CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY & EVENTS HOTLINE - February 24, 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 Friday, February 24. 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).
WOODCOCK are in love and dancing! On February 23, at 6:15 p.m. during the
last bit of light, several males performed their wonderful aerial displays
over CMBO's Center in Goshen. Several were also displaying on February 22,
at 6:05 a.m., in Goshen when the temperatures were only 29 degrees F. So,
they're pumped. Now's the time no matter what the temperature! If you've
never witnessed this incredible display, join Pat Sutton for CMBO's
"Woodcock Dance," March 4 (5-7 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more
information or to register.
The Cape May NWR is again surveying for American Woodcock and would love
your help. The 4 evening surveys will be Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March
4 (5:15pm), and Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22: (7:15pm).
Volunteers will meet at the Refuge Headquarters Office at 24 Kimbles Beach
Road for brief instructions. Actual surveys will take approximately 30
minutes, total time commitment will be approximately 2 hours. Call Heidi at
(609) 463-0994 if interested.
Waterfowl are definitely on the move - their spring migration is underway
and numbers are growing. On February 16, at Bivalve and further north on the
Maurice River, 1,350 GREEN-WINGED TEAL were tallied. On February 15, 125
HOODED MERGANSERS were seen from "7 Bridges Road" in the Great Bay Boulevard
WMA. On February 21, Beaver Swamp WMA (just up Sluice Creek from the CMBO
Center in Goshen) hosted 20 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 4 WOOD DUCKS, 3 RING-NECKED
DUCKS, 1 COMMON GOLDENEYE, and lots of BLACK DUCKS. On February 21, the
Corbin City and Tuckahoe impoundments held 400+ GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 600 N.
PINTAIL, 90 HOODED MERGANSERS, 40 COMMON MERGANSERS, and 24 TUNDRA SWANS.
Join Karen Johnson and other leaders at Corbin City (or Tuckahoe, if that's
where the birds are) to savor these goodies and more, every other Sunday
(Feb. 26, March 12, 26), for the "Nightfall at Corbin City Impoundments" -
meets on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the Corbin City Hall parking lot
at 5 p.m.
SHORT-EARED OWLS are still here, but few reports are coming in. On February
19, between 4:50 and 5:50 p.m., 3 put on an incredible, close show at the
end of Leeds Point Road. GREAT HORNED OWLS have been silent, no doubt on
eggs, which may be hatching soon.
Many of NJ's breeding BALD EAGLES are on eggs or will be soon. The pair at
Beaver Swamp WMA, just north of CMBO's Center in Goshen, is incubating eggs
and has been since at least February 9. On February 21, the adults switched
seats, but not before mating. The male had been in a tree nearby. The female
left the nest, joined him, and after quickly mating, he (not she) returned
to take over incubation duty. At 8:44 a.m.
she headed out toward the Delaware Bay (and Jakes Landing area) to hunt,
despite the waters below the nest brimming with waterfowl. 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!
Spring is an amazing time. When it's time, it's time! Suddenly birds are
back, but we don't always see them arriving. On February 17, 9 BOAT-TAILED
GRACKLES were seen crossing the Delaware Bay, heading north.
On February 21, a TRICOLORED HERON and TREE SWALLOW were both seen at Two
Mile Landing. A din of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS filled the dawn on February 21,
as well as a few TUFTED TITMICE singing their "peter, peter, peter."
KILLDEER were displaying at Bivalve on February 16. Two BALTIMORE ORIOLES
continue to reside in a luscious backyard habitat in Erma (just south of Rio
Grande), feasting on orange slices. On February
17 they were beginning to show some bright orange coloration.
DAFFODILS are up about 6 inches and buds are forming. On warm days
overwintering butterflies have been seen. On February 16, when temperatures
rose to 60 degrees F., a MOURNING CLOAK was seen on Hansey Creek Road and an
E. COMMA along the Maurice River, in Cumberland County. When temperatures
plummeted again, they no doubt each went back to their sheltered nook. On
February 21, a SPOTTED TURTLE was sunning at the Corbin City impoundments.
CMBO's weekly winter walks (requiring no preregistration ), not already
mentioned, follow: (1) Every Friday (4:30 p.m.-dusk on Feb. 24, 5 p.m.-dusk
in March), "Winter Evenings at The Meadows" meets in TNC's parking lot on
Sunset Boulevard. (2) Every Saturday (8-10 a.m.) "Birding Cape May Point"
meets at the Cape May Point State Park on the raised Picnic Pavilion. (3)
Every Sunday (8-10 a.m.), "Sunday Morning at Turkey Point" meets at the end
of Turkey Point Road, a very eagle-y spot. (4) Every other Sunday (March 5,
19), "Nightfall at Jakes Landing" meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road at
5 p.m. For details on each walk as well as CMBO's many preregistration
programs go to:
** Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register for the
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. **
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! **
CMBO's 11th Annual Optics Sale will be Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19
(9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Brochures have been sent to members and can be
downloaded on NJ Audubon's website. This sale is open to members of NJ
Audubon and/or CMBO ONLY. If you are not a member, join today and take
advantage of fabulous deals!
A "Poor Man's Pelagic" is scheduled for Saturday, March 18 (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! **
Pete Dunne's next "2-Day Bird Watching for Beginners Course" will be offered
March 24-25. Friday evening's indoor session runs from 5-7 p.m, followed by
an outing Saturday morning (8 a.m. to noon). **
CMBO's Gardens in Goshen need to be prepared for spring. Join us for one of
the 6 "Garden Cleanup" sessions in March: (1) Thursdays, March 9, 16 (3-6:30
p.m.), (2) Fridays and Saturdays, March 10, 11, 24, 25 (9 a.m.
to noon). Dinner or lunch provided! Call with dates you'd like to help:
(609) 861-0700, x-11.
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. A February 21 trip our of Freeport, NY, had
Thick-billed Murre, 20 Common Murres, 20 Razorbills, a Puffin, 4 Iceland
Gulls, 12 Kittiwakes, and 1,675 Dovekies! The March 5 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 paulagics.com.
New Jersey Audubon Society is currently recruiting volunteer Grasslands
Monitoring Associates for its Citizen Science Program. Participants must
have prior experience in grassland bird identification and be able to visit
their assigned sites/routes approximately four times from May 1 through
August 15. These surveys are intended to determine the distribution and
abundance of grassland birds, and monitor the success of grassland habitat
management programs. Those interested in participating in the project should
contact Mike Bisignano, 11 Hardscrabble Road, PO Box 693, Bernardsville, NJ
07924, tel. (908)
766-5787 / fax (908) 766-7775, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Spring Kestrel Express (now
through May) 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!