Cape May Natural History Hotline - 3/2/2006

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, March 2. 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).

The CMBO Art Gallerys newest show, Wings and Migration, just opened and will run through June 11. Stunning paintings of dragonflies, butterflies, and birds adorn the walls of the classroom. Stop by the CMBO Center in Goshen, open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and be dazzled!

WOODCOCK are in love and dancing! On March 2, between 6:13 and 6:29 p.m. at least a dozen entertained this observer along the Delaware Bayshore during the last bit of light. Numbers were so thick on the ground in a few spots that males could be heard growling at each other. If youve never witnessed this incredible display, join Pat Sutton and a host of other fine leaders for CMBOs 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. Four evening surveys will be held: 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.

The first PIPING PLOVERS are due any day. If youd like to help the NJ Fish and Wildlifes Endangered and Nongame Species Program with their Annual Beach Nesting Bird Fencing Days, contact Christina Kisiel, 609-628-1919 or ckisiel@gtc3.com. Each fencing date only requires a few hours of mildly strenuous work (pounding posts, placing rope and signage). Fencing will protect nesting habitat for Piping Plovers, Least Terns and Black Skimmers. Fencing dates follow: (1) Saturday, March 25th at 10am at Cape May Point State Park, (2) Saturday, April 1st at 10am at Stone Harbor Point, (3) Saturday, April 8th at 10am at Monmouth Beach, (4) Saturday, April 15th at 10am at Barnegat Light

Seems our SNOWY OWL (or another) is still around. A belated report came in of one in a backyard in Wildwood Crest at Rambler Road on February 20.

An auditory and visual sight not to be missed is the gathering of BLACK SCOTERS and SURF SCOTERS at the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon. Close to 400 were there at 9 a.m. on March 2. There was a constant mournful whistling, the call of Black Scoters, filling the air. There was also some frisky behavior as male Black Scoters scooted after females. 30 LONG-TAILED DUCKS fed along the beachfront rocks and out along the jetty. Some of them were also calling their south southerly wails as males dashed after females. About 10 COMMON LOONS fed close to the jetty, coming up successfully with crabs. Undoubtedly a similar experience can be enjoyed at Two Mile Beach. Consider signing up for the special Winter Birding at Two Mile Beach on Wednesday, March 8 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) when George Myers and Tom Parsons share the wonders of this unit of the Cape May NWR. To register call 609-861-0700, x-11.

100s of AMERICAN ROBINS covered lawns today, March 2.

Waterfowl numbers along the Maurice River really dropped this week. On February 28, 2,650 SNOW GEESE, 1,400 BLACK DUCKS, 600 N. PINTAIL, 600 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 4 CANVASBACK, 126 BUFFLEHEAD, 70 COMMON MERGANSER, 264 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were tallied.

Also on the Maurice River on February 28 there were 14 BALD EAGLES (including 9 adults) and a beautiful sub-adult GOLDEN EAGLE (hunting Snow Geese at Bivalve). COOPERS HAWKS were displaying. RED-TAILED HAWKS were displaying as well, doing many roller coaster flights and disputing territories.

On February 26, CMBOs Sunday Morning Turkey Point Bird Walk in Cumberland County enjoyed an adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 5 BALD EAGLES (including 3 adults), many N. HARRIERS (including an adult male Gray Ghost), and lots of waterfowl (the SNOW GEESE show, BUFFLEHEAD, HOODED MERGANSERS, COMMON MERGANSERS), and E. MEADOWLARKS. The group watched the adult BALD EAGLES working on their Maple Avenue nest. Join Karen Johnson and other leaders at Turkey Point to savor these goodies and more, every Sunday morning through March 26 (8 to 10 a.m.), meeting at the end of Turkey Point Road

On February 26 at Pickle Factor Pond male and female COMMON MERGANSERS were quite frisky.

Unbelievably, absolutely no reports have come in from Jakes Landing this week, but you can change that by joining Karen Johnson on Sunday, March 5, by joining her at 5 p.m. for the Nightfall at Jakes Landing Walk. This walk meets in the parking lot at the end of the road and should be good for Bald Eagle, N. Harrier, E. Meadowlarks, Clapper Rail, maybe a Rough-legged Hawk and / or Short-eared Owl, and even displaying American Woodcock.

On February 26, at Tuckahoe WMA, the CMBO Nightfall at Corbin City Bird Walk enjoyed a dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, N. HARRIERS (including an adult male Gray Ghost), RED-TAILS, and lots of wonderful waterfowl. Join Karen Johnson and other leaders at Corbin City (or Tuckahoe, if thats where the birds are) to savor these goodies and more, every other Sunday (March 12, 26), for this walk meets on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the Corbin City Hall parking lot at 5 p.m.

BALD EAGLES are on eggs all over NJ. The pair at Beaver Swamp WMA, just north of CMBOs 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 MAPLE trees are in bud, a good thing since this is often the only nectar for butterflies that come out of hibernation on warm days! DAFFODILS are up about 6 inches and buds are forming. A Harbor Seal was seen on the beach at The Meadows on February 25. CMBOs weekly SPRING walks (requiring no preregistration ), not already mentioned, follow: (1) Every Friday (5 p.m.-dusk), Winter Evenings at The Meadows meets in TNCs 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 other Sunday (March 5, 19), Nightfall at Jakes Landing meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road at 5 p.m.

CMBOs Spring Programs are now in print (Spring Kestrel Express stop by either CMBO Center and pick up a copy) and posted on NJ Audubons website: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html A few of the upcoming programs are detailed below. ** Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register for the following programs.

Explore the Cape May NWRs 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 didnt 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! **

CMBOs 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 Audubons 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 Mans 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 Dunnes next 2-Day Bird Watching for Beginners Course will be offered March 24-25. Friday evenings indoor session runs from 5-7 p.m, followed by an outing Saturday morning (8 a.m. to noon). **

CMBOs 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 youd like to help: (609) 861-0700, x-11.

As part of CMBOs 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops Michael OBrien 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 OBrien 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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks06.html

NJ Audubons Cape May Spring Weekend is set for May 19-21, 2006. Brochures have been sent to members. To download a brochure, go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/SpringWeekend.html

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, mike.bisignano@njaudubon.org.

CMBOs bookstore hours follow: the Northwood Center in Cape May Point is open Thursday-Monday, 9-4:30. Starting the week of March 6, the Northwood Center will be open seven days a week, 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: 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 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!

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