CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, February 11, 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 Friday, February 11. For bird news call the Cape May
Birding Hotline at (609) 898-2473. NJ Audubon's three hotlines can be read
in full on our website (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (at
the top of any page). The CMBO Center in Goshen is again open seven
days/week. So both centers are now open daily 9-4:30.
When the ground was frozen birds struggled to survive. On February 3, in
Port Republic, a flock of E. BLUEBIRDS came to an outdoor display of cut
vegetation and proceeded to feast on Winged Sumac seed heads. In Goshen, a
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER has been feeding on suet and sunflower hearts.
Temperatures in the 40s and low 50s this week finally opened up waterways
and thawed frozen ground. On February 5th there was a spring-like dawn
chorus of N. CARDINALS, MOURNING DOVES, and CAROLINA WRENS. More and more
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were singing "konk-a-ree"
this week. Morning Doves were doing their display flight. GREAT CORMORANTS
are in breeding plumage, showing their full white flank patch, including one
in Townsend's Inlet north of Avalon on February 6.
It's a neat time of year, winter and spring overlapping. A SEAL was on
Alexander Avenue Jetty in Cape May Point February 8. And a RED FOX on
February 9 hid behind a Muskrat house at Brigantine NWR, near feeding ducks.
Some pairs of GREAT HORNED OWLS have been on nests since late January.
Other pairs have not yet laid eggs, including one pair at Turkey Point,
spotted at dusk during the Cumberland Co. Winter Raptor Festival on February
5. While 100s watched they mated. Once the eggs are laid one adult will
remain on the nest at all times incubating the eggs.
All of New Jersey's breeding BALD EAGLES are paired up and defending their
nesting territory. A few pairs have laid eggs in the last week.
Other pairs are still working on nests, displaying for each other, and
mating. The pair is back at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice Creek from
CMBO's Center in Goshen. Last year this pair failed (which is not unusual
the first year). Pat Sutton is the official volunteer nest observer at
Beaver Swamp WMA. Please report any sightings of this pair to her at
On February 5, an EASTERN PHOEBE and a flock of 30 AMERICAN PIPITS were
enjoyed during Mark Garland's "Winter at the Rea Farm" walk. This walk is
held every Saturdays (2-4 p.m.) and meets in the Rea Farm parking lot on
At least 7 BALD EAGLES (including a pair mating), a GOLDEN EAGLE, dozens of
RED-TAILED HAWKS (including a pair mating), 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS (1 dark & 1
light), numbers of GREAT BLUE HERONS, COMMON and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS,
and the pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS mentioned above were enjoyed at Turkey
Point and the Maple Avenue Impoundments on February 5.
To really learn and enjoy this area be sure to attend CMBO's "Sunday Morning
at Turkey Point" walk, held every Sundays (8-10 a.m.). This walk meets at
the end of Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County (reached from Rt. 553
south of the town of Dividing Creek). "Nightfall at Jakes Landing," held
every Sunday (4 p.m. to dusk), is another excellent opportunity to enjoy
diurnal and nocturnal raptors! This walk meets at the end of Jakes Landing
Road, north of Dennisville.
RED-THROATED LOONS stage here each winter and early spring, gathering at the
mouth of the Delaware Bay, their numbers growing day by day. 60 were counted
there on February 8. The March 16 "Cruisin' for Loons" trip
(12:30-5 p.m.) is timed to drink this in plus COMMON LOONS in full breeding
plumage (just before they migrate north). Call 609-861-0700,
x-11 to register.
Winter is the best time of year to study waterfowl. There were many SURF
SCOTER and LONG-TAILED DUCKS at the Avalon Seawatch on February 5;
RED-NECKED GREBES, CANVASBACK, and COMMON LOON in Sunset Lake in Wildwood
Crest on February 8; an immature male KING EIDER and increasing numbers of
all 3 SCOTERS (including very vocal BLACK SCOTER) off Brainard Avenue in
Cape May Point on February 10. Perfect timing for two upcoming trips: (1)
CMBO's "Longtails in Love" field trip with Pat Sutton on Saturday, February
12 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) - there's still room - call 609-861-0700, x-11 to
register, or meet the group at 10 a.m. at the Avalon Sea Watch (7th Street
and the beach), and (2) a "poor man's pelagic" with Mark Garland on February
20 called "Birding From the Ferry" (7 to 11 a.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11
The impoundments at the Corbin City and Tuckahoe WMAs are also excellent for
waterfowl. Bald and Golden Eagles and Short-eared Owls have been regular
there this winter. Learn these interesting areas by joining Pat Sutton &
Karen Johnson for the "Tuckahoe & Corbin City WMA Field Trip,"
Saturday, February 19 (2-6 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register for
one or all of these upcoming trips! CMBO's Waterfowl Art Exhibit is on
display at CMBO Center in Goshen. Stop by and be dazzled!
CMBO's 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are set. Registrations are being
taken now. To receive the workshop brochure call 609-861-0700 or go to:
Enjoy winter birds by attending upcoming CMBO programs:
Weekly walks (no advanced registration, $6 members, $10 for others):
. Fridays, beginning February 18 (4:30 p.m. to dusk), "Winter Evenings at
the Meadows" meets at 4:30 p.m. in TNC's parking lot on Sunset Boulevard.
. Saturdays (8-10 a.m.), "Birding Cape May Point" meets at 8 a.m. in the
"South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.
. Saturdays (2-4 p.m.), "Winter at the Rea Farm" with Mark Garland meets at
2 p.m. in the Rea Farm parking lot on Bayshore Road.
. Sundays (8-10 a.m.), "Sunday Morning at Turkey Point" meets at 8 a.m.
at the end of Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County (reached from Rt.
553 south of the town of Dividing Creek).
. Sundays (4 p.m. to dusk), "Nightfall at Jakes Landing" meets at the end of
Jakes Landing Road, near Dennisville.
. Sunday, February 20 (2 to 4 p.m.), "Birding Skills for Beginners"
meets at the Wildlife Viewing Platform in the Cape May Point State Park.
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already mentioned
follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to register):
. 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 Field Trip 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.)
Many other programs are scheduled for 2005; contact either CMBO Center for a
copy of the Kestrel Express, which features the schedule, or go to NJ
Audubon's website: http://www.njaudubon.org
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
the Winter or Spring Program Schedules (the Kestrel Express), stop at either
CMBO Center, 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 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!