CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY & EVENTS HOTLINE - March 9, 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 9. 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).
Spring has sprung! The first LAUGHING GULL was seen on March 7 at the Cape
May Ferry Terminal. And this year's LAGU Award goes to George Myers & Karl
Lukens. A PINE WARBLER was singing in Goshen at 6:30 a.m. today, March 9.
WOOD FROGS just began calling this week (on March 7), giving their duck-like
quacking. A MOURNING CLOAK was seen March 8 during a wonderfully, warm,
spring-like day. The first BALD EAGLE chicks may have hatched. The pair at
Beaver Swamp on March 8, seemed to be busy with something down in the nest.
Let's keep our fingers crossed! BARRED OWLS are on territory and getting
noisy; they may lay eggs later this month.
A terrific site to visit, showcasing successful nesting Barred Owls in past
years, is http://www.owlcam.com On March 8, a CAROLINA CHICKADEE was inspecting a
potential nest hole and a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH sang its full spring song
in Eldora. An amazing 7,000 scoters were close to Cape May's beachfront at
Poverty Beach on March 2. Many were vigorously engaged in courtship and the
wails of courting BLACK SCOTERS could be heard several blocks inland.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are "konk-er-ee" ing like mad! A YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT
HERON was seen March 6 in North Wildwood! A pair of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER
was seen flying north across the Delaware Bay on March 2. 20+ AMERICAN
WOODCOCK danced for CMBO's March 4th "Woodcock Dance" at the Woodcock Lane
Trail in the Cape May NWR. They were so thick that some males could be heard
growling at each other while on the ground. Head out at last light to the
fields at Higbee Beach or Woodcock Lane to savor this short-lived spring
Each spring RED-THROATED LOONS stage at the mouth of the Delaware Bay.
Huge numbers gather and feed in these waters. On March 2, 300 were seen
flying north across the Bay. COMMON LOONS can be found in the backbay waters
and around jetties, including the 8th Street Jetty in Avalon.
They're successfully catching crabs. By mid-April Common Loons will be
coming into breeding plumage just before they migrate further north.
Timed for a stellar loon adventure, is CMBO's "Cruisin' For Loons" on
Saturday, April 22 (1-5:30 p.m.) with 17 spaces left. Call 609-861-0700,
x-16 to register or for more information.
On March 2, a big push of northbound N. GANNETS passed by -- 300-400 and
mostly adults. 200+ BONAPARTE'S GULLS fed in the waters behind the idling
ferry on March 7. CMBO's "Poor Man's Pelagic" on Saturday, March
18 (7-11 a.m.) is timed perfectly to drink in the gannet movement, wintering
Bonaparte Gulls, the scoter gathering, and whatever else is heading north
across the Delaware Bay! 1 space left!
On March 5, the Cohansey River area in Cumberland County held 6,000 SNOW
GEESE, 12 BALD EAGLES (10 adults), an immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, 29 N.
HARRIER, 3 SHARP-SHINS, 2 COOPER'S HAWKS, and 43 RED-TAILED HAWKS, including
ONE on a NEST! 25 WILD TURKEY, 10 E. MEADOWLARKS, and a HORNED LARK chasing
a SNOW BUNTING were among some of the other goodies enjoyed. CMBO's "Birding
Cumberland" on Sunday, March 19 (9 a.m. to 4
p.m.) will explore the Cohansey River area. 5 spaces remain!
An AMERICAN BITTERN was in The Meadows on March 7 and 8, along with a
WILSON'S SNIPE, HOODED MERGANSERS, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GADWALL (in stunning
plumage), and AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS. And an AMERICAN BITTERN was in the Cape
May Point State Park in Lighthouse Pond, along with HOODED MERGANSERS and
LESSER SCAUP on March 5. Join the experts, those who are out every day, by
attending one of CMBO's weekly SPRING walks (requiring no preregistration ):
(1) Every Friday (5 p.m.-dusk), "Winter Evenings at The Meadows" meets in
TNC's parking lot on Sunset Boulevard. (2) Every Saturday (8-10 a.m.)
"Birding Cape May Point" meets at the Cape May Point State Park on the
raised Picnic Pavilion. (3) Sunday, March 12 & 26, the "Nightfall at Corbin
City Bird Walk" meets on Griscom Mill Rd.
(off Rt. 50) in the Corbin City Hall parking lot at 5 p.m. (4) Sunday, March
19, will be the final "Nightfall at Jakes Landing" walk, meeting at the end
of Jakes Landing Road at 5 p.m. (5) "Sunday Mornings at Turkey Point" meets
every Sunday morning through March 26 (8 to 10 a.m.), meeting at the end of
Turkey Point Road.
CMBO had the Forest Fire Service perform a controlled burn on our meadow
again this spring. They did it on March 7. Keep an eye on it and you'll be
amazed how quickly it greens up!
RED MAPLE TREES are budding! Butterflies will be attracted. A MINK was seen
March 3 at Brigantine NWR. COYOTES were calling near the Rea Farm on March
The first migrant RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD returned to the United States on
March 2 in Alabama. Since then 24 sightings have come in from all the states
lining the Gulf Coast. Go to the following site to watch them move north:
The CMBO Art Gallery's newest show, "Wings and Migration," just opened and
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!
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 first PIPING PLOVERS are due any day. 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 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
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
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.
CMBO's 11th Annual Optics Sale will be Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19
(9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Brochures have been sent to members and can be
downloaded on NJ Audubon's website. This sale is open to members of NJ
Audubon and/or CMBO ONLY. If you are not a member, join today and take
advantage of fabulous deals!
Pete Dunne's next "2-Day Bird Watching for Beginners Course" will be offered
March 24-25. Friday evening's indoor session runs from 5-7 p.m, followed by
an outing Saturday morning (8 a.m. to noon). **
CMBO's Gardens in Goshen need to be prepared for spring. Join us for one of
the 5 "Garden Cleanup" sessions in March: (1) Fridays and Saturdays, March
10, 11, 24, 25 (9 a.m. to noon). (2) Thursday, March 16 (3-6:30 p.m.).
Dinner or lunch provided! Call with dates you'd like to help:
(609) 861-0700, x-11.
"Wildlife Garden Naturalist Training" will be held every Thursday evening
(6-8 p.m.), April 6 to May 18 (except April 20). Train under longtime
wildlife habitat gardener Pat Sutton & be certified to volunteer in CMBO's
model backyard habitat gardens in Goshen. Sessions will cover ID of native
trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and weeds, butterfly & moth biology (life
cycle), maintenance of a Purple Martin colony, Ruby-throated Hummingbird
biology/needs, and wildlife garden maintenance with THE focus on wildlife!
"Driving Tour of Cape May County's Giant Trees" (100 to 300-year-old trees
in the southern part of the county)" on Saturday, April 8 (10 a.m.
to 3:30 p.m.) with Lyman Hoffman and Pat Sutton. **
"Weekend Field Trip to Chincoteague With Mark Garland" on Saturday, April 8
and Sunday, April 9. 9 spaces left. **
"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. 10 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. 9
spaces left! To register, call 609-861-0700, x-11. To learn more about this
workshop or the 13 other "2006 Cape May Birding Workshops" go to:
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:
Aside from the many NJ Audubon field trips to this location, the Barnegat
Lighthouse State Park is hosting a special day called "HARBOR SEALS &
HARLEQUINS" on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to include guided
wildlife watching walks, opportunities to climb the lighthouse, and
activities for all ages. For more information, call 609-494-2016.
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
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!