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 Thursday, April 25. 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!
Combo's first Wednesday "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" on April 24 enjoyed
excellent looks at five of the spring ethereal butterflies: PINE ELFIN,
HENRY'S ELFIN, BROWN ELFIN, and FROSTED ELFIN, COBWEB SKIPPER, and many, many
JUVENAL'S DUSKYWING. Hotspots were Old Robbins Trail off Jakes Landing
and Dennisville railroad tracks. TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, BLACK SWALLOWTAIL, and SPICEBUSH
SWALLOWTAIL, E. TAILED BLUE, SPRING AZURE, PEARL CRESCENT, both AMERICAN
LADY & PAINTED LADY, the springs first COMMON BUCKEYE & VICEROY, and
SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPERS were all seen this week. Higbee Beach, the Rea
Farm, Beaver Swamp WMA, and just about any place that is good for birds
is also good for butterflies right now! Or plan to join CMBO's weekly
"Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" (10 a.m. - Noon), meeting EVERY Wednesday,
April 24 to May 29, at the end of Jakes Landing Road. A LUNA MOTH was
found in the Villas and SNOWBERRY CLEARWING (one of the Hummingbird
Moths) was enjoyed at Higbee Beach and another in Eldora. Numbers of
MANTLED BASKETTAILS and BLUE CORPORAL SKIMMERS were seen this week at
Jakes Landing, Old Robbins Trail, and in Belleplain State Forest.
Several COMMON GREEN DARNERS were also seen this week.
The first BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN were seen mid-April and by the 22nd
already putting on a grand show off Cape May and Cape May Point's
Migration is in full swing. Many woodlots are filling up with male
songbirds on territory that arrived the night before. Overhead during
the day the migration has been very visual with wavy lines of
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT for the last few weeks, flocks of GREAT BLUE
HERONS coming in off the Delaware Bay since about April 18th, and COMMON
LOONS high overhead in ones and twos and sometimes larger loose flocks
for the last few weeks.
HERONS and EGRETS are back. Flocks of GLOSSY IBIS and flocks of GREAT EGRETS
and SNOWY EGRETS are regular now dotting the skies as they cross back
and forth across the Cape May peninsula. Some of the GLOSSY IBIS flocks
are taking advantage of recent rains and feeding in wet farm fields in
Goshen along with fair numbers of CATTLE EGRETS.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were suddenly everywhere this week. Reports
came in from a number of yards with feeders and backyard habitats all
over Cape May County on April 20 and 22. This was a strange spring
where the first was seen April 13 at the CMBO Center in Goshen, but not
again until April 22. Normally the first arrival stays and sets up
shop. Males arrive first and immediately become territorial. The
spring's first female was seen April 23 at the CMBO Center in Goshen and
has been here ever since, along with at least one male. Many of the
plants hummingbirds are attracted to are IN BLOOM: Joponica or Flowering
Quince, Highbush Blueberry, Autumn Olive, many fruit trees,
Large-flowered Vetch, and Wild Columbine. Be sure to hang your
hummingbird feeders if you haven't already. And also be sure to
maintain them. When our resident hummingbirds arrive, their activity
will not drain the feeders. So, clean your feeders thoroughly EVERY
week (even if your feeder is still full) and 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 gardening for hummingbirds & butterflies, be sure to read "How to
Create a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden," by Pat Sutton, posted on NJ
Audubon's web site at:
Also make a note that CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North) has
WILDLIFE GARDEN PLANTS FOR SALE now through October, EVERY DAY,
including many trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials that are hard to
find elsewhere. Stop by to see the selection, which changes weekly. A
few of this week's sale items include: EASTERN RED CEDAR (30+ birds feed
on the berries and Juniper Hairstreaks lay their eggs on this),
ARROWWOOD VIBURNUM, SOUR GUM, BLACK CHOKEBERRY, CORAL HONEYSUCKLE
(hummers!), HOPS (Question Marks lay their eggs on this), CATMINT, WILD
COLUMBINE (hummers!), STINGING NETTLE (Red Admirals lay their eggs on
this), and GARDEN PHLOX. If you'd like to be e-mailed as wildlife
garden plants "for sale" are delivered to CMBO, send CMBO (600 Route 47
North, CMCH, NJ 08210) your e-mail address and ask to be added to this
outgoing e-mail message list. Also, plan to take advantage of CMBO's
"5th Annual Plant Swap & Plant Sale for Backyard Habitats" on Saturday,
April 27, from 10 a.m. to Noon. This is a great cost-free way to start
your first garden or expand on an already existing garden. Pot up and
bring extra perennials in your wildlife garden (or trees, shrubs, vines)
& bring them. Three of your plants will go into the plant swap and you
will get a certificate redeemable for a new (to you) plant for each
additional plant you bring.
CMBO's "Cruise'n for Loons" on April 20 enjoyed a number of COMMON LOONS
in full breeding plumage in the Cape May Harbor and back bay waterways
(seen by boat from "The Skimmer"), N. GANNETS feeding in the Delaware
Bay -- still some adults but also lots of immatures (seen from the
Concrete Ship), pairs of OSPREY on many nest platforms, and lovely looks
at 20 WHIMBREL, many paired up AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, and hundreds of
DUNLIN and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER in the marshes and salt ponds behind
Wildwood Crest (enjoyed by boat from "The Skimmer"). RED-THROATED LOONS
were absent at the Concrete Ship in the Delaware Bay waters, where
normally at this time of year there would be hundreds. The warm waters
must have triggered an early departure this year.
Many of CMBO's spring walks have been underway since April 1 and quite a
spring it's been. The trickle of new arrivals has become a flood and
many breeding birds are now abundant during these walks.
The Belleplain State Forest walks are enjoying lots of YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS,
PINE WARBLER, PRAIRIE, BLACK-AND-WHITE, BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS & YELLOW WARBLERS, COMMON
YELLOWTHROATS, OVENBIRDS, WHITE-EYED VIREOS, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, and
GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS. WORM-EATING, HOODED WARBLERS, and PROTHONOTARY
WARBLERS, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, and E. PHOEBES
have all arrived and are all in their usual haunts. 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
SEASIDE SPARROWS, often hard to see, are in full song now at places
like Goshen Landing, Jakes Landing, and on up the Delaware Bayshore.
Learn their call, and put some time in trying to see the singing male.
CLAPPER RAILS, WILLETS, and FORSTER'S TERNS are also thick in these
bayshore habitats and might be enjoyed along with YELLOW-THROATED
WARBLERS, N. HARRIER on territory, and more on CMBO's "Raptors &
Songbirds of the Delaware Bayshore walk, offered EVERY Sunday, now thru
May 26 (except May 12 & 19), from 8-10 a.m., meeting at the CMBO Center
for Research & Education, 600 Route 47 North, in Goshen.
PROTHONOTARY and YELLOW WARBLERS, WHITE-EYED VIREOS, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS
and more have been enjoyed during CMBO's "Spring Migrants of the Rea
Farm walk," offered EVERY Saturday, now thru June 8 (except May 11 &
18), from 7:30-9:30 a.m., meeting in the "The Beanery / Rea Farm"
parking lot on Bayshore Road (not the produce stand on Stevens Street).
PIPING PLOVERS and LEAST TERNS are back & being enjoyed along with many
other shorebirds and terns during CMBO's "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor
Point & Nummy's Island Walk," offered EVERY Tuesday, April 16 to June
11, from 6 p.m. to dusk, meeting in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot.
PALM WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, and PRAIRIE WARBLER, RED-SHOULDERED & BROAD-WINGED HAWK,
E. BLUEBIRD and more were all enjoyed this week during CMBO's "Hidden
Valley for Birds & Butterflies Walk," offered EVERY Sunday, now thru May
26 (except May 12 & 19), from 7-9 a.m., meeting in the small clamshell
parking lot on the south side of New England Road 0.3 miles east of
The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (also known as
the South Cape May Meadows) has been a hotspot this week to hear and see
AMERICAN BITTERN and VIRGINIA RAILS. Other goodies enjoyed there this
week include AMERICAN WOODCOCK (still displaying pre dawn), COMMON
SNIPE, SORA, and a Bottle-nosed Dolphin show off the beachfront. Join
Pete Dunne or CMBO Associate Naturalists when Pete is traveling, EVERY
Monday (thru June 24) for CMBO's "Birding with Pete Dunne walk," from
7:30-9:30 a.m., meeting at The Nature Conservancy's refuge parking lot
on Sunset Boulevard to enjoy this area.
The dawn chorus is a true din now. If you are struggling to sort out
bird song, join CMBO for our "Birding by Ear Walk" (7:30-9:30 a.m.) led
by Pat Sutton and meeting at the end of Jakes Landing Road EVERY
Wednesday, April 24 to May 29. A fun assortment of bird song was
enjoyed at a variety of habitats on the first walk: CLAPPER RAIL,
FORSTER'S TERN, SEASIDE SPARROW, WILLET, PINE WARBLER, PRAIRIE, and BLACK AND
WHITE WARBLERS, WHITE-EYED VIREO, and more!
2 GREAT HORNED OWLS nests in the area can still be enjoyed (first
discovered in early February). Each is a safe distance from disturbance
& in full view. The young owlets are getting quite large & beginning to
test their wings. Mom is sometimes at the nest and sometimes hidden in
nearby trees, now that the young are so large that they take up the
entire nest. Dad has been also on watch but unseen in nearby cover,
where Great Horned Owls normally spend their time -- HIDDEN. So this
rare opportunity to SEE one of our most secretive birds is a MUST. One
nest is in Avalon in an old Osprey nest on a platform (it has 1 chick)
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 second nest is
at Turkey Point (in Cumberland County) in an old Red-tailed Hawk's nest
visible from the viewing platform at the end of Turkey Point Road.
BALD EAGLES, our second earliest nesting bird, are also now feeding
young. In New Jersey, 22 pairs are busy with young. 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.
The forest is almost fully leafed out. Lots of color dots the road
shoulders. Shadbush, a small tree or large shrub, is in full bloom and
covered with small white blooms. It is so named since it blooms when
the Shad, a type of fish, are "running" or heading up the Delaware Bay
and river to spawn. This native tree is in bloom here and there along
the Garden State Parkway & other road sides in Cape May County.
Flowering Dogwood, Lilac, Highbush Blueberry (bell-like flowers attract
hummers), Autumn Olive (hummers like), Beach Plum, and Wild Columbine
are also all in bloom. Treat yourself to a visit to Higbee Beach WMA.
The trail straight out to the beach cuts through a forest of Beach Plum
bushes and is a fairyland of dainty white flowers. Look for spring
butterflies on the blossoms, Juniper Hairstreaks especially love Beach
Plum blossoms. In Belleplain State Forest Leatherleaf is in bloom
around the shores of Nummy's Lake and bright yellow Golden Club is in
full bloom in East Creek Lake.
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 as
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 13 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 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) -- "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.
EVERY Sunday (thru May 26, except May 12 & 19) -- "Raptors & Songbirds
of the Delaware Bayshore" (8-10 a.m.) meets at the CMBO Center for
Research & Education, 600 Route 47 North, in Goshen.
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.
EVERY Wednesday, April 24 to May 29 -- "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" (10
a.m. - Noon) -- Meet Pat Sutton at the end of Jakes Landing Road.
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
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 a field trip to the "Cape
May NWR's Great Cedar Swamp Division" on April 27, "Full Moon Over the
Meadows" outing with Mark Garland on April 27, a "Clapper Rail Madness"
field trip on May 3 (and another on May 10), 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 ONLY 6 places left) 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 call
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)