CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, April 1, 2004
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
message was prepared Thursday, April 1. 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
"Sightings" at the top of any page.
As soon as temperatures rise we'll all be out in our gardens. Consider
helping CMBO get the wildlife gardens at the Center in Goshen (600 Route
47 North) ready for spring on Saturday, April 3, at the "Garden
Preparation" morning (9:00 a.m. to Noon). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to
sign up -- lunch provided. You can also help any or every Friday by
joining Karen Williams for the weekly "Garden Maintenance Workshops,"
9:30 a.m.-Noon (requiring no preregistration). Karen Williams will also
be available every Friday for "Wildlife Garden Advice" from 1:00 to 4:00
p.m. to assist with plant purchases and general wildlife garden
questions. April 17, CMBO will teach a day of "Backyard Habitat
Mini-Workshops." Sign up for all 3 one-hour workshops (Butterfly &
Hummingbird Gardens, Basics of Backyard Habitat, and Designing a
Wildlife Habitat) or just one or two. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to
register or learn more!
Saturday, April 3, at 2:00 p.m. NJ Audubon's Important Bird and Birding
Areas (IBBA) Coordinator, Jennifer Mattice, will present a FREE,
hour-long program at the Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research &
Education in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North). All are welcome. Highlights
will include slides showcasing Global Important Bird Areas in NJ,
details about the NJ Program, and information on how you can get
involved with this exciting conservation initiative.
The new exhibit in CMBO's classroom and in The Loft at CMBO's Center in
Goshen, titled: "FINE FEATHERS: Selected Works of Prominent North
American Bird Artists" will OPEN April 1! Works have been gathered from
all over the country and are on display through June 13 -- works by:
John Sill, Sophie Webb, Julie Zickefoose, Keith Hansen, Jonathan
Alderfer, Mimi Hoppe Wolf, and Cynthia House to name a
few! Perhaps come early to enjoy them at your leisure.
We are still enjoying a fine mix of winter and spring! Though the
recent stretch of cold and rainy weather put a damper on arrivals and
outings! Despite this some firsts occurred!
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS arrived March 26 at Jakes Landing (1 bird) and
in Belleplain State Forest in the pine stands (a number of birds), and
on March 28 a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was in Belleplain State Forest on
Savage Run Road. Throughout the forest male PINE WARBLERS have been IN
and singing for some time; the first female was seen March 26. E.
PHOEBE are at their regular breeding sites in Belleplain and elsewhere.
Treat yourself to this very special place by joining CMBO Associate
Naturalists on three weekly, 3-hour walks in the forest, all beginning
at 7:30 a.m. and all meeting at the Belleplain State Forest Field
Office, just off Rt. 550, west of Woodbine: every Thursday and every
Saturday for the "Birds of Belleplain State Forest" walk, and every
Monday for the "Back Trails of Belleplain" walk.
Two very special workshops will feature the best of spring at Cape May
and are filling fast: (1) 2-Day Bullet Workshop: WARBLERS on May 8-9
(Saturday & Sunday), and (2) 3-day Bullet Workshop: SPRING MIGRATION on
May 18-20 (Tuesday thru Thursday). To learn more & download a
registration form, go to NJ Audubon's web site at:
The "2004 Cape May Birding Workshop" brochure will reach CMBO member
shortly. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to request a free copy of this
The NJ Endangered & Nongame Species Program's recent Bald Eagle nest
update shared that 38 pairs of Bald Eagles are on nests now, and an
additional 4 pairs tried and failed already. Young have hatched at 9
nests. On CMBO's March 27 & 28 "Maurice River Bald Eagle Cruises" two
tiny young were seen as their wobble heads peeked over the nest edge
briefly! One eaglet was seen in the Dividing Creek nest during CMBO's
March 28 "Sunday Morning Turkey Point Walk."
Several hundred RED-THROATED LOONS can be seen from the Concrete Ship
now. Each spring they stage here at the mouth of the Delaware Bay
before migrating north. Their numbers will continue to grow. Consider
signing up for "Cruisin' For Loons" on Sunday, April 25 (9 a.m. to 1:30
p.m.), when numbers of Red-throateds will be peaking and when Common
Loons in the back bays will be coming into full breeding plumage (call
609-861-0700, x-11, to register).
There are still about 75,000 sea ducks or scoters at the mouth of the
Delaware Bay. The entire horizon is solid scoter in a state of flux ...
as tides carry flocks out the Delaware Bay and into the ocean, they leap
frog (fly) back into the mouth of the Delaware Bay. While scanning for
them from the State Park's raised pavilion, also look for the HARLEQUIN
DUCK that has favored the St. Mary's jetty most of the winter and was
seen there as recently as March 29, N. GANNETS (30 on 3/28), and
LAUGHING GULLS (160 on 3/28). " Birding Cape May Point" meets every
Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the
Cape May Point State Park , and "Mondays at The Meadows" meets every
Monday at 7:30 a.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard --
two great ways to witness this and other late winter/early spring
OSPREY are back at nearly every nest site now. RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS are
back at their nest sites. GREAT HORNED OWLS have fairly sizable young
now, they being the earliest nesting birds.
Expect PIPING PLOVER on beaches. 8 were at Two Mile Beach on March 25.
200-300 TREE SWALLOWS were over a pond near Millville on March 30. At
the CMBO Center in Goshen a pair inspected nest boxes on March 24 and on
the 25th four birds were doing courtship flights. If you haven't
readied your nest boxes, you'd better scramble! Bluebirds, American
Kestrel, Carolina Chickadees, and other hole-nesting birds are all
NJ Audubon's incredible 3-day Cape May Spring Weekend will be held May
21-23. To learn more & download a registration form, go to NJ Audubon's
web site at:
SHORT-EARED OWLS winter here and will soon be gone. One continues to be
seen at Jakes Landing and was seen on the last "Nighfall at Jakes
Landing" walk on March 28.
The spring's first BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN was seen March 26 off Cape May
Point. When temperatures climb to 55 degrees F. or higher, expect
butterflies! GRAY HAIRSTREAK (March 27 at CMBO in Goshen), HENRY'S
ELFIN (1st seen March 21 in Belleplain), SPRING AZURE (1st seen March
15), MOURNING CLOAKS, QUESTION MARKS, E. COMMA, SULPHURS and CABBAGE
WHITES (since March 24) have all been seen on warm days. Red Maples are
flowering and, once the rain stops and the temperatures rise, will draw
in hungry butterflies, being the only nectar available in early spring.
On March 26, RIBBON SNAKE, GARTER SNAKE, WOOD FROG, LEOPARD FROG, GREEN
FROG, SPRING PEEPER, AND PAINTED TURTLE were all enjoyed on either the
State Park trails or at the Rea Farm. A MUSK TURTLE was sunning on
March 28 at Turkey Point. Daffodils are blooming; lilac is budding.
To learn of the Monarchs' migration north, go to Journey North's very
educational site at:
Another excellent site is Monarch Watch:
Additional walks (requiring no preregistration) that will help you savor
spring unfolding include: Every Friday, "Higbee Beach Bird Walk"
(7:30-9:30 a.m.) meets in the parking lot at the west end of New England
Road. Every Saturday, "Spring Migrants at the Rea Farm" (7:30-9:30
a.m.) meets in the parking lot on Bayshore Road. Every Sunday, "Hidden
Valley for Birds & Butterflies" (7:30-9:30 a.m.) meets in the small
clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England road, 0.3 miles
past the intersection with Bayshore Road. Every Sunday, "Birding for
First Timers" (1:00-3:00 p.m.) meets at the Wildlife Viewing Platform at
the Cape May Point State Park. Every Tuesday, "Spring at Two Mile Beach"
(7:30-9:30 a.m.) meets at the last parking area on the left in the
refuge, which lies to the east of Ocean Drive just south of Wildwood
CMBO will next teach the "Nikon School of Birding" April 23-25, Friday
through Sunday. This workshop is designed to help birders of all
experience levels build better birding skills. Call 609-861-0700 or
stop by either center to request the Nikon School of Birding brochure.
CMBO's complete listing of "2004 Cape May Birding Workshops" is now
posted on New Jersey Audubon's web site:
The Cape May Bird Observatory offers many, many other programs than
those briefly mentioned here. CMBO's SPRING Program Schedule can be
read in full at:
http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html and is available at
either center (or request a copy be sent; call 609-861-0700).
New Jersey's first Purple Martins was seen in Vineland on March 24.
Make sure your Martin housing is in order & ready to go! To learn more,
go to the Purple Martin Conservation Organization's site at:
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are coming too! One was seen as close as
northern Virginia! To learn more, go to:
CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!
Two dates are set to erect fencing for Beach Nesting Birds: (1) Saturday
April 17 at Barnegat Light (meet 10 a.m. at Barnegat Light State Park
parking lot) and (2) Sunday April 18 at Stone Harbor Point (meet 1 p.m.
at municipal parking lot at southern end of Stone Harbor Borough). Held
rain or shine, unless really nasty rain! Please RSVP to Todd Pover at
609-628-2103 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to help out. Directions
available from Todd if needed.
Want to help the Red Knots as they concentrate on our beaches along the
Delaware Bay this spring? Sign up as a Shorebird Steward (full details
on back page of CMBO's Spring Program schedule). A training session
will be held in early May and a stipend will be paid to those who
complete the training and work at least 3 days. Contact Larissa Smith
(609-628-2103) to apply or send a letter of interest (and resume if
available) to Larissa Smith, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, 2201
Route 631, Woodbine, NJ 08270.
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 around Cape May County, and also
include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are
typically made on Thursdays. Natural history sightings can be written
on sighting sheets at either CMBO center or called in to 609-861-0700.
Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!
New Jersey Audubon Society's
Cape May Bird Observatory
Center for Research & Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609-861-0700, x-16 (phone) / 609-861-1651 (fax)