CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, March 24, 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, March 24. 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" (top
of any page).
Red Knot need all the help they can get this spring. Numbers on the
wintering grounds were frighteningly low, even lower than last year's low
numbers. The NJ Endangered & Nongame Species program welcomes volunteer
SHOREBIRD STEWARDS on NJ's Delaware Bay beaches May 14-15 and May 21 to June
5. Training session in early May (TBA). Contact Larissa Smith (609-628-2103
or LLSmith@gtc3.com) for more details and to sign up.
It's a fun time of year as our wintering birds begin to get their breeding
plumage before migrating north. Treat yourself to the HORNED GREBES in
Sunset Lake in Wildwood Crest (27 there on March 17), including a few in
delicious breeding plumage. GREAT CORMORANT are sporting their breeding
plumage, a white hip patch and a very white throat. One of their favorite
perch sites is the Concrete Ship. Take a close look at DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANT now too to see their breeding plumage double crests, plumes, or
horns on the top of their head.
RED-THROATED LOON numbers continue to build. Each winter and early spring
they stage at the mouth of the Delaware Bay before migrating north. The
Concrete Ship is an excellent vantage point, but they move around with the
tide, so if you do not see many, go back at a different tide. CMBO's first
Loon Cruise on April 16 filled, so a 2nd "Cruisin'
for Loons" trip is scheduled for Sunday, April 17 (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).
This cruise is timed to drink in the Red-throated Loon gathering in Delaware
Bay, plus COMMON LOONS in full breeding plumage (just before they migrate
north). To register for the April 17 Loon Cruise call 609-861-0700, x-11.
Gorgeous N. GANNETS are migrating through now! Close encounters should be
enjoyed during CMBO's March 26 "Birding From the Ferry" trip (7 to 11 a.m.).
There are still spaces; call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.
As days lengthen, AMERICAN WOODCOCK are "peenting" later and later. On March
21 they were calling at 6:30 p.m. in Goshen; they can also be heard at dawn,
@ 5:20 a.m. If you've never witnessed this amorous aerial display, be sure
to attend: (1) the Friday, March 25, "Winter Evening at the Meadows" walk,
meeting at 4:30 p.m. in the TNC parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, and (2) the
Saturday, March 26 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) "Twilight at Higbee Beach" walk with
Mark Garland, meeting in the parking lot at the west end of New England
SHORT-EARED OWLS are still hunting their favored winter marshes; 3 were at
Corbin City on March 19 and 20, between 5 and 6:15 p.m. An amazing 50 pairs
of BALD EAGLES are on territory in NJ this spring! Young have hatched at 6
nests; the first eaglets hatched on March 7 from eggs laid very early on
January 29). Another 34 pairs are incubating eggs.
Remaining pairs are at sites impossible to monitor. On March 2 the Manasquan
Reservoir nest failed; the female was found dead in the nest.
The NJ Endangered & Nongame Species Program shared this week that she died
from egg peritonitis, probably while trying to lay a third egg (so
definitely not linked in any way to environmental conditions). A pair of
BALD EAGLES is nesting at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice Creek from CMBO's
Center in Goshen. They began incubating on March 5. Pat Sutton is the
official volunteer nest observer at Beaver Swamp WMA. Please report any
sightings of this pair to her at 609-861-0700, x16.
A sprinkling of PINE WARBLER reports came in from Millville (March 12),
Goshen (March 18), and Cape May Court House (March 20). One was feeding on
suet in the heavy rains on March 20. An OSPREY, sitting on the nest at Jakes
Landing Road on March 22, patiently awaiting its mate. Clusters of GREAT
EGRETS were on the marsh at high tide March 24. E. MEADOWLARKS are singing
at Jakes Landing (March 22). A din of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS can be heard
just about anywhere.
The warm weather awakened sleeping critters this week. MOURNING CLOAK
(butterflies) were reported from a number of locations on March 18 & 22.
An EASTERN COMMA was seen May 22 in Mays Landing. A din of WOOD FROGS and
some SPRING PEEPERS called March 22 along Jakes Landing Road, while WOOD
FROGS and a CHORUS FROG called from Beaver Swamp WMA. The spring's first
TIGER BEETLE and FENCE LIZARD were seen March 22.
March 20-24, three Purple Martins were seen in Pennsylvania, just around the
corner! To monitor their movement north go to the Purple Martin Conservation
Organization's excellent site and click on "Martins Are Back":
Four Ruby-throated Hummingbird sightings have come in from North Carolina
and sightings are thick throughout Louisiana and across Mississippi,
Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Our hummingbirds winter between southern
Mexico and northern Panama. To monitor their journey north and know just
when to put your hummingbird feeders out, go to the following site and click
on the migration map:
As spring approaches, be sure to explore the many learning opportunities for
wildlife gardeners throughout the state offered by NJ Audubon Society's 9
centers and shared on our website. If you're itching to put in a butterfly &
hummingbird garden or add to one, also visit this site for the just updated
"How to Create a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden"
and the accompanying list of "Recommended Plantings for Hummingbirds,
Butterflies, and Moths" (noting whether plants are "Native to NJ, "Native to
North America (but not NJ)," or "Alien" at:
Details of CMBO's "Wildlife Garden Naturalist Training" (every Thursday
evening, April 7 to May 19, except April 21) and CMBO "Annual Plant Swap and
Native Plant Sale" (Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) can be found
here. Be sure to go to the "Plants for Sale" page too.
A special driving tour on Saturday, April 9 (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), of 50
giant trees between Goshen and Cape May Point still has a few places open.
To register for "Giants Among Us: Cape May County's Biggest Trees," call
CMBO's 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops (15 different offerings) are timed to
learn and savor peak concentrations. Two sessions of the "Spring Migration
Workshop" have filled with waiting lists for each. The first "Warbler
Workshop" has filled, and a second has been scheduled for May 9 & 10 (Monday
& Tuesday) with Louise Zemaitis and Michael O'Brien.
Registrations are being taken now. To receive the workshop brochure call
609-861-0700 or go to:
The ultimate spring experience is New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May
Spring Weekend (May 20-22, 2005). The brochure is now available (call for a
copy) and a downloadable pdf version is available on the website:
Once you've read over the brochure, direct any questions to Sheila Lego or
Marleen Murgitroyde at 609-884-2736.
Enjoy early spring birding by attending upcoming CMBO programs. This week
marks the change over from many of our winter walks to spring walks; the
listing below gives you a sneak preview of walks beginning the following
Weekly walks (no advanced registration, $6 members, $10 for others):
. Friday: March 25 (4:30 p.m. to dusk), "Winter Evenings at the Meadows"
meets at 4:30 p.m. in TNC's parking lot on Sunset Boulevard.
. Saturday: March 26 (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.
. Saturday, March 26 & April 2 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) "Twilight at Higbee Beach"
meets at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the west end of New England Road.
. EASTER SUNDAY - no walks
. Monday, March 28 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Birding With Pete Dunne (though Pete
will be out of town)" meets at 7:30 a.m. in TNC's parking lot on Sunset
. Wednesday, March 30 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Birding Cape May Point" meets at
7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State
. Friday, April 1 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" meets at 7:30
a.m. in the parking lot at the west end of New England Road.
. Saturday, April 2 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Spring Migrants at the Rea Farm"
meets at 7:30 a.m. in the Beanery parking lot on Bayshore Road.
. Sunday, April 3 (7-9 a.m.), "Birding at Stone Harbor Point," meets in the
Stone Harbor Point Parking Lot.
. Sunday, April 3 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Hidden Valley for Birds & Butterflies"
meets in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England
Road, 0.3 miles west of the intersection with Bayshore Road.
. Sunday, April 3 (1 to 2:30 p.m.), "Birding for First Timers" meets at the
North Shelter in the Cape May Point State Park.
. Monday, April 4 (5 to 7 p.m.), "Evening at Jakes Landing" meets at the end
of Jakes Landing Road.
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already mentioned
follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to register):
. Birding 101, Saturday, April 16 (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with Mark Garland.
. Weekend Field Trip to Chincoteague, April 23-24, with Mark Garland.
. Introduction to Spring Wildflower ID, Sunday, May 1 (10 a.m. to 3
p.m.) with Mark Garland
. Hessel's Hairstreak field trip, Sat., May 7 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) with Pat
Sutton & Rick Radis . Listening to the Night, Monday, May 9 (9 to 11 p.m.)
with Mark Garland and Chris Vogel
Many other programs are scheduled for 2005; contact either CMBO Center for a
copy of the spring Kestrel Express, which features the schedule, or go to:
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 Spring 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 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!