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 Wednesday, April 10. The Cape May Birding Hotline
has moved to 609-898-BIRD (sorry for any inconvenience). NJ Audubon's
three hotlines can be read in full on NJ Audubon's web site
(http://www.njaudubon.org) by clicking on "Sightings" at the top of any page.
Now on with the hotline!
It was an odd week with a dusting of snow the morning of April 6 and 80
degree temperatures on April 9. Spring continues to unfold with new
arrivals each and every day, as winter birds can still be enjoyed.
CMBO just learned that 8 of the MONARCHS tagged here last fall (7 at
Cape May Point and 1 at Stone Harbor Point) were found in the winter
roosts in Mexico in February. The Monarchs that survived the winter in
Mexico mated and began migrating north mid-March. They laid eggs along
the way on milkweed and reached the Gulf States before they died.
Reports from Monarch Watch this week share that eggs laid March 11 in
McAllen, Texas, have just produced the first spring generation of adult
Monarchs (emerged on April 4). These adults will now continue the
migration north and perhaps reach our area, mate, lay eggs, and die . .
. and their eggs will create the next generation that will continue
further north, until Monarchs repopulate the entire eastern U.S. all the
way to southern Canada.
Journey North's web site details the northbound migration of Monarchs,
along with that of many other species. As of April 11, Monarchs have
been sighted far north as the middle of Missouri, one in Kentucky, and
up the Atlantic Coast to North Carolina. Follow their movement yourself
on Journey North's site:
So, a MONARCH discovered TODAY, April 10, by Jack Connor in Port
Republic, NJ, is a real surprise and who knows what it means . . .
perhaps a Monarch that successfully wintered further north than Mexico
(Florida, Texas, ? ? ?).
Other southern butterflies wandered north this week too, some highly
unusual (a Sleepy Orange) and some to be expected (Red Admiral). A
SLEEPY ORANGE was discovered today, April 10, just south of Goshen at
the Dennis Creek WMA in fields west of Route 47 (just north of the
Cardinal Acres development). Newly arrived RED ADMIRALS found a patch
of stinging nettle in a garden in the Villas on April 9 and laid eggs,
and one was in a backyard garden in West Cape May on April 8 & 9.
The warm temperatures have triggered some of our resident butterflies to
emerge from their winter sleep as chrysalides this week: AMERICAN
COPPERS (at a number of locations), HENRY'S ELFINS & E. PINE ELFINS (at Jakes
Landing and Beaver Swamp WMA on April 7), PEARL CRESCENT (Higbees on
April 7), E. TAILED BLUES (Dennis Creek WMA just south of Goshen on
April 10), and clouds of SPRING AZURES (almost everywhere you go).
And TICKS are out in force. Explore with caution & be sure to do a
thorough tick check of your person and your clothing after outings in
South Jersey. CMBO's two bookstores carry excellent books on ticks and
Lyme Disease. If you enjoy the outdoors, it is wise to be as educated
GREAT HORNED OWL chicks are large enough now that they can't be missed.
The Avalon nest seems to have 1 owlet and the Turkey Point nest has 2
that are obvious and possibly a third that is harder to see. This
hotline has been following the progress of these two nests since early
February when they were discovered. Great Horned Owls are our earliest
nesting bird. This is one time of year when you can EASILY see a Great
Horned Owl if you have discovered an active nest. Any nest should not
be approached. Luckily in the case of these two nests, they can be
viewed from public viewing platforms and are across water or out on the
marsh, so hopefully safe from those who don't know better. The nest in
Avalon is in an old Osprey nest on a platform left of a cedar island in
the backbay area and can be viewed from the 5th Avenue street end, just
off 20th Street. To reach this spot take the small bridge going west on
21st Street, then turn right onto 5th Avenue & go to the street end. The
Turkey Point nest (in Cumberland County) is in an old Red-tailed Hawk's
nest visible from the viewing platform at the end of Turkey Point Road.
Great Horned Owls are vocal again and being heard about 7:30 p.m. most
evenings. If you are hearing them call, you can be assured that they
are on a nest somewhere in your woods.
BALD EAGLES, our second earliest nesting bird, are also now feeding
young. In New Jersey, 34 pairs of breeding adults were monitored by
volunteers in February and March when many pairs worked on nests and
laid eggs. Some pairs never laid eggs, others abandoned nest sites. As
of April 5, 22 pairs are busy with young. An amazing success story when
we look back to 1982 when there was only one nest in the entire state.
One of the most easily viewed nests in the state is at Stow Creek, in
northwestern Cumberland County on the border of Salem County. This pair
began incubating February 23 and their young hatched on April 4. Be
sure to visit this nest now through June when the young begin to test
their wings. A viewing platform on Route 623, just north of Stow Creek,
offers an excellent view.
75 RED-THROATED LOONS were gathered at the mouth of the Delaware Bay
today, April 10. Each March & April, Red-throated Loons stage here
before migrating north. A trip to the Concrete Ship is a must; some are
close and feeding in the waters around the ship and in the waters
between the Concrete Ship and the Alexander Avenue jetty in Cape May
Point. Different tides bring the birds in closer, so if one visit is
birdless, keep revisiting. CMBO's popular "Cruisin' For Loons" trip
(Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) still has room. This trip will
drink in the concentration of Red-throated Loons at the Concrete Ship
and then hop on "The Skimmer" to explore the back bay waterways for
Common Loons. Past trips have been treated to loons in full breeding
plumage & some years calling birds. Join us for this special
preregistration trip. Call 609-861-0700 for more details or to
A trip aboard the Cape May Lewes Ferry right now is a must if you want
to get the look of a lifetime at N. GANNETS. The new ferry boats, as
they cross the Delaware Bay, are attracting several hundred gannets to
their wake. And the birds are close and right now include a mix of
adults and immatures. The birds are actively feeding, diving into the
churned up water in the boat's wake and successfully coming up with fish
or pieces of fish. Some days the birds are close to shore at Cape May
Point & can be savored easily from land.
Each spring Belleplain State Forest is a favorite hotspot. Many of the
forest's breeding birds are already singing on territory and each day
brings new arrivals. On territory this week were: lots of
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS (sounding like a slurred or drunk Yellow
Warbler), PINE WARBLERS (a slow musical trill on one pitch), BLUE-GRAY
GNATCATCHERS, and GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. Also heard were LOUISIANA
WATERTHRUSH, ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, and E. PHOEBES at their usual haunts.
The forest's first BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS and WHITE-EYED VIREOS, as
well as a calling BROAD-WINGED HAWK, were enjoyed today, April 10.
Explore this forest with CMBO naturalists (who know it intimately) EVERY
Thursday (thru May 30) and Saturday April 27, May 4, & May 25 on CMBO's
"Birds of the Deep South in Belleplain State Forest" (7:30-10:30 a.m.).
Walk meets at Belleplain State Forest Field Office, just off Rt. 550,
west of Woodbine.
WHIP-POOR-WILLS were heard calling at Leeds Point, north of Forsythe
(Brigantine) NWR this week.
PURPLE MARTINS are IN and hanging around the martin houses at Cape May
Point. They've still not arrived at CMBO's center in Goshen, but the
new martin house is open for business. The Purple Martin Conservation
Association's web site maps their movement north in their "Scout Arrival
E. BLUEBIRDS began building a nest today, April 10, in one of the
bluebird boxes in the meadow behind the CMBO center in Goshen.
CMBO's first "Raptors & Songbirds of the Delaware Bayshore Walk" on
April 7 enjoyed a field full of AMERICAN KESTREL (10 migrants), FIELD
SPARROWS, PINE WARBLERS, HERMIT THRUSH, and BLUEBIRDS, among other
goodies. This walk is offered EVERY Sunday (thru May 26, except May 12
& 19) and meets at 8 a.m. (walk goes til 10 a.m.) at the CMBO Center for
Research & Education, 600 Route 47 North, in Goshen.
Local BARRED OWLS have been active of late. Adults are no doubt on eggs
right now. An excellent web site that monitors a nest in western
Massachusetts noted the first egg on March 29. This site also includes
seasons past and an extensive sound library on Barred Owls various calls
and what the birds are doing when they make those calls:
NESTING BIRDS around the world that are monitored with cameras,
including the Barred Owl site just mentioned and many others in the
East, can be found on this fun site:
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are CLOSE if not already here. The wonderful
hummingbird web site: http://www.hummingbirds.net
shared sightings this week from southeastern Pennsylvania (4/7),
Delaware (4/9), and Maryland (4/8). All the plants that bloom when
hummingbirds are due are IN BLOOM: Joponica or Flowering Quince,
Highbush Blueberry, many fruit trees, and many weedy wildflowers. Be
sure to hang your hummingbird feeders if you haven't already. And also
be sure to maintain them. When our local hummingbirds do arrive, their
activity will not drain the feeders. So, take down your feeders each
week, clean thoroughly, and partially fill with fresh solution. Stop by
CMBO to see our full selection of easy-to-maintain feeders and to get
CMBO's handout on hummingbird feeder directions and maintenance.
Coupling a feeder with habitat and gardens is the key. If you are new
to hummingbird & butterfly gardening, be sure to read "How to Create a
Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden," by Pat Sutton, posted on NJ Audubon's
web site at:
CMBO is taking registrations for our very popular, annual CAPE MAY
SPRING WEEKEND (May 17-19), a 3-day event with walks beginning as early
as Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. and running straight through Sunday at 5
p.m. An incredible opportunity to savor spring to the fullest with
bird, butterfly, dragonfly, and botany walks running all weekend long at
a variety of famous hotspots, back bay boat trips, special programs and
workshops, book signings by local authors, special evening programs
(Friday's program is by Clay & Pat Sutton on the Galapagos and
Saturday's program is by Pete Dunne) and more. And the entire weekend
has multiple opportunities for the full range of expertise: beginners,
intermediates, and experts alike. Call CMBO to get a brochure
(609-861-0700 or 609-884-2736). NJ Audubon's web site has some details
about the weekend:
Other Cape May Bird Observatory SPRING Offerings include 8 different
weekly walks for birds, butterflies and gardens ("hitting" each of the
spring hotspots) that requires no preregistration; JUST COME! There is
a charge ($6 CMBO/ NJ Audubon member; $10 nonmember). Details follow:
EVERY Thursday (thru May 30) -- "Birds of the Deep South in Belleplain
State Forest" (7:30-10:30 a.m.) meets at Belleplain State Forest Field
Office, just off Rt. 550, west of Woodbine.
EVERY Thursday, April 25 to June 20 -- "Birds, Butterflies, and Their
Habitat" (1:00-3:00 p.m.) -- Meet Mark Garland in parking lot at Higbee
EVERY Friday (thru May 31, except May 17) --"Birds of Higbee Beach"
(7:30-9:30 a.m.) meets at Higbee Beach WMA parking lot at the west end
of New England Road
EVERY Friday (thru June 28, except May 10 & 17) -- "Garden Maintenance
Workshop" (9:30 a.m.-Noon) meets at the CMBO Center in Goshen (and is
FREE ... learn about wildlife gardening while you help tend the garden
with garden consultant, Karen Williams).
EVERY Saturday (thru June 8, except May 11 & 18) -- "Spring Migrants of
the Rea Farm" (7:30-9:30 a.m.) meets in the "The Beanery / Rea Farm"
parking lot on Bayshore Road (not the produce stand on Stevens Street).
Saturday April 27, May 4, & May 25 -- "Birds of the Deep South in
Belleplain State Forest" (7:30-10:30 a.m.) meets at Belleplain State
Forest Field Office, just off Rt. 550, west of Woodbine.
EVERY Sunday (thru May 26, except May 12 & 19) -- (1) "Hidden Valley for
Birds & Butterflies" (7-9 a.m.) meets in the small clamshell parking lot
on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles east of Bayshore Road,
and (2) "Raptors & Songbirds of the Delaware Bayshore" (8-10 a.m.) meets
at the CMBO Center for Research & Education, 600 Route 47 North, in
EVERY Monday (thru June 24) -- "Birding with Pete Dunne" (7:30-9:30
a.m.) meets at The Nature Conservancy's refuge parking lot on Sunset
EVERY Tuesday, April 16 to June 11 -- "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor
Point & Nummy's Island" (6 p.m. to dusk) meets in the Stone Harbor Point
EVERY Tuesday, April 30 to May 28 -- "Birding Hot Spot of the Week"
(7:30 to 9:30 a.m.) meets at Cape May Point State Park in the raised
EVERY Wednesday (thru June 26) -- "Birding Cape May Point" (7:30-9:30
a.m.) meets at the Cape May Point State Park in the raised picnic
EVERY Wednesday, April 24 to May 29 -- "Birding by Ear Walk" (7:30-9:30
a.m.) -- Meet Pat Sutton at the end of Jakes Landing Road.
Requiring preregistration & not to be missed !!! EVERY Sunday & Monday,
April 21 to June 30 (except May 19) join Captain Bob Carlough & explore
the back bays and marshes aboard the Skimmer, a 40-foot catamaran, on
CMBO-sponsored "Back Bay Birding by Boat" (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in
April & May; 10:00 a.m. to Noon in June). To register, call Wildlife
Unlimited at 609-884-3100.
CMBO's SPRING PROGRAMS "in full" (April through June 2002) are posted on
New Jersey Audubon's web site:
Some preregistration spring programs include an "Intermediate Birding
Course" with Vince Elia on April 13-14, a full day "Nature of
Belleplain" outing with Mark Garland on April 13, a "Cruisin' For Loons"
field trip & cruise on April 20, "Clapper Rail Madness" on April 26 (and
again on May 3 & May 10), CMBO's "5th Annual Plant Swap for Backyard
Habitat Plants" on April 27, a field trip to the "Cape May NWR's Great
Cedar Swamp Division" on April 27, "Full Moon Over the Meadows" on April
27, a "Warbler ID Mini-Workshop with Louise Zemaitis on May 4, a
"Hessel's Hairstreak in the Jersey Pine Barrens" field trip on May 4
with Pat Sutton, a "Sunset Cruise for Spring Migrants & Heron Rookeries"
on May 4, a full-day field trip exploring "Cape May Top to Bottom" with
Mark Garland on May 5, the "Cape May Century Run Team" (an official team
in NJ Audubon's World Series of Birding) with Pat Sutton on May 11, lots
of shorebird & horseshoe crab programs by mid-May, and much, much more!
To receive a copy of the spring schedule stop by either CMBO Center or
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 hotline. For more information
call 609-861-0700 or send a request for information to CMBO, 600 Route
47 North, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. 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.
The Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline is a service of New Jersey
Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory and details sightings from Cape May,
Cumberland, and Atlantic Counties and near shore waters. Updates are
made on Thursday evenings. Please report natural history sightings to
CMBO at 609-861-0700 or 609-884-2736. For the Cape May Birding Hotline
call 609-898-BIRD. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!
Patricia Sutton, Program Director
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)