CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, February 3, 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 Thursday, February 3. 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 will be closed Saturday (February 5, when all
staff will be at the Cumberland Co. Winter Raptor Festival), and
Tuesday and Wednesday (February 8-9). CMBOs Northwood Center is open
Despite frozen waterways and temperatures and icy, snow-covered ground
there were signs of spring this week: Red-winged Blackbirds were
singing konk-a-ree and Morning Doves were cooing. Too, a GREAT
CORMORANT flew along the Delaware River showing off its full white
flank patch, only seen when theyre in full breeding plumage.
SCREECH OWLS are holed up in hollow trees or nest boxes right now
trying to stay warm. Steve Eisenhauer of the Natural Lands Trust was
cleaning out his boxes at the Fortescue Glades on January 28 and found
one with a sleeping Screech Owl laying face down in the box along with
an owl pellet and 3 dead, frozen mice next to it. Cached in a near-by
box was a dead mouse and a dead leopard frog. E. BLUEBIRDS have been
known to survive severe winter weather by all squeezing into one or
several nest compartments and using each others body heat to stay warm
through the night. On January 29, one was seen entering a Purple Martin
house at Beaver Dam in Cumberland County, perhaps to do just that.
AMERICAN WOODCOCK continue to be easily seen along road shoulders, the
only place they can find ground soft enough to probe for earthworms. 15
were seen January 31 around the circle at Cape May Point, while 12 were
seen January 30 along Sunset Boulevard. Backyard wildlife habitats,
bird feeders, and bird baths with heaters are hopping with activity.
With the frozen, snow covered ground birds have been unable to get to
wild foods. One backyard north of the CMBO Center in Goshen has
attracted dozens of feeding HERMIT THRUSH, 24 FOX SPARROWS, TREE and
CHIPPING SPARROWS, 19 PINE SISKINS, and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK. A WINTER
WREN is wintering at the Rea Farm (seen January 30). Join Mark Garland
every Saturdays (2-4 p.m.), for his Winter at the Rea Farm walk
(meets in the Rea Farm parking lot on Bayshore Road) to enjoy the
sheltered field edges for songbirds and hunting hawks.
The severe winter weather continues to move birds around. Jakes
Landing, quiet earlier this winter, now has a number of SHORT-EARED
OWLS hunting the marshes, 5 on January 31 along with a ROUGH-LEGGED
HAWK, many N. HARRIER, and a BALD EAGLE. 6 SHORT-EARS were there at
dusk on February 2, along with a perched GREAT HORNED OWL with 2 others
calling. Two excellent opportunities to enjoy raptors (owls, eagles, &
hawks) and other birds include CMBOs (1) Sunday Morning at Turkey
Point walk, held every Sundays (8-10 a.m.), meets at the end of Turkey
Point Road in Cumberland County (reached from Rt. 553 south of the town
of Dividing Creek), and (2) Nightfall at Jakes Landing, held every
Sunday (4 p.m. to dusk), meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road, north
On CMBOs Winter Raptors of the Delaware Bayshore trip on January 29,
21 BALD EAGLES were seen between CMBOs Center in Goshen and Sea Breeze
in Cumberland County. One high-soaring adult dropped out of the sky to
snag a foot long fish out of the Maurice River. This triggered a second
adult and an immature to try and steal it. Cumberland Countys Winter
Raptor Festival will be held this Saturday, February 5. CMBO staff and
volunteers will be manning 4 raptor-rich outdoor sites during this
festival. Call 856-453-2177 before Saturday to learn more or simply
come on February 5th anytime after 8 a.m. to the Mauricetown Fire Hall
in Mauricetown where exhibitors, local artists, lectures and
presentations will be held, and where you can pick up the festival
packet with maps and program schedules. The festival begins at 7 a.m.
with a Sunrise Walk at Turkey Point with Pete Dunne and other leaders
and ends with a 5 p.m. Sunset Owl Watch at Turkey Point with Pat
Sutton and other leaders.
On January 29, a RIVER OTTER was watched for at least ten minutes as it
walked around on the frozen surface of SLUICE CREEK, the creek next to
the CMBO Center in Goshen. It strolled and sniffed, strolled and
sniffed, staying in view the entire time. A COYOTE was seen January 28
on Lighthouse Avenue in Cape May Point. A RED FOX was seen January 28
at Higbee Beach as it lay in wait in vain under brambles to catch
Winter is the best time of year to study waterfowl. On February 1, the
Cold Spring Inlet at Two Mile Beach held over a thousand scoter (1,000
Surf, 100s of Black, and 2 White-winged), 8 COMMON LOONS, 10
LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 50 PURPLE SANDPIPER, and 5 GREAT CORMORANT. January
28th to 30th, a RAZORBILL was also there. AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS
winter here in pretty high numbers. On February 1, 95 were seen at
Hereford Inlet and 20 in Townsends Inlet.
If youd like to savor amorous waterfowl and these other winter treats,
be sure to sign up for the Longtails in Love field trip with Pat
Sutton on Saturday, February 12 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). For the ultimate N.
Gannet (and waterfowl) experience join Mark Garland on February 20 for
Birding From the Ferry (7 to 11 a.m.), sort of a poor mans
pelagic. If the impoundments thaw at the Corbin City and Tuckahoe
WMAs, this is another excellent spot 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! CMBOs Waterfowl Art Exhibit is on display at CMBO
Center in Goshen. Stop by and be dazzled!
CMBOs 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):
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.
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
WINTER AT TWO MILE BEACH with Mark Garland Sunday, February 27
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
CMBOs 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 Audubons 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 Program Schedule (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!