CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, March 31, 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 31. 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).
A call for (1) Shorebird Stewards, (2) Environmental Stewards, and (3)
Great Blue Heron Colony info can be found at the end of this hotline.
What a wonderful time of year it is! A number of winter birds are still
here and each day brings new spring arrivals. Dont miss a moment of
the spring. Attend one or all of CMBOs 17 different weekly spring
walks; many began in earnest this week. For details go to the end of
this hotline or to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html
Or get a jump start on spring and sign up for the Weekend Field Trip
to Chincoteague, April 23-24, with Mark Garland. Call 609-861-0700,
LINGERING WINTER TREATS: A SNOWY OWL, found March 30 at Stone Harbor
Point, was seen again today, March 31, by the dredge spoil area. It is
probably an immature male (quite pale) and may be the same bird that
was seen on the beach at Corsons Inlet on March 26 . 4 SHORT-EARED
OWLS hunted Brigantine NWR all afternoon on March 24 and 2 were seen
there March 30. Two hunted Motts Creek on March 25. 3 ROUGH-LEGGED
HAWKS were at Tuckahoe / Corbin City WMA on March 30, and 4 were at
Amassas Landing and Motts Creek on March 25. A singing FOX SPARROWS was
enjoyed at a feeder in Goshen on March 30. Winter waterfowl numbers are
past their peak for most species, though 3 EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL
(or COMMON TEAL) continue: 1 at Corbin City and 2 at Tuckahoe WMA on
March 30. 1 TUNDRA SWAN was still at the Tuckahoe WMA impoundments on
March 30. Over 400 RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were seen in Great Bay
between Graveling Point and Seven Bridges Road March 25.
LAUGHING GULLS are virtually everywhere now; 400 were counted on
Nummys Island March 30. OSPREY are back in force and on many nest
platforms; 45 were seen along the Great Egg Harbor River March 30.
GLOSSY IBIS arrived in force March 30, with 150 flying over Hancocks
Bridge in Salem County and 10 at Brigantine NWR. Migrating GREAT BLUE
HERONS and GREAT EGRETS passed over the Great Egg Harbor River March
30. AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER are abundant and chasing one another about.
WILD TURKEYS are displaying now; a flock of 15 were at Rio Grand on
March 28 in the field across from the Wildwood Water Works. COOPERS
HAWKS are displaying near their nesting territories. Mark Garland will
teach Birding 101" on Saturday, April 16 (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), a
great way learn all about the many birding tools and resources and
savor the many spring treats during outdoor practice time. There is
still room call 609-861-0700, x 11.
The first RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen March 30 in the Villas. Be
sure to put up your feeders if you hope to attract nesting
hummingbirds, since our gardens are dirt right now. Even if
hummingbirds do not visit your yard, still clean and refill feeders
with fresh solution at least once each week. To monitor their journey
further north and know just when to put out your hummingbird feeders,
go to the following site and click on the migration map:
If youre itching to put in a butterfly & hummingbird garden or add to
one, visit NJ Audubons website 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:
Mark your calendar and dont miss CMBOs Annual Plant Swap and Native
Plant Sale (Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) where lots of
goodies will be available. CMBOs Wildlife Garden Naturalist Training
sessions (6 to 8 p.m., Thursdays, April 7 to May 19) still have a few
spaces left. Call 609-861-0700, x11 to sign up.
Other SPRING TREATS: A PURPLE MARTIN was at the Rea Farm on March 28. A
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER fed on Sunflower hearts in a garden in Goshen
on March 30 & 31. PINE WARBLERS are back in force. PIPING PLOVERS have
returned to most nesting beaches. A LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH fed around
the East Point Lighthouse March 24 and another was singing in
Belleplain State Forest March 31 at Savages Run Bridge.
On March 26, CMBOs Birding From the Ferry enjoyed 2 GREAT CORMORANT
(showing their white breeding patch), 25 N. GANNET (all adults), 2000
BLACK & SURF SCOTER, and 20 PURPLE SANDPIPER. 60 RED-THROATED LOONS
were around the Concrete Ship. Each winter and early spring
Red-throated Loons stage at the mouth of the Delaware Bay before
migrating north. CMBOs 2nd Cruisin for Loons trip Sunday, April 17
(9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)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 trip
call 609-861-0700, x-11.
AMERICAN WOODCOCK are still displaying. If youve never witnessed this
amorous aerial display, be sure to attend the Twilight at Higbee
Beach walk with Mark Garland, meeting in the parking lot at the west
end of New England Road, offered every Saturday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (April
1), and 6.30-8:30 p.m. (April 9 - May 7).
A pair of BALD EAGLES is nesting at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice
Creek from CMBOs Center in Goshen. They began incubating about March
5; young should hatch 34-36 days later or about April 8-10. 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 flurry of MOURNING CLOAKS were seen March 30 (9 along the Great Egg
Harbor River, 1 in Belleplain State Forest, 1 in Cape May Point) along
with an anglewing (E. COMMA or QUESTION MARK), and a SPRING AZURE.
CMBOs Hessels Hairstreak, Elfins, & Pigmy Pine trip on Saturday,
May 7 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), still has room. Call 609-861-0700, x11 to
A din of SPRING PEEPERS can now be heard, along with lone calls of a
few other species. S. LEOPARD FROGS were calling from the Cape May
Point State Park March 30. DAFFODILS are blooming. A SEAL was seen from
the Longport Bridge on March 30 and 2 were at the end of Seven Bridges
Road (south of Tuckerton) on March 25, including one eating a giant
eel. A MINK was also seen on Seven Bridges Road on March 25. BATS are
flying with the warm weather.
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 Countys Biggest
Trees, call 609-861-0700, x-11.
CMBOs 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 OBrien. 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 Societys 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 youve read over the brochure, direct any questions to Sheila Lego
or Marleen Murgitroyde at 609-884-2736.
SHOREBIRD STEWARDS NEEDED: Red Knot need all the help they can get this
spring. Numbers on the wintering grounds were frighteningly low, even
lower than last winters low numbers. The NJ Endangered & Nongame
Species program welcomes volunteer SHOREBIRD STEWARDS on NJs 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.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDS needed at the Cape May NWRs Two Mile Beach
Unit, May 26 - September 11 (30 hours/week; $200/week). Send a resume
and letter of interest (by April 29) to: Cape May NWR, 24 Kimbles Beach
Road, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210; 609-463-0994.
GREAT BLUE HERON COLONIES: The Endangered and Nongame Species Program
is conducting a survey of Great Blue Heron colonies across New Jersey
and is looking for undocumented (in the state database) colonies in
Cumberland and Cape May counties. If you are aware of colonies (of any
size) in this area, please contact Chris Kisiel (609-628-2103 or
Enjoy early spring birding by attending upcoming CMBO programs:
Weekly walks (no advanced registration, $6 members, $10 for others):
Every Friday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Higbee Beach Bird Walk meets in the
parking lot at the west end of New England Road.
Every Saturday (7:30-10:30 a.m.), Birds of Belleplain State Forest
meets at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office, just off Rt. 550,
west of Woodbine.
Every Saturday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Spring Migrants at the Rea Farm
meets in the Beanery parking lot on Bayshore Road.
Saturday, April 2 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) Twilight at Higbee Beach meets
in the parking lot at the west end of New England Road.
Every Sunday (7-9 a.m.), Birding at Stone Harbor Point, meets in
the Stone Harbor Point Parking Lot.
Every Sunday (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
Every Sunday (1 to 2:30 p.m.), Birding for First Timers meets at
the North Shelter in the Cape May Point State Park.
Every Monday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Birding With Pete Dunne meets at
7:30 a.m. in TNCs parking lot on Sunset Boulevard.
Every Monday (5 to 7 p.m.), Evening at Jakes Landing meets at the
end of Jakes Landing Road.
Every Tuesday (7:30 to 9:30 a.m.), Spring at Two Mile Beach meets
in the last parking area on the left in the refuge.
Every Wednesday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Birding Cape May Point meets in
the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park.
Every Thursday (7:30 to 10:30 a.m.), Birds of Belleplain State
Forest meets at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office, just off Rt.
550, west of Woodbine
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already mentioned
follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to register):
Introduction to Spring Wildflower ID, Sunday, May 1 (10 a.m. to 3
p.m.) with Mark Garland
Listening to the Night, Monday, May 9 (9 to 11 p.m.) with Mark
Garland and Chris Vogel
Sunset Cruises for Spring Migrants and Heron Rookeries, Wednesdays
(May 11 & 18), 3 to 7 p.m.
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
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!