CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, May 6, 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, May 6. 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 first MONARCH was seen April 29 at Higbee Beach. This butterfly
is part of the first generation of Monarchs born from eggs laid by
Monarchs that wintered in Mexico and migrated north to the Gulf
States where they laid eggs and died. Migrant Monarchs will
repopulate this area and further north if they can find Milkweed to
lay their eggs on before they die. COMMON MILKWEED and BUTTERFLY WEED
(the orange milkweed) are just peeking through the ground. Amazingly,
Monarchs can find it! If you have no milkweed in your garden, the
CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North) is selling seed packets of
TROPICAL MILKWEED. Plant it and Monarchs will benefit!
Beaver Swamp WMA is a fun place in the spring, especially this spring
with the active BALD EAGLE nest. Just this past week 2 eaglets were
confirmed in this nest. If awake, they are easy to see now as they
lift their heads on wobbly necks and look out on their new world.
Often one or both of the adults are in attendance, tearing up food
for the kids. CARPENTER FROGS are thick there, hard to see, but easy
to hear (a hammering call). Look for GULL-BILLED TERNS (2 on April
29) hunting over the lily pads (these terns specialize in frogs). It
is a good year for FALCATE ORANGETIPS, and Beaver Swamp WMA has been
one of the better sites. Also seen there: PEARL CRESCENTS, E. TAILED
BLUES (5/1), SPRING AZURES, JUVENILES DUSKYWINGS, HENRYS ELFINS,
and100s of BLUE CORPORALS (dragonflies).
FROSTED ELFINS are flying now and it is looking like a good spring
for them, thanks to last summers rains and lush stands of WILD
INDIGO. A HESSELS HAIRSTREAKS was seen May 5 in the Pine Barrens.
Pat Sutton & Rick Radis Hessels Hairstreaks, Elfins, and Pigmy
Pines trip has been rescheduled to Sunday, May 8 (10 a.m. to 3 pm.,
based at Warren Grove). There are still spaces; call 609-861-0700 to
register (or just meet the group at Lucilles Diner on Rt. 539 in
Warren Grove at 10 a.m.). 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 Mon., May 9 (9 to 11 p.m., based at Jakes Landing).
To register call 609-861-0700, x11.
HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY is in bloom. Its bell-shaped flowers are an
important spring nectar source for RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS.
FLOWERING DOGWOOD is in bloom. RED MAPLE trees are glowing maroon now
since they are covered in seeds. Trees continue to leaf out, but not
fully yet. Just about everyones backyard feeder this past week was
adorned with one or several hungry ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS (migrants
passing through). WOOD THRUSH are back and singing their flute-like
song. GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS returned May 1 and have been noisy
since with their rolling call. GRAY CATBIRDS and HOUSE WRENS just
returned to backyards and can be heard calling.
100s, if not 1000s of GLOSSY IBIS are flying over the CMBO Center in
Goshen daily as they commute between good feeding sites at Beaver
Swamp WMA and along the Delaware Bay.
BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN are back in force; 50 were seen in the waters
around the Concrete Ship on May 5. Many N. GANNETS were migrating
north at the Concrete Ship on May 1.
Shorebirds are flooding in and just this week coming into full
breeding plumage! The May 4th Nummys Island Bird Walk (held every
Wednesday evening) enjoyed RED KNOT, RUDDY TURNSTONES, 100s DUNLIN
(all in high plumage), 50+ BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 70 WHIMBREL, noisy
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, lots of LITTLE BLUE HERONS, TRI-COLORED
HERONS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, visible CLAPPER RAILS, and COMMON
LOONS in the waterways. High tides push shorebirds to places like
Nummys Island where the marsh is higher, so if you visit on one tide
and do not see too much, be sure to head back at a different tide.
ATTENTION: The NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program will be
closing Delaware Bay beaches between May 14 and June 7, as they did
last spring in an effort to curtail disturbance to feeding shorebirds
(RED KNOT, etc.). As in 2004, road ends along the Delaware Bay will
be set up for wonderful viewing opportunities. This spring the bay
side (or back side) of Stone Harbor Point will also be closed between
May 14 and June 7 because this site is heavily utilized by roosting
shorebirds. The ocean side of the Point will remain open.
Two Wednesday evening Sunset Cruises for Spring Migrants and Heron
Rookeries on May 11 and May 18 (3 to 7 p.m.) explore 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.
A din of SEASIDE SPARROWS (electric-like buzzing), CLAPPER RAILS
(clapping), and WILLETS (wee-will-it, wee-will-it), along with the
faint calls of E. MEADOWLARKS (spring of the year) can be enjoyed
at Jakes Landing while watching the resident OSPREY incubating on the
roadside nest platform. 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 13 (8-9:30 a.m.). No
preregistration needed; just come!
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 fully 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:
Fun sightings from CMBO walks this week follow:
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Two Mile Beach (5/3). MARBLED GODWIT on a
Back Bay Boat Cruise aboard The Skimmer (5/3). LEAST TERNS,
CATTLE EGRET, WHIMBREL, and a PARASITIC JAEGER on Birding with Pete
Dunne with Pete on May 2. BARRED OWL, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, BLUE
GROSBEAK, BOBOLINKS, PRAIRIE WARBLERS, E. KINGBIRDS, WHITE-EYED
VIREO, and BLUE-HEADED VIREO at Higbee Beach (4/30).
A new spring walk, Exploring Cumberland, visits South Jerseys best
kept secrets in Cumberland County, the next county north of Cape May
County. Every Wednesday morning (7:30 to 10:30 a.m.) this walk on May
4 enjoyed: BALD EAGLE, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER,
WARBLING VIREO, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER,
KENTUCKY WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, SCARLET TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK,
ORCHARD ORIOLE, and NORTHERN ORIOLE.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back at habitats complimented by
feeders, including both CMBO Centers. Look for males performing their
pendulum swing flight over females. Be sure to thoroughly clean and
refill Hummingbird feeders at least once a week, even if full at
weeks end. Visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ
Audubons website for extensive information about gardening for
hummingbirds (& butterflies):
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
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. 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:
THE ultimate spring experience, NJ Audubons Cape May Spring Weekend
(May 20-22, 2005) is coming up! Call for the brochure (609-884-2736)
or print the downloadable pdf version from the website:
Once youve read over the brochure, direct any questions to Sheila
Lego or Marleen Murgitroyde at 609-884-2736
A number of volunteer opportunities follow:
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 is looking for volunteer
SHOREBIRD STEWARDS to cover NJs Delaware Bay beaches May 14-15 and
May 21 to June 5. Contact Larissa Smith (609-628-2103 or
LLSmith@gtc3.com) for more details and to sign up.
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already
mentioned follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to
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
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:
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!