CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY & EVENTS HOTLINE March 23, 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 23. 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
Please read to the end of this hotline to learn how you can help (1)
Halt the Harvest & Save the Red Knot from Extinction and (2) with the
Annual Beach Nesting Bird Fencing Days
Signs of winter continued this past week with temperatures in the
30s. Despite this Daffodils are blooming and Flowering Quince
(Japonica) is nearly in bloom.
CMBOs Poor Mans Pelagic on March 18 delighted in close looks at
N. GANNETS, GREAT CORMORANT (Lewes Terminal), the spring gathering of
RED-THROATED LOONS (83 counted), hundreds of BLACK and SURF SCOTER, a
few LAUGHING GULLS and BONAPARTES GULLS, and 2 HARBOR PORPOISES near
the Delaware side of the Bay. The show continues. On March 23, 417 N.
GANNETS passed by St. Marys at Cape May Point in 5 minutes, while 200
+ BONAPARTES GULLS and 25+ LAUGHING GULLS entertained at the Ferry
Terminal. The first crossing of the day aboard the Ferry is a good
bet for the next few weeks or more. Huge numbers of RED-THROATED
LOONS gather and feed at the mouth of the Delaware Bay each spring.
Add to this the fact that by mid-April Common Loons will be coming
into breeding plumage just before they migrate further north. CMBOs
Cruisin For Loons on Saturday, April 22 (1-5:30 p.m.) is timed for
a stellar loon adventure, with 10 spaces left. Call 609-861-0700,
x-16 to register or for more information.
CMBOs Birding Cumberland trip explored the Cohansey River on March
19. Bald Eagles were everywhere, including a spectacular white-
speckled immature at Percy Blew Road. At the end of Bayside Road an
adult perched on the very edge of the Delaware Bay while its mate
perched atop their nest in the distance. Several new BALD EAGLE nests
have been found this spring with a total of 56 pairs nesting in NJ.
The first eaglets hatched March 8, while eggs hatched at 5 other
nests between March 10th and 14th. Sadly, the nest at Beaver Swamp
WMA, just north of the CMBO Center in Goshen, has failed. Both adults
have been off the nest since about March 17.
While adult BALD EAGLES are busy with nests, immatures are wandering.
6 immatures were at Berrytown Road in Cumberland County on March 23.
2 immatures and 3 adults were enjoyed during the Sunday Morning at
Turkey Point Walk on March 19. The final walk will be Sunday, March
26 (8 to 10 a.m.), meeting at the end of Turkey Point Road.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS are returning. 15 were roosting at the
pond along Reeds Beach Road on March 18; by March 22 there were 30.
SNOW GEESE pretty much cleared out about 3 weeks ago, but 200-300 can
still be found at Hansey Creek. RIVER OTTERS were seen in the creek
under the bridge at the end of Hansey Creek Road this week. Bivalve
held over 2,000 GREEN-WINGED TEAL on March 16. HARLEQUIN DUCKS (2
males and 2 females) were enjoyed at the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon
on March 22.
The final Nightfall at Jakes Landing on March 19 enjoyed a SHORT-
EARED OWL, 5-6 CLAPPER RAIL, and a calling GREAT HORNED OWL. The
final Nightfall at Corbin City Impoundments will be on Sunday,
March 26, meeting at 5 p.m. on Griscom Mill Rd. (off Rt. 50) in the
Corbin City Hall parking lot.
WILSONS SNIPE are on the move. 13-14 were flushed during a stroll
through the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (or The Meadows) on March
21. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen in The Meadows on March 20 and a
LEAST BITTERN on March 22. Friday, March 24 and 31 (5 p.m.-dusk),
Winter Evenings at The Meadows meets in TNCs parking lot on Sunset
Boulevard. Birding With Pete Dunne, every Monday morning (7:30-9:30
a.m.), begins March 27.
SEASIDE SPARROWS began singing on March 22 at Turkey Point. PINE
WARBLERS are back and being reported on warm days, but not one was
heard during the cold weather on March 19 along the Cohansey River
during CMBOs Birding Cumberland trip. PHOEBE are back and, during
this cold stretch, eking out a living in sheltered, sunny spots.
OSPREY are back, but easily missed too. Not one was seen on the
Cohansey River on March 19. PIPING PLOVER are returning. One on the
beach at The Meadows on March 16 and one at Barnegat Light on March 18.
Get a jump on spring and join Mark Garland, naturalist
extraordinaire, on a Weekend Field Trip to Chincoteague, Saturday
and Sunday, April 8- 9. This trip will explore Chincoteague NWR (in
Virginia at the southern end of Assateague Island), Shad Landing
State Park, and the Ocean City inlet (in Maryland). 10 spaces left.
Call 609-861-0700, x-16 to register.
PURPLE MARTINS are all over, to the south of us. The first NJ Purple
Martin was spotted in Hammonton last week. Monitor their progress
north at http://purplemartin.org/scoutreport
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are all over the south: Texas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Go to the
following site to watch them move north:
http://hummingbirds.net/map.html Its just a matter of time before
they make their way to NJ, often around the middle of April. To learn
how to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, Purple Martins, and more,
consider signing up for CMBOs 6-week class, Wildlife Garden
Naturalist Training, taught by longtime wildlife habitat gardener
Pat Sutton and held every Thursday evening (6-8 p.m.), April 6 to May
18 (except April 20). Call 609-861-0700, x-16 to register or for more
Enjoy spring by joining the experts, those who are out every day.
Attend one of CMBOs daily SPRING walks (requiring no
preregistration ). Beginning March 31, there are 1-2 of bird walks
every day of the week. Over the course of a week these walks cover
the very best hotspots. For details go to: http://www.njaudubon.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Halt the Harvest - Save the Red Knot from Extinction
Your help is urgently needed to ensure the survival of Red Knot.
Please take action by showing your strong support for NJ Department
of Environmental Protection's proposed moratorium on the horseshoe
crab commercial bait fishery for the calendar years 2006 and 2007.
The CMBO Art Gallerys spring show, Wings and Migration, 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!
CMBOs Spring Programs are now in print (Spring Kestrel Express
stop by either CMBO Center and pick up a copy) and posted on NJ
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.
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
the final 2 Garden Cleanup sessions: (1) Fridays and Saturdays,
March 24, 25 (9 a.m. to noon). Lunch provided! Call with dates youd
like to help: (609) 861-0700, x-11.
Driving Tour of Giant Trees in southern Cape May County 60 (100
to 300-year-old) trees, including 28 different species on Saturday,
April 8 (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) with Lyman Hoffman and Pat Sutton. **
Swamp Pinks and Burden Hill on Wednesday, April 12 (10 a.m. to 3
p.m.) with Steve Eisenhauer, assistant director of stewardship and
land protection with the Natural Lands Trust, and Pat Sutton. Swamp
Pink, a wild lily that is an endangered plant in NJ, will be in full
bloom. Burden Hill, in Quinton Township, Salem County, is one of the
Natural Lands Trusts newest preserves. 9 spaces left. **
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. 8 spaces left! Louise Zemaitis & Michael OBrien will
teach a 2nd 2-Day Warbler Workshop, Monday and Tuesday, May 8-9,
since the first is FULL. Mark Garland will teach a 2nd 3-Day Spring
Migration Workshop, Tuesday through Thursday, May 16-18, since the
first is FULL. Both have room! To register, call 609-861-0700, x-11.
To learn more about these 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops go to:
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:
CMBOs Northwood Center in Cape May Point and the Center for Research
and Education on Route 47 in Goshen are both 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!