Cape May Natural History Hotline - 3/30/2006

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 30. 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).

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

2 BALTIMORE ORIOLES that spent the winter in a private backyard in Erma (just south or Rio Grande)at the intersection of Carol Avenue and Oak Lane continue. They've been attracted to a fabulous backyard habitat complimented by orange slices and grape jelly.

OSPREYS are back in force. 1 pair was seen mating at their Jakes Landing nest on March 29. PIPING PLOVER are back! 2-3 displaying males were at The Meadows on March 29.

A SHORT-EARED OWL tangled with a N. HARRIER at the Corbin City Impoundments on the last CMBO walk there on March 26. GREAT HORNED OWLS were seen and heard there at dusk. They should have growing young that will fledge sometime in early to mid May.

5 WILD TURKEYS were seen in Belleplain State Forest on March 29. PINE WARBLERS are being heard more regularly and quite thick some places.

The 8th Street Jetty in Avalon on March 24 offered great views of 2 COMMON LOONS in nearly full breeding plumage, 2 RED-THROATED LOONS in full winter plumage, 40-50 BLACK and SURF SCOTER whistling and bustling about in full breeding plumage (the Black Scoter's bills are florescent orange & pink), a few N. GANNETS (all adults), and a number of PURPLE SANDPIPERS on the jetty.

RED-THROATED LOONS stage / gather at the mouth of the Delaware Bay each spring in the vicinity of the Concrete Ship. 700 were seen here on March 24. A GREAT CORMORANT was here on March 29 (look for the breeding plumage white flank patch!). 200+ N. GANNETS passed by this spot on March 25. CMBO's "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.

BALD EAGLES continue to be easily seen in the heartland of Cumberland County. 13 were seen on the final CMBO Turkey Point walk on March 26, including several immatures diving on BLACK DUCKS and a pair at their nest. RED-TAILED HAWKS were on a nest at Turkey Point. And long lines of 1000s of SNOW GEESE migrated by heading north.

The pair of BALD EAGLES at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice Creek from the CMBO Center in Goshen continues to incubate off and on. There have been long stretches when no adult is on the nest. At other times an adult is seriously tucked low in the nest, appearing to incubate. So it is not looking promising. Often one or both adults can still be found roosting there. On March 24, 20 WILSON'S SNIPE flushed from the edge of the walking dike there and others were seen there on March 25.

The freshwater pond on the north side of Reed's Beach Road held GREEN- WINGED TEAL and roosting BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS on March 27. This pond gets better and better as spring unfolds. GLOSSY IBIS were at Heislerville WMA in Cumberland County on March 23 along with lots of waterfowl!

Just a few warm days and butterflies are flying again. A SPRING AZURE was in CMBO's gardens in Goshen on March 29, while a CABBAGE WHITE was seen in a Goshen Garden on March 30. TRAILING ARBUTUS is in bloom in Belleplain State Forest. Daffodils are blooming. Flowering Quince (Japonica) and Forsythia are just beginning to bloom. Giving color to lawns and roadsides for the botanist focused on tiny plants, Pennsylvania Bittercress and Purple Dead-nettle are blooming. Wild Mustard is coming into bloom in farm fields.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS have returned to the southern U.S. from Central America. They are just making their way north into North Carolina. We can expect them in NJ by mid-April. To watch their movement north, go to: http://hummingbirds.net/map.html NJ Audubon has some very special "Spring Plant Sales" around the state and "CMBO's Plant Swap on April 29" lined up for wildlife gardeners, plus a multitude of learning opportunities, like CMBO's 6- week class, "Wildlife Garden Naturalist Training," taught by longtime wildlife habitat gardener Pat Sutton 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 information.

For full details on Plant Sales and Swaps for "Wildlife Habitats" and learning opportunities, go to NJ Audubon's "World of Backyard Habitat" pages: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat/Splash.html

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 on March 13, and they appeared on Millville & Little Egg Harbor on March 29. Monitor their progress north at http://purplemartin.org/scoutreport

Enjoy spring by joining the experts, those who are out every day. Attend one of CMBO's 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 Calendar/calcmbo.html

If you'd like to help the NJ Fish and Wildlife's 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

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. http://ga1.org/njaudubon/home.html

The CMBO Art Gallery's 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!

CMBO's Spring Programs are now in print (Spring Kestrel Express - stop by either CMBO Center and pick up a copy) and posted on NJ Audubon's 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.

"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 Trust's newest preserves. 9 spaces left. **

As part of CMBO's 2006 Cape May Birding Workshops Michael O'Brien will teach a "2-Day Birding by Ear Workshop," Thursday and Friday, May 4-5, 2006. 8 spaces left! Louise Zemaitis & Michael O'Brien 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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks06.html

NJ Audubon's "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

CMBO's 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: 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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