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Cape May Natural History Hotline - 4/15/2005
CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, April 15, 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 Friday, April 15, and will next be updated on April 28. 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).

The exhibit Fledgling Masters is currently on display in the Gallery at the CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North). The exhibit includes young artists from around the country, ranging in age from 13 to 22, and will run until June 17. The reception will be May 22 (1-3 p.m.). Jesse Barry, Evan Obercian, and Cape Mays own Doyle Dowdell (age 13) are some of the many artists. Dont miss it; open 9-4:30 daily. Stop by and be awed by this assemblage of young talent.

A call for volunteers can be found at the end of this hotline.

Dont miss a moment of spring unfolding! Attend one or all of CMBOs 17 different weekly spring walks, requiring no preregistration. For details on each walk, go to the end of this hotline or to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

Mark Garlands jump start on spring Weekend Field Trip to Chincoteague, April 23-24, still has a few spaces. Call 609-861-0700, x11. 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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/SpringWeekend.html Once youve read over the brochure, direct any questions to Sheila Lego or Marleen Murgitroyde at 609-884-2736

COMMON LOONS are in dazzling breeding plumage. A migrant was heard calling as it passed over Goshen. Numbers of Red-throated Loons can be found at the mouth of the Delaware Bay as they stage here before migrating north. The Concrete Ship is a great vantage point for loons and other migrants like N. GANNETS. CMBOs Sunday, April 17 (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) Cruisin for Loons trip still has a few spaces. To register call 609-861-0700, x-11.

Another opportunity to savor loons before they migrate north, if you cant make the Cruisin for Loons trips, are the Back Bay Boat Cruises (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) every Monday beginning April 18. To register call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100. Sunday trips begin April 24.

There was a feeding frenzy of 135 N. GANNETS in the Delaware Bay, 3-4 miles off East Point, on April 12.

An amazing 54 pairs of breeding BALD EAGLES are being monitored in New Jersey this spring. New nests continue to be found. Chicks have hatched at 29 nests with some young already 5 weeks old, while others are newly hatched. Activity at the nest at Beaver Swamp WMA, just up Sluice Creek from CMBO in Goshen, changed on April 12. The adult was no longer sitting low and early out of sight on the nest. Instead it was walking around the nest rim, and bending down as if to tear food apart to feed newly hatched young. Nesting Bald Eagles are very territorial. There are still many wandering immature Bald Eagles in NJ. One of the Beaver Swamp adults drove an immature out of the area on April 12. On April 14, one adult returned to the nest at 6:30 p.m. by flying low over CMBO.

74 OSPREY were counted along the Maurice River on April 12. This incredible concentration is largely due to the heroic efforts of members of Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River. This group has mastered the art of erecting Osprey nest platforms. Some Osprey are on eggs, others were mating, and some are still working on their nests.

BROAD-WINGED HAWKS returned to Belleplain State Forest on April 7. On April 9, a WILD TURKEY was seen south of the Cape May Canal, while another was a yard bird at CMBOs center in Goshen.

CLAPPER RAILS and SEASIDE SPARROWS, both vocal species, arrived April 10 to our saltmarshes. Clapper Rail Madness on Friday, April 22 (2:30-4 p.m.) meets at the end of Jakes Landing Road. Others are scheduled at low tide on April 29 (8-9:30 a.m.), May 6 (2:30-4 p.m.), and May 13 (8-9:30 a.m.)

The SNOWY OWL that lingered at Stone Harbor Point for 11 days or so (last seen April 11) ate at least 1 LAUGHING GULL (ascertained by dissecting a pellet)!

Shorebird numbers were exciting at Bivalve (in Cumberland County) on April 12: 40 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 160 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 130 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 1 WILLET, 13 LEAST SANDPIPER, 4,000 DUNLIN, 2 STILT SANDPIPER, 2 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and 1 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER. Gatherings of shorebirds often attract predators like the immature female Peregrine Falcon that was hunting them on April 12.

GLOSSY IBIS and many GREAT and SNOWY EGRETS have returned. Flocks might be seen traversing across the county, traveling from the Atlantic side to the Delaware Bay side.

In Belleplain State Forest on April 13 there were lots of PINE WARBLERS, as well as PALM and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, LOUISIANA and N. WATERTHRUSH. On April 9 and 10 eight species of warblers were found in Cape May County including N. PARULA and BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER.

Breeding warblers are arriving daily! CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops (15 different offerings) are timed to learn and savor peak concentrations. The 2-Day Warbler Workshop, May 9 & 10 (Monday & Tuesday) with Louise Zemaitis and Michael OBrien, still has spaces. To register call 609-861-0700, x-11. To receive the workshop brochure call 609-861-0700 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH are getting more and more golden each day. PURPLE MARTINS are back at some colonies (Cape May Point State Park) but not others.

On the butterfly front you can expect, on a warm day, to see MOURNING CLOAKS, SPRING AZURES, HENRYS and PINE ELFINS, and anglewings (Question Mark, E. Comma). The springs first emerging GRAY HAIRSTREAK was seen April 9. CARPENTER FROGS can be heard hammering at Beaver Swamp WMA. S. LEOPARD FROGS are also calling now. RED-BELLIED and PAINTED TURTLES can be found sunning. Theres a din of SPRING PEEPERS calling each evening. FORSYTHIA and DAFFODILS are in full bloom. On woodland trails TRAILING ARBUTUS is beginning to bloom.

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 register.

If youre itching to put in a butterfly & hummingbird garden or add to one, 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. Also be sure to frequently visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website. Additions are being made regularly, including the recent update of the article 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. The weeks list of native plants for sale at CMBOs Center for Research & Education can also be found on these pages at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

SHOREBIRD STEWARDS NEEDED: Red Knot need all the help they can get. Wintering numbers were 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. If you are aware of colonies (of any size) in Cumberland and Cape May counties, please contact Chris Kisiel (609-628-2103 or ckisiel@gtc3.com).

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. Every Saturday (6:30-8:30 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 Road. 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 (7:30-9:30 a.m.), Hidden Corners of Belleplain meets at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office, just off Rt. 550, west of Woodbine. 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 Tuesday (6 p.m. to dusk), Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point meets in the parking lot at the south end of Second Avenue in Stone Harbor. 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 Wednesday (7:30-10:30 a.m.), Birds of Peaslee WMA meets at the Belleplain State Forest Field Office, just off Rt. 550, west of Woodbine to explore this little know fabulous spot! Every Wednesday (4:30-6:30 p.m.), Nummys Island Bird Walk meets on the Nummys Island road shoulder just south of the free bridge on Ocean Drive after leaving Stone Harbor. 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. Shorebird & Horseshoe Crabs Galore, Thursday, May 19 (3 to 5 p.m.), Wednesday, May 25 (3 to 5 p.m.), Thursday, May 26 (3 to 5 p.m.), Friday, May 27 (3 to 5 p.m.), and Saturday, May 28 (3 to 5 p.m.). Cruisin For Chicks at Sunset, Thursday, June 16 (3 to 6 p.m.), and Saturday, June 18 (5 to 8 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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

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 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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