Cape May Natural History Hotline - 4/9/2004

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 Friday, April 9. 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.

The massive concentration of staging scoters or sea ducks can still be seen from Cape May Point and the Concrete Ship. On April 9, about 1/4 of what had been there in March could still be seen. While scanning offshore for the scoters also enjoy the hundreds of RED-THROATED LOONS (staging at the mouth of the Delaware Bay), 100+ FORSTER'S TERNS (in breeding plumage now), 35+ BONAPARTE'S GULLS, and 40 PURPLE SANDPIPERS. Working along the beachfront around Cape May Point enjoy the female HARLEQUIN DUCK (still at St. Mary's Jetty on April 9). ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS were at the State Park on April 7. 4 PIPING PLOVER were on Cape May Point State Park's beachfront on April 6. "Cruisin' For Loons" on Sunday, April 25 (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), still has a few spaces (call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register). To experience birding south of the Cape May Canal each of the following walks meets at 7:30 a.m.: (1) every Friday, "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" meets in the parking lot at the west end of New England Road, (2) every Saturday, "Spring Migrants at the Rea Farm" meets in the parking lot on Bayshore Road, (3) every Sunday, "Hidden Valley for Birds & Butterflies" meets in the small clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England road, 0.3 miles past the intersection with Bayshore Road, (4) every Monday, "Mondays at The Meadows" meets at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, (5) every Wednesday, " Birding Cape May Point" meets in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park. If you're a beginner, join Mark Garland every Thursday for "Easy Birding" (9:00-11:00 a.m.), meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform in Cape May Point State Park.

Further north up the beachfront, Poverty Beach (at the north end of Cape May) and the Two Mile Beach Unit of the Cape May NWR (south end of Wildwood Crest) are also very birdy. GREAT CORMORANTS and LONG-TAILED DUCKS were enjoyed at Two Mile Beach on April 6. 5 male HARLEQUIN DUCKS were at Poverty Beach on April 7. Every Tuesday, "Spring at Two Mile Beach" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the last parking area on the left in the refuge, which lies to the east of Ocean Drive just south of Wildwood Crest.

On CMBO's Belleplain State Forest walks this week numbers of PINE & YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS are being heard and seen, as well as a few LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, a BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS. E. PHOEBE are regular at Sunset Road Bridge and behind the field office, places they have nested in the past. TREE SWALLOWS, RING-NECKED DUCKS, and WOOD DUCKS are at East Creek Lake. Nearby Jakes Landing Road also has Pine & Yellow-throated Warblers and nesting OSPREY. Treat yourself to Belleplain State Forest and nearby Peaslee WMA by joining CMBO Associate Naturalists on four weekly, 3-hour walks, 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, every Monday for the "Back Trails of Belleplain" walk, and every Wednesday for the "Birds of Peaslee WMA" 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 for these and other Cape May Birding Workshops, go to NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html The "2004 Cape May Birding Workshop" brochure will reach CMBO members shortly. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to request a free copy of this brochure.

125 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER were at Stone Harbor Point and Hereford Inlet on April 7. GLOSSY IBIS, night herons, and egrets are flyovers daily now. Saltmarshes are filling up with these herons and egrets, Clapper Rails, terns, sparrows, and shorebirds. Three excellent opportunities to see the riches of the marshes follow: (1) every Tuesday, "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island" meets at 6:00 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot at the south end of Stone Harbor, (2) every Wednesday, "Nummy's Island Bird Walk" meets at 4:30 p.m. on the Nummy's Island road shoulder just north of the toll bridge by the first "Speed Limit 50" sign (take North Wildwood Boulevard to Ocean Drive; cross toll bridge -- ignore "Bridge OUT" sign), (3) Friday, April 16, "Clapper Rail Madness" meets at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the end of Jakes Landing Road, near Dennisville.

Temperatures in the 70s on April 7 resulted in dozens of SPRING AZURES, a few MOURNING CLOAKS, an anglewing, 20 HENRY'S ELFINS, and BEE FLIES in Belleplain State Forest. The Henry's Elfins were mostly on Tom's Field Road. TRAILING ARBUTUS is in bloom on woodland trails in Belleplain State Forest. DAFFODILS and FORSYTHIA are in bloom. Some fruit trees are beginning to bloom. FLOWERING QUINCE is in bud and will attract hummingbirds as soon as it blooms! RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS arrived in southeast PA on April 7 and in NJ on April 8 & 9. To learn more, go to: http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html

SHADBUSH is leafing out. SPICEBUSH is in bud. Cape May County's first PURPLE MARTIN arrived at the Cape May Point State Park martin housing on April 9. A CHIMNEY SWIFT was seen at Jakes Landing on April 8. Red Maples are flowering and drawing in hungry butterflies, being the only nectar available in early spring. Every Wednesday, a "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" with Pat Sutton meets at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot at the end of Jakes Landing Road, near Dennisville. To learn of the Monarchs' migration north, go to Journey North's very educational site at: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/spring2004/monarch/index.html Another excellent site is Monarch Watch: http://www.monarchwatch.org/update

If you are eager to make your backyard more attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, birds, and wildlife in general, CMBO has just the selection of workshops for you. On April 17, Pat Sutton and Karen Williams will teach a day of "Backyard Habitat Mini-Workshops" designed for beginners at the CMBO Center in Goshen. Sign up for all 3 one-hour workshops or just one or two. "Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardening" is offered at 9:00 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.. "Basics of Backyard Habitat" is offered at 10:30 a.m. and again at 3:00 p.m. "Designing a Wildlife Habitat" is offered at Noon. Slide presentations will feature backyard gardens and key plants! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register or learn more! Too, don't miss CMBO's 7th Annual Plant Swap for Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens on April 24 (call 861-0700).

CMBO welcomes gardeners (no experience necessary) in our wildlife gardens at the Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). Join Karen Williams each Friday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, for a weekly "Garden Maintenance Workshop," where you work in the garden while learning from Karen about gardening for wildlife while maintaining CMBO's gardens. 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.

"FINE FEATHERS: Selected Works of Prominent North American Bird Artists" is now on display at CMBO's Center in Goshen (open daily: 9-4:30) featuring works by John Sill, Sophie Webb, Julie Zickefoose, Keith Hansen, Jonathan Alderfer, Mimi Hoppe Wolf, and Cynthia House to name a few!

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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Centers/CMBO/SpringWeekend.html

CMBO will 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.

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).


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 bnb@gtc3.com 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!

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