CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY & EVENTS HOTLINE - February 16, 2006
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, February 16. New Jersey 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).
LONG-TAILED DUCKS are in love! On February 14, Valentine's Day, they were
calling and males were wooing females at the 8th Street Jetty at the north
end of Avalon. This location has been excellent for waterbirds. On February
9 "point blank" COMMON LOONS were feeding in the waters by this jetty and
PURPLE SANDPIPERS on the jetty. An added bonus for the observer was a very
close RAZORBILL on February 9 feeding next to the jetty. So, check it out,
enjoy, and remember that anything is possible.
Spring waterfowl migration is definitely underway. The impoundments at Maple
Street near Dividing Creek in Cumberland County were loaded on February 13.
Those at Tuckahoe WMA and the Corbin City Unit of Tuckahoe are also very
exciting these days. These concentrations are great places to witness
GREAT HORNED OWLS, our earliest nesting bird, are on their nests now.
Their young are due to hatch at the end of February or in early March. BALD
EAGLES, our second earliest nesting bird, have also begun to nest. As of
today, February 16, eleven pairs in NJ are incubating eggs - the first pair
laid eggs on January 31 (others may not lay until late February). 34-36 days
later the young will hatch.
Incubating adults are now very hard to see low in the nest. But once the
young hatch and begin to grow, all that will change. The pair of Bald Eagles
at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice Creek from CMBO's Center in Goshen, is
incubating eggs and has been since at least February 9. This nest can easily
be viewed from the road end at Beaver Swamp WMA or the dike crossing the
impoundment. Be sure to bring your telescope for the best view! RED-TAILED
HAWKS continue to court. Pairs doing aerial performances have been filling
the skies on good flying days, including several pairs seen from the back
deck at the CMBO Center in Goshen.
Highlights from some of CMBO's weekly winter walks (requiring no
preregistration) follow. (1) Every Sunday (8-10 a.m.), "Sunday Morning at
Turkey Point" meets at the end of Turkey Point Road. 17 BALD EAGLES and 1
GOLDEN EAGLE were seen in this area on February 13.
(2) Every other Sunday (Feb 19, March 5, 19), "Nightfall at Jakes Landing"
meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road at 4:30 p.m. in February and at 5
p.m. in March, (3) Every other Sunday (Feb. 26, March 12, 26), "Nightfall at
Corbin City Impoundments" meets on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the
Corbin City Hall parking lot at
5 p.m. A dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, an immature GOLDEN EAGLE, and two hunting
SHORT-EARED OWLS put on a show in the snowy landscape on February 12. (4)
Every Saturday (8-10 a.m.) "Birding Cape May Point"
meets at the Cape May Point State Park on the raised Picnic Pavilion.
(5) Every Friday (4:30-dusk), "Winter Evenings at The Meadows" meets in
TNC's parking lot on Sunset Boulevard. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen here on
February 11. For details on each walk as well as CMBO's many preregistration
programs go to: http://www.njaudubon.org Calendar/calcmbo.html
Avian conjunctivitis has come to Cape May Court House. On February 8, one
resident observed both House Finches and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH with it. The
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website (http://www.cornell.edu) shares precautions to
take so that it does not spread further.
During warm evenings AMERICAN WOODCOCK may display. Listen for the males'
"peenting" followed by their aerial courtship flight. If you've never
witnessed this incredible display, join Pat Sutton at CMBO's "Woodcock
Dance," March 4 (5-7 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or
Explore the "Cape May NWR's Great Cedar Swamp Division" on Saturday, March 4
(Noon to 3:30 p.m.) with Pat Sutton and Refuge staff. Learn how to access
this incredible Refuge and enjoy wild and remote parts of Cape May County
you didn't know existed. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to
Explore the "Two Mile Beach Unit of the Cape May NWR" on Wednesday, March 8
(9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) with Associate Naturalist George Myers and Refuge staff.
Between the beach and jetty and the maritime dune forest, anything is
possible, including Harlequin Duck, Common Eider, Snow Bunting, anything!
Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register.
CMBO's Annual Optics Sale will be Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19. A "Poor
Man's Pelagic" is scheduled for March 19 (7 to 11 a.m.) utilizing the Cape
May Lewes Ferry. "Birding Cumberland - with a focus on the eagle-rich
Cohansey River" is scheduled for Sunday, March 19 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Both
still have room! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to
The fields and trails were cut at Hidden Valley and at Higbee Beach either
in late December or early January. Hip Hip Hurrah! No more getting torn up
by Multiflora Rose, and maybe BLUEBIRDS and BOBOLINKS will be back in these
fields this spring.
As part of CMBO's 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops Michael O'Brien will teach
a "2-Day Birding by Ear Workshop," Thursday and Friday, May 4-5, 2006. This
workshop will lead right into a "2-Day Warbler Workshop" with Louise
Zemaitis and Michael O'Brien on Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7. Both of these
workshops still have room, but tend to fill fast. To register for either,
call 609-861-0700, x-11. To learn more about these workshops or the 12 other
"2006 Cape May Birding Workshops" go to:
Aside from the many NJ Audubon field trips to this location, the Barnegat
Lighthouse State Park is hosting a special day called "HARBOR SEALS &
HARLEQUINS" on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to include guided
wildlife watching walks, opportunities to climb the lighthouse, and
activities for all ages. For more information, call 609-494-2016.
See Life Paulagics' annual Cape May pelagic trip (run for over 20 years now)
will be on Sunday, March 5. Target species will be:
Fulmar, Great Skua, Kittiwake, Red Phalarope, Razorbill, Common Murre,
Dovekie, Atlantic Puffin, jaegers, Gannets, Kittiwake, Glaucous & Iceland
Gulls, Little & Bonaparte's Gulls, whales, dolphins, and anything else they
come across. All of the target species have been seen on this trip in the
past, including 2 very rare Northern Right Whales. This trip will run from
6:00 AM to about 6:00 PM, aboard the Miss Chris II, docked at the Miss Chris
marina in Cape May. For more information or to make a reservation, contact
See Life Paulagics at http://www.paulagics.com; 215-234-6805, or info AT
CMBO's bookstore hours follow: the Northwood Center in Cape May Point is
open Thursday-Monday, 9-4:30. The Center for Research and Education on Route
47 in Goshen is open daily (7 days a week) from 9-4:30.
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
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!
New Jersey Audubon Society's
Cape May Bird Observatory
Center for Research & Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609-861-0700, x-16 (phone) / 609-861-1651 (fax) pat.sutton AT njaudubon.org