Cape May Natural History Hotline - 4/29/2005

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 29. 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).

Fledgling Masters are on display in the Gallery at the CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North), including young artists from around the country (ages 13 to 22): Jesse Barry, Evan Obercian, and Cape Mays own Doyle Dowdell (age 13) are some of the many artists. Dont miss it: 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.

Spring has FLOODED into every nook and cranny of Cape May County. A din of songsters on territory adds an auditory bonus to any outing! Belleplain State Forest, hotspots in Cumberland County, and sites around Cape May abound with singing warblers, vireos, flycatchers, cuckoos, and other goodies! And the trees have not leafed out yet, so observers are savoring good looks. Attend one or all of CMBOs 17+ different weekly spring walks, requiring no preregistration. For details on each walk, go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

Marshes are greening up! BALD EAGLES (49 pairs in NJ) have growing young that are beginning to peek over the nest edge and be visible. Many OSPREY are incubating eggs, others are about to. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back at habitats complimented by feeders. Males arrived first in a flood of sightings around April 19; females followed just this week. With so little in bloom right now, feeders are the key to getting them to nest in your yard. The male display flight has been seen in Goshen, so females could soon be on nests. The first PIPING PLOVERS laid eggs April 18 at Stone Harbor Point and Cape May Point State Park. TREE SWALLOWS are investigating houses. PURPLE MARTINS are thick at the Cape May Point State Park. The faint calls of E MEADOWLARKS and WHIMBREL and the din SEASIDE SPARROWS buzzing, CLAPPER RAILS clapping, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS konk-a-reeing, WILLET wee willit-ing, and FORSTERS TERNS kerr-ing fills the marshes at Jakes Landing and other Delaware Bayshore spots. N. GANNETS are migrating by in force, with 150 off Cape May Point on April 22.

The trees are all in the early stages of leafing out. The landscape is gauzy green. BATS are flying at dusk. FROGS are noisy now. Listen for CARPENTER FROGS hammering nails (or typing) at Beaver Swamp WMA and FOWLERS TOADS wailing (just about anywhere). 100s of BLUE CORPORALS have emerged and can be found cruising sand roads. 100s of SPRING AZURES have emerged and can be seen as one walks sand roads or field trails. It is a good year for FALCATE ORANGETIPS, with easy looks since April 18 at Beaver Swamp WMA and Peaslee WMA. BROWN ELFINS, HENRYS ELFINS, and JUVENALS DUSKYWINGS are flying at Peaslee WMA and Jakes Landing Road. AMERICAN COPPERS and PEARL CRESCENTS have emerged. AMERICAN LADIES have arrived from the south and are laying eggs in CMBOs garden in Goshen and elsewhere. WHITE M HAIRSTREAKS can occur in the spring, but are rarely seen. One was at Jakes Landing Road near the overgrown field on April 28. What are all these spring butterflies nectaring on? Believe it or not, Dandelion is an important spring nectar plant, as is Purple Dead Nettle, another often unappreciated weed.

This Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., stop by the CMBO Center in Goshen where the Annual Plant Swap and Native Plant Sale for Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens will be held. Bring potted up divisions from your most vigorous or volunteer trees and shrubs and go home with new gems that others are sharing. Have no plants to bring? No problem. Plants will be available for $2 each, with a limit of three per person, until 1 p.m. During the last hour (1-2 p.m.) there will be no limit and you can buy as many plants as you want for $2 each! What a steal! Native trees and shrubs and perennials will also be on sale, as they are every day at CMBOs Center for Research & Education in Goshen. Visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website for additional information: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

Mark Garlands Introduction to Wildflower Identification this Sunday (May 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., based at the CMBO Center in Goshen) still has room. Learn to ID the many wildflowers that are keeping newly arrived Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and the early butterflies alive! Pat Sutton & Rick Radis Hessels Hairstreaks, Elfins, and Pigmy Pines trip on Saturday, May 7 (10 a.m. to 3 pm., based at Warren Grove) still has a few spaces. The din of bird and frog song now, day and night, is the ultimate spring experience. Learn just what youre listening to by joining Mark Garland and Chris Vogel for Listening to the Night on Monday, May 9 (9 to 11 p.m., based at Jakes Landing). To register for these specially arranged outings, held at key times to witness special happenings, call 609-861-0700, x11.

The aerial parade of herons, egrets, and ibis has begun! 100 GLOSSY IBIS were feeding at Beaver Swamp WMA on April 26; they pass over the CMBO Center in Goshen daily. The Nummys Island Bird Walk on April 27 witnessed 1000s of flushed shorebirds in wavy lines along the length of the horizon over inaccessible back bay marshes, undoubtedly flushed by a PEREGRINE. COMMON LOONS, some in full breeding plumage and others still in winter plumage, were also seen. Noisy AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS stole the show until 70 WHIMBREL flew over. Two Wednesday evening Sunset Cruises for Spring Migrants and Heron Rookeries on May 11 and May 18 (3 to 7 p.m.) explore these inaccessible back bay marshes where all these goodies can be enjoyed up close and personal. To register call 609-861-0700, x11. Another opportunity to cruise through marshes is the Back Bay Boat Cruise (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) every Sunday and Monday. To register for the Back Bay Boat Cruises call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100.

CLAPPER RAILS bathing in creeks at low tide are being seen during the Clapper Rail Madness trips which meet at the end of Jakes Landing Road: May 6 (2:30-4 p.m.) and May 13 (8-9:30 a.m.). No preregistration needed; just come!

Breeding warblers are back! A 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. This is one of CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops (15 different offerings) all timed to learn and savor peak concentrations. To receive the workshop brochure call 609-861-0700 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

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

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).

Special programs and field trips in addition to those already mentioned follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to register):

Shorebird & Horseshoe Crabs Galore, Th., May 19 (3 to 5 p.m.), Wed., May 25 (3 to 5 p.m.), Th., May 26 (3 to 5 p.m.), Fri., May 27 (3 to 5 p.m.), and Sat., May 28 (3 to 5 p.m.).

Cruisin For Chicks at Sunset, Th., June 16 (3 to 6 p.m.), and Sat., June 18 (5 to 8 p.m.).

Drawing With Nature (Saturdays: May 28, June 25, July 30, Aug. 27).

Dragons & Damsels in CMBOs Gardens, Saturday, June 18 (10 a.m. to Noon)

Kayak Trips to Wild Areas Great Cedar Swamp (Tu., June 21), Bidwells Creek (Th., July 7), East Creek Lake and Pickle Factory Pond (Tu., July 26, and Tu., Aug. 16).

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 stop at either CMBO Center, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site: 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!

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)
pat.sutton AT njaudubon.org

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