10-20 birds per day.
Volunteer shifts are typically 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., and 6 p.m.
- close (although if you can only work for part of a shift, you won't be
turned away). Besides cleaning birds, there are volunteer opportunities in
areas such as office help, answering phones, moving equipment, etc.
There is a limit of 50 volunteers for each session and pre-registration is
required. If you meet these requirements and can attend a training session,
please register by calling: Phil Broder, Director of Education, The Wetlands
Institute at: 609-368-1211, extension 19, during business hours. (9:30 -
Go to the end of this Hotline for additional ANNOUNCEMENTS regarding the
terrible oil spill in the Delaware River
The Avalon Seawatch will continue until December 22 with Bob Fogg, our
primary counter, and Cameron Cox (on Bob's days off). They have recorded
over 571,000 seabirds since September 22. RAZORBILLS have been stealing the
show at the Seawatch since the first one was seen November 23, and have been
almost daily since December 3. As of December 13, 51 have been recorded.
This season's high count to date is 13 Razorbills (December 12), which ties
the all-time season total high in 1993. 8 were seen on December 13 and 7 on
December 11. The best time of day to see the Razorbills has been the first
few hours after sunrise. Numbers of RED-THROATED LOONS, N. GANNET,
LONG-TAILED DUCKS, all 3 SCOTERS, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, and BONAPARTE'S
GULL are being enjoyed each day along with a wonderful assortment of other
seabirds. 44 COMMON EIDER so far, including 2 (Dec. 9), 2 (Dec. 6), 3 (Dec.
4). HARLEQUIN DUCKS this
week: 2 (Dec. 9), 1 (Dec. 4). Late PARASITIC JAEGERS this week: 1 on both
Dec. 13 & 10. BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE: 3 on December 6. 20 PURPLE SANDPIPERS
frequent the jetty in front of the Avalon Seawatch and a nice sized flock of
LONG-TAILED DUCKS are regular entertainers in the waters right in front of
the Seawatch. Visit the Avalon Seawatch any day from sunrise to sunset - the
location is along the seawall at the junction of First Avenue and Seventh
Street in Avalon. Take exit 13 east from the Garden State Parkway and, upon
entering Avalon, make the third left onto First Avenue. Drive to the end.
HARLEQUIN DUCKS (and PURPLE SANDPIPERS) are regulars through the winter at
the Barnegat Light Jetty. They have been back at this favorite wintering
spot of theirs for some time. Treat yourself on a sunny and windless day. On
December 13, 1,000 N. GANNETS were plunge diving just off the beachfront at
The backbay waters behind Stone Harbor and Avalon are packed with BRANT,
this being their major wintering ground. On a still day listen for their
A SNOWY OWL continues to be seen at either the north end of Brigantine
Island or the southern most end of Long Beach Island at Holgate in the
dunes. Most recent reports have come from Holgate. This bird is likely to
winter here if not disturbed. Please do not disturb the bird by getting too
close; observe from a safe distance with a scope. It is looking like a very
good winter for SHORT-EARED OWLS. Numbers have been enjoyed at Corbin City
WMA (as many as 10) and at Motts Creek (just north of Leeds Point). They are
also being seen along the Delaware Bayshore at places like East Point
(including one up briefly during the day on December 14) in Cumberland
County and Jakes Landing in Cape May County. The best time to search for
Short-eared Owls is at dusk, anytime from 3:30 p.m. on until full dark (@ 5
p.m). GREAT HORNED OWLS are calling at dusk and dawn (6:30 a.m.) and are
calling from the woods where they'll be laying eggs in a nest at the end of
January. Learn how to spot owls and learn all about them by joining Pat
Sutton during one of the upcoming "All About Owls Workshop & Field Trips"
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 Cape May Birding Workshops and be drawn
to Cape May again and again by the great selection of other
2005 workshops go to:
It is easy to spot large stick nests in the winter woods now. These nests,
built by Red-tailed Hawks last spring, are likely sites for nesting Great
Horned Owls in late January. Put off any woodland explorations on foot in
the coming weeks due to Deer Season (except on Sundays, when there is no
hunting). In Cape May County and parts of Cumberland County Shotgun Season
runs from December 15-17 and Muzzle loading Season (December 13, 14, 18-24,
27-31, and January 1-7, 2005).
Those of you keen on owls might want to make this the winter you travel to
witness an amazing incursion of northern owls. Many 100s of GREAT GRAY OWLS
and N. HAWK OWLS are being seen in the Duluth, MN, area and reported on the
Duluth Rare Bird Alerts.
Many, many BALD EAGLES winter in southern New Jersey. Numbers are already
being seen. On December 10, 9 immatures were roosting in Bear Swamp in
Cumberland County, while 8 were enjoyed hunting the marshes at nearby Turkey
Point (including 4 adults and 4 immatures). An immature BALD EAGLE flew over
the CMBO Center in Goshen on December 11. 7 BALD EAGLES (4 adults) were
tallied along the Great Egg Harbor River on December 13. 2 GOLDEN EAGLES
were seen December 13, an adult at Corbin City WMA and an immature at
English Creek Landing. 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS (one dark and one light morph)
were seen December 13 at Corbin City WMA.
A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (light morph) was at Moore's Beach on December 14.
Join Pat Sutton and other enthusiastic CMBO naturalists for the popular
"Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore" on Saturday, January 29, 9 a.m. to
5:30 p.m. To register, call 609-861-0700, x-11.
1,000s of AMERICAN ROBINS are here this winter. Female American Holly trees
are full of beautiful fruits, a favorite food of wintering robins.
Marauding flocks of STARLINGS are descending on Red Cedar trees and
stripping them of their fruits.
CMBO's "Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch" 2004 FINAL TOTALS and the peak flight
(total and date) for each species can be viewed on NJ Audubon's web site:
Backyard feeding stations are enjoying AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. PINE SISKINS,
PURPLE FINCH, and FOX SPARROWS. No Butterfly or dragonfly reports came in
this week, but the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts may change all that as
hundreds of observers are in the field.
CMBO's 2004 Autumn Monarch Monitoring Project ended 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 (OPEN
DAILY: 1-4:30 PM). Plant them next spring and enjoy this annual milkweed
with its constant blooms all summer, right up until frost. The tender leaves
of this milkweed are especially attractive to egg-laying Monarchs. Stop by
while they last! Great gifts for anyone with a garden.
Enjoy winter birds by joining a CMBO weekly walk with local experts :
(1) Fridays, December 17, "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
and (2) Wednesdays (through December 29), "Birding Cape May Point" meets at
7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State
Park. A host of new walks begin January 8 and are posted on New Jersey
Audubon's web site at http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html
South Jersey's 3 Christmas Bird Counts are coming up: all on Sundays.
Dates and contacts follow. When leaving a phone message with count
organizers be sure to also leave your e-mail address. Cape May CBC, Sunday,
December 19; contact Louise Zemaitis at 609-898-9578 or . Belleplain CBC, Sunday, December 26; contact Paul Kosten at
609-861-5827 or . Cumberland County CBC, Sunday,
January 2; contact Clay & Pat Sutton at 609-465-3397 or
CMBO offers a number of very special programs and field trips, with limited
attendance that require preregistration (609-861-0700, x-11). In addition to
those already mentioned, others include:
Waterfowl Art Exhibit Opening Reception at CMBO Center in Goshen - Sun.,
Jan. 30 (2-4 p.m.) "Longtails in Love" with Pat Sutton - Saturday, February
12 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) "Tuckahoe & Corbin City WMA" with Pat Sutton & Karen
Johnson - Sat., February 19 (2-6 p.m.) "Birding From the Ferry" with Mark
Garland - Sunday, February 20 (7-11 a.m.) "Optics Workshop" at CMBO
Northwood Center - Sunday, February 20 (1-3 p.m.) "Winter at Two Mile Beach"
with Mark Garland - Sunday, February 27 (1-4:30 p.m.) "Cape May NWR" with
Pat Sutton - Saturday, March 5 (1-4 p.m.) "Woodcock Dance" with Pat Sutton -
Saturday, March 5 (5-7 p.m.) "Birding Cumberland" with Pat & Clay Sutton -
Saturday, March 12 (9
"Birding From the Ferry" with Mark Garland - Saturday, March 26 (7-11 a.m.)
CMBO's "10th Annual Optics Sale" for CMBO or NJ Audubon members ONLY (become
a member today to take advantage of the great deals!) - Saturday & Sunday,
March 19-20 (9-4:30 p.m.)
The current Art Exhibit at the CMBO Center in Goshen (open DAILY 9-4:30)
features local wildlife artists and should not be missed - great gift ideas.
It flows through the classroom, continues up the stairs and into the loft.
This center will be closed December 24 through January 1.
ANNOUNCEMENT -- Regarding the terrible oil spill in the Delaware River
-- if you want to help out, there are many opportunities both in NJ and
other affected states; for a start, see http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org
New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory and Rancocas Nature
Center are accepting donations for Tri State Bird Rescue to help their
rehabilitation efforts of oiled birds in response to the worst oil spill to
hit the Delaware River since 1995. Species affected include waterfowl,
herons, and gulls. Many more birds in need of rehabilitation are anticipated
in the days and weeks ahead. You can help in the care of these birds by
donating the following items: paper towels, cotton swabs (Q-tips), flat bed
sheets, bath towels, Ensure (plain vanilla only) and Pedialyte (plain only).
Donated items can be dropped off at either center during regular hours. See
our website for more details:
http://www.njaudubon.org Or you can make a donation of money or items directly to
Tri State Bird Rescue, 110 Possum Hollow Road, Newark DE 19711
If you see any oiled Bald Eagles in NJ, please let Larissa Smith (NJ
Endangered & Nongame Species Program) know at 609-628-2103. If you see any
badly oiled birds you can report them to the USFWS hotline 215-365-2689.
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
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!