You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a
service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This
update was made on Thursday, March 27. 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 web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on
CROCUSES and DAFFODILS are blooming. RED MAPLE trees are in full flower
and beautiful; few know that spring butterflies and moths often find
their spring nectar at these flowers. Flowering Quince buds are
forming. Perennials in butterfly and hummingbird gardens are busting
through the ground. PURPLE MARTINS are HERE (http://www.purplemartin.org ).
E. BLUEBIRDS are inspecting the nest box in CMBO's meadow in Goshen and
active around the Cape May NWR field office on Kimbel's Beach Road.
CMBO burnt its meadows March 28th, an important step in getting ahead of
non-native grasses and encouraging native grasses and wildflowers. We
are all looking forward to spring and the butterflies, hummingbirds, and
other visitors in our gardens. If you would like to make your yard
wildlife friendly and don't know where to begin or would like to learn
more, be sure to sign up for CMBO's "Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Introductory Workshop" on Saturday, March 29 (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.).
Valuable handouts will be shared! If you'd like to help CMBO in the
"Model Backyard Habitat," join Karen Williams on Friday, April 4 (9:30
a.m.-Noon) for the "Garden Maintenance Workshop."
BALD EAGLES have been on their nests since February . . . 37 active
pairs in New Jersey. Some eggs hatched in mid-March, others may not
hatch till mid-April. On March 23, on the Maurice River during CMBO's
"Birding Cumberland" field trip a NEW pair of adults (# 38) were
discovered and watched as they displaced a pair of Ospreys at their nest
having just returned from their wintering grounds. The Ospreys would
not leave without a battle and our group watched them diving repeatedly,
one after the next, on the pair of eagles for what seemed like a full
five minutes. Some dives connected & feathers flew! Finally, the adult
eagles flew off and were lost from view. This same field trip tallied
32 Bald Eagle sightings on March 23, quite incredible, including a
kettle of 7 over Maple Street impoundments in Dividing Creek and 3 or so
immatures hazing a thousand Snow Geese in the Glades Wildlife Refuge. A
pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS were performing aerial displays with feet
dangling on March 24 and active at a nest visible from Turkey Point
Road. "Sunday Morning at Turkey Point" on March 30 (8-10 a.m. -- meets
at the end of Turkey Point Road in Cumberland County, reached from Route
553 south of the town of Dividing Creek) is an excellent introduction to
this wild & rich area. CMBO's very special and very promising "Maurice
River Bald Eagle Cruises" are all FULL, but if you'd like to be put on a
waiting list, call 609-861-0700, x-11.
SHORT-EARED OWLS are still being seen at Jakes Landing (two close birds
at 4:30-5 p.m. on March 22) and a bit later that evening (6:25 p.m.) 3
AMERICAN WOODCOCK were displaying in the field mid-way down the road.
Don't miss "Nightfall at Jakes Landing" on Friday, March 28 (4:30 p.m.
to dark -- meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road) and "Winter Evenings
at the Meadows" on Saturday, March 29 (4:30 p.m. to dark -- meets in The
Nature Conservancy's refuge parking area on Sunset Boulevard).
Bird song has begun, slowly of course . . . it's only late March. Only
a few songsters have returned, but each week confusion will build as
others arrivals join in. PINE WARBLERS & E. PHOEBES were the first to
arrive. Listen for the Pine Warbler's slow, musical trill on one pitch
and the Phoebe's soft call soon to be replaced by their emphatic
"Fee-bee." Join Pat Sutton for a "Birding by Ear Walk" each Wednesday,
7:30-9:30 a.m., meeting on Jakes Landing Road by the guard rail on the
Finally mid-March, warm temperatures woke up the overwintering adult
butterflies (QUESTION MARK, E. COMMA, and MOURNING CLOAK); sightings
from all over South Jersey have trickled in since, including 2 E. COMMAS
on a pile of rotting onions on Old Robbins Trail (off Jakes Landing
Road) on March 26. But warm temperatures (73 degrees F. mid-day on
March 26) also triggered butterflies to emerge from overwintering
chrysalids. Spring's first SPRING AZURE was seen March 24 and, by the
26th, 10 were seen in the same half-mile stretch of sandy road along Old
Robbins Trail. CABBAGE WHITE (also newly emerged) on March 26 & 27 at
the Cape May Bird Observatory "Model Backyard Habitat" gardens. Join
Pat Sutton every Wednesday (10 a.m.-Noon) for a "Butterfly & Dragonfly
Walk," meeting at the railroad tracks on Rt. 610, just north of
Dennisville (about 1/4 mile from the WAWA store). Join Louise Zemaitis
for the "Hidden Valley for Birds & Butterflies" Sunday, April 6 (7-9
a.m.) -- meets at the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of
New England Road, 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road.
Warm temperatures have also activated TICKS. Enjoy the outdoors, but be
serious about tick checks afterwards. On the edge of the Maurice River
on March 23 thousands of native PINK-SIDED LADY BEETLES were swarming on
the sunlit side (down near the base) of many trees and shrubs near the
river's edge. According to entomologist, Joe Patt, they winter over in
the leaf litter and emerge with spring's warmth. RED BATS can be found
hunting at dusk now too.
Sadly the GREAT HORNED OWL nest at the end of Turkey Point Road has
failed; no adult was on the nest on March 23 for the first time in
months. The Avalon nest on an Osprey platform failed in early March.
Some people have noticed an absence of Great Horned Owls in their
neighborhoods where they were always found. Negative information is
important too. Keep us posted.
BARRED OWLS are noisy now in the deep wet woods of New Jersey as they
lay claim to their nesting territory. Very soon they may lay their
first egg in a large tree cavity or nest box. A wonderful way to learn
all about nesting Barred Owls can be found on the following web site
where the last 6 nesting seasons and this year's nesting of this New
England pair are chronicled with photos, diary accounts, and a sound
CMBO's Center for Research & Education in Goshen is selling seed
packages with annual seeds harvested from our very own gardens in
Goshen: (1) Salvia "Lady in Red" which flourishes in drought conditions
and is irresistible to hummingbirds and swallowtails, (2) Brazilian
Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) for butterflies, hummingbird moths and
lots of other insects, and (3) Cardinal Climber, a hummingbird magnet.
Trees, shrubs, and vines will be available for sale there by mid-April.
CMBO's "6th Annual Plant Swap & Plant Sale for Butterfly & Hummingbird
Gardens" is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Mark
your calendars and begin potting up your favorite perennials as you
divide them so they'll be ready for the swap. Last year's plant swap
had gems and favorites like Coral Bells, Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm,
Catmint, Mountain Mint, Boltonia, Cardinal Flower, New York Ironweed,
Viburnum, Black Chokeberry, and Red Cedar. Don't miss this great and
cost-free opportunity to start your first garden or expand on an already
RED-THROATED LOONS are congregating at the mouth of the Delaware Bay;
150 were counted from the Concrete Ship on March 24. CMBO's very
special and popular "Cruisin for Loons" trip will be offered on
Saturday, April 26 (12:30 to 5 p.m.), when both Red-throated Loons and
Common Loons (some in full breeding plumage) can both be enjoyed. Sign
up for each of these early (spaces are limited) by calling 609-861-0700,
Additional regularly scheduled walks that require no preregistration and
will help you witness spring unfolding include: "Birding Cape May Point"
on Saturday, March 29 (from 8-10 a.m), and Wednesday, April 2 (from
7:30-9:30 a.m.) -- meets in the raised picnic pavilion of the Cape May
Point State Park). "Two Mile Beach Bird Walk" (Monday, March 31, 8-10
a.m. -- meets in the last /left parking area in the Two Mile Beach Unit
of the Cape May NWR). "Birds of Belleplain State Forest" Thursday,
April 3, and Saturday, April 5 (7:30-10:30 a.m.) -- meets at Belleplain
State Forest Field Office. "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" Friday, April 4
(7:30-9:30 a.m.) -- meets at Higbee Beach WMA parking lot at end of New
England Road. "Spring Migrants at the Rea Farm" Saturday, April 5
(7:30-9:30 a.m.) -- meets in the parking lot on Bayshore Road (not at
the produce stand on Stevens Street). "Mondays at the Meadows" Monday,
April 7 (7:30-9:30 a.m.) -- meets in The Nature Conservancy's parking
lot on Sunset Boulevard.
CMBO's full listing of spring programs (April - June) is posted on New
Jersey Audubon's web site at http://www.njaudubon.org (click on "Calendar,"
then on "Cape May Bird Observatory"). CMBO's spring program schedule,
the Kestrel Express, is now available. If you are not a member and
would like to receive a copy, stop by either CMBO Center or call
The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and education unit of the
New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and preserve the
ornithological and natural history significance of Cape May. Your
membership supports these goals and this Cape May Natural History &
Events Hotline, updated every Thursday evening.
Our two centers are CMBO's Center for Research & Education at 600 Route
47 North in Goshen and CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in
Cape May Point. Both are open DAILY, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more
information call 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL