CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, December 3, 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 Friday, December 3. 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).
ANNOUNCEMENT -- Regarding the terrible oil spill in the Delaware River
and an earlier call for volunteers, Kathy Clark of the NJ DEP writes
that the call for birders to work on oil-spill surveys has had a great
response and she needs no additional volunteers at this time. Thanks to
all who responded. If you want to help out, there are many other
opportunities both in NJ and other affected states; for a start, see
Tri State Bird Rescue is handling all the oiled birds. They need paper
towels, Q-Tips, flat sheets, bath towels, Ensure (Vanilla only) and
Pediolite (plain only). If people would like to drop off any of these
items at the Cape May Bird Observatory's Northwood Center in Cape May
Point (701 E. Lake Drive -- open every day from 9 AM to 4:30 PM), CMBO
will take items to Tri State. Or you can make a donation of money or
items directly to Tri State Bird Rescue, 110 Possum Hollow Road, Newark
DE 19711 (302-737-9543).
The Avalon Seawatch continues to dazzle. Over 525,000 seabirds have
been recorded since September 22, with the season's peak flight of
80,700 birds on October 28th. Big numbers are still moving. 10,247
birds were recorded November 27, including 3,801 RED-THROATED LOONS,
the season's 35th COMMON EIDER, 44 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, 168
BONAPARTE'S GULLS, and quite a few season highs: 2,091 N. GANNETS, 930
BRANT, 49 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and 4 RAZORBILLS. WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
numbers have picked up. 20 PURPLE SANDPIPERS frequent the jetty in
front of the Avalon Seawatch and 4 or more LONG-TAILED DUCKS are
regulars in the waters right in front of the Seawatch. Visit the
Avalon Seawatch any day through December 22nd any time 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.
CMBO's "Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch" ended November 30 with a grand total
of 31,774 (September 1- November 30). November 29 a nice flight of 169
raptors was tallied including 5 BALD EAGLES and 3 GOSHAWKS. Even
though the Hawkwatch has officially ended, raptors will continue to
migrate through early December with each coldfront. Go to NJ Audubon's
website to view 2004's FINAL TOTALS and the peak flight (total and
date) for each species:
Winter raptor haunts are fun to visit now, looking for N. HARRIER,
RED-TAILS, ROUGH-LEGS, BALD EAGLES, and SHORT-EARED OWLS. SHORT-EARED
OWLS (1-3) have been reported from Jakes Landing (since 11/26), Corbin
City WMA (since 11/28), and Tuckahoe WMA (since 11/29). Keep an eye
open for SNOWY OWLS, expected by Thanksgiving -- the first one in NJ
was seen November 30 at the north end of Brigantine.
Katy Duffy & Patrick Matheny ended their Cape May Owl Banding Project
November 17 with a total of 111 owls (99 N. SAW-WHET OWLS, 11
LONG-EARED OWLS, and 1 BARN OWL). Just like diurnal hawks, nocturnal
owls will continue to migrate into early December with each coldfront.
Some have undoubtedly settled into winter haunts already near CMBO's
Center in Goshen in the midst of NJ's Delaware Bayshore. A road-killed
SAW-WHET OWL was found November 9 on Avalon Boulevard. Be sure to
check for leg bands if you find a road-killed owl.
Trees have been stripped of their leaves, making it easier to look
through the woods for large stick nests, built by Red-tailed Hawks last
spring and coveted now by Great Horned Owls looking for suitable nest
sites to use in January. GREAT HORNED OWLS have been vocal at dawn and
dusk near potential nest sites. Put off any woodland explorations on
foot in the coming weeks due to Deer Season. In Cape May County and
parts of Cumberland County Firearm Season runs from December 6-11,
followed by Shotgun Season from December 15-17 and Muzzleloading Season
(December 13, 14, 18-24, 27-31, and January 1-7, 2005). SUNDAYS are
SAFE all over New Jersey; there is NO HUNTING on SUNDAYS.
Learn how to spot owls and all about them by joining Pat Sutton during
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 Cape May Birding Workshops and be drawn
to Cape May again and again by the great selection of other 2005
workshops go to:
Backyard feeding stations have filled up with lots of AMERICAN
GOLDFINCH. PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCH are mixed in. FOX SPARROWS
have joined WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS in backyard feeding stations.
AMERICAN ROBINS are feasting on American Holly berries (a good crop, so
the robins will probably be here all winter).
Cold snaps have quieted most of the butterflies and dragonflies, but a
few can still be found. December 2, YELLOW-LEGGED MEADOWHAWKS
(dragonflies) were in sheltered, sunny spots in the field at Jakes
Landing Road. At the Rea Farm on November 29 a MOURNING CLOAK drifted
over the old railroad tracks and will undoubtedly hibernate in one of
the hollow railroad ties or nearby hollow trees. An ORANGE SULPHUR was
on the field edge along with several large, illusive dragonflies,
probably GREEN DARNERS.
RATTLESNAKE PLANTAIN (an orchid) is easy to spot this time of year.
The rosette of green checkered leaves stands out on the forest floor.
The shiny evergreen leaves of WINTERGREEN are another forest floor
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 early winter bird and late migrants by joining a CMBO weekly walk
with local experts : (1) Fridays (through 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, (2) Saturdays
(through December 11), "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), and (3) Wednesdays (through December 15),
"Birding Cape May Point" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter"
raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.
South Jersey's 3 Christmas Bird Counts are 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. Belleplain CBC, Sunday,
December 26; contact Paul Kosten at 609-861-5827. Cumberland County
CBC, Sunday, January 2; contact Clay & Pat Sutton at 609-465-3397 or
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!