Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/16/2005

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 Thursday, June 16. The Cape May Birding Hotline is temporarily being included in this hotline in an abbreviated fashion. NJ Audubon's hotlines can be read in full on our website (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" (top of any page).

Due to a bookstore staff opening, CMBOs Northwood Center in Cape May Point will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but open otherwise (Thursday thru Monday), 9-4:30.

NEWS of NJ Audubons June 25th Whale Watch can be found at the end of this hotline.

The Stone Harbor Point beach nesting bird colony is doing very well this summer and includes 9 pairs of PIPING PLOVER (on 7 nests) with one brood of 3 chicks due to fledge on Fathers Day. On June 14 the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program counted 1,123 BLACK SKIMMERS (not yet on nests), 53 LEAST TERNS (34 on nests), over 1,000 COMMON TERNS (on nests hidden in the grassy higher beach), and nesting AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (with one growing chick being seen). At least 1 GULL-BILLED TERN is also being seen there. CMBOs 1-Day Tern Workshop on Wednesday, June 29 (held midweek to avoid summer traffic), is timed to learn and savor peak concentrations like those mentioned above. The nesting colonys frenzy of activity often pulls in regional rarities. To register call 609-861-0700, x-11 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

At Cape May Point the LEAST TERN colony is still growing. Good numbers of ROYAL TERNS (44 on June 10) are being seen, including some going through courtship. 3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS continue at Cape May Point, and 1-3 ROSEATE TERNS have been seen there June 10, 13, and 15.

240+ WILSONS STORM PETREL (including one raft of 200 birds) were seen in the middle of the Delaware Bay on June 14, along with 12 N. GANNETS.

VIRGINIA RAILS and LEAST BITTERN are nesting in the Meadows and being seen by keen observers. 4 BROWN PELICANS flew by the Meadows on June 13.

Nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS can be heard and seen at the Cape May Point State Park (1 pair), Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (1 pair), and at Higbee Beach (4 pairs). CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOWS are calling in Goshen and along Cape Island Creek each evening at 9:30 p.m. Bevan WMA in Cumberland County has a healthy breeding population of SUMMER TANAGERS and WHIP-POOR-WILLS this summer.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen over Cape May Point on June 15. A RED- HEADED WOODPECKER, flying southwest in the morning, passed over the Meadows on June 15. GRACKLES are already gathering at the Maurice River roost. Two flocks of migrating BLUE JAYS were seen June 14 over Cape May Point. A PINE SISKIN was at feeders in Eldora on June 10.

Many dragonflies are on the wing. On June 15, a pair of COMMON GREEN DARNERS in tandem laid eggs on Pickerelweed in CMBOs Dragonfly Pond in Goshen. Other visitors to the pond included a pair of BLACK SADDLEBAGS, a territorial CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS, lots of E. PONDHAWKS and BLUE DASHERS. At Cape May Point State Park NEEDHAMS SKIMMERS, COMMON WHITETAILS, and RAMBURS FORKTAILS were also seen this week.

long PREYING MANTIS young can be found in CMBOs Gardens in Goshen. BLACK SWALLOWTAIL caterpillars (some ready to go into a chrysalis and others just hatched) are on nearly every Fennel plant in CMBOs Gardens in Goshen. PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAILS emerged recently in a garden in Linwood. MONARCH sightings have been on the increase in the last few weeks, including several in Goshen and one laying eggs on COMMON MILKWEED in a garden in Cape May Point on June 15. A RED-SPOTTED PURPLE was seen this week in Goshen. 2 CABBAGE WHITES were seen in the middle of Delaware Bay on June 14. The Belleplain Butterfly Count will be held Thursday, June 23. If interested, contact Mark Garland (count coordinator). Participants can do one of two things: (1) Meet Mark Garland at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 23, at the CMBO Center for Research & Education (600 Route 47 North) in Goshen, or (2) Call Mark at (609) 898-3697 or e-mail to markgarl@dandy.net between June 19 and 22 to have an area in the count circle assigned to you ahead of time.

CMBOs next 2005 Cape May Birding Workshop focuses on Backyard Habitat. This 2-Day Backyard Habitat Workshop (Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26) will be taught by two long-time successful wildlife gardeners, Pat Sutton and Michael Pollock, at CMBOs Center in Goshen. It will be taught outdoors in the Model Backyard Habitat (and complimented by brief indoor sessions) and cover basics in-depth (food, cover, and water). Learn by seeing THE best plantings for wildlife and THE best maintenance practices in gardens full of wildlife. There are still openings. To register or for more information call 609-861-0700, x-11 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

Visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website for extensive information about gardening for hummingbirds & butterflies: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

TURTLES are laying eggs now, so crossing roads in search of the perfect site. SNAPPING TURTLES have been laying their eggs along the trails at the Cape May Point State Park. DIAMOND-BACKED TERRAPIN were laying eggs in the dunes at Stone Harbor Point on June 14. It is a big summer for BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN. Large numbers are being seen from beaches in Cape May County and especially at Cape May Point, since they breed in the Delaware Bay.

PICKERELWEED is beginning to bloom in CMBOs Dragonfly Pond and elsewhere. These flowers are magnets for butterflies! WATER LILIES are blooming in Lily Lake in Cape May Point for the first time in years. Historically Lily Lake had water lilies living in it until coastal storms flooded the lake with saltwater and the lilies died. ELDERBERRY is in full bloom in CMBOs gardens and elsewhere in the wild. JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE is in full bloom and intoxicating on damp evenings. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are likely to ignore your feeders while honeysuckle is in bloom, but theyll be back, so continue to maintain your feeders weekly (or at least every 3 days in extreme heat).

Many herons and egrets began nesting late. OSPREY chicks are hatching or have hatched. CLAPPER RAILS are busy with their second nesting attempt, having been flooded out by the May 23 record high tide. For a close up look at this vulnerable world of marsh nesting birds be sure to sign up for CMBOs special Cruisin For Chicks trip: Saturday, June 18 (5 to 8 p.m.). To register call 609-861-0700, x11. Or take one of the Back Bay Boat Cruises (10 a.m. to Noon) every Sunday and Monday. To register for the Back Bay Boat Cruises call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100.

CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are timed to learn and savor peak concentrations. Many of the summer workshops are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic. A 1-Day Butterfly Workshop on Wednesday, August 10, will study 36 species at one location! A 2-Day Shorebird Workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23-24, will enjoy more than 30 species in many plumages! To receive the workshop brochure (covering 13 workshops now through January 05) call 609-861-0700 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

NJ Audubons Weis Ecology Center still has room on the June 25 (Saturday) Whale Watch. The trip begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Weis Ecology Center, where the group boards an air-conditioned coach bus to Plymouth, MA. Upon arrival (after lunch) the group will board an 80 ft. double-decker boat to explore the Massachusetts Bay and Skellwagen Bank for whales, sharks, birds & more! The bus returns to Weis at 12:30 a.m. Cost: $75 for members, $90 for non-members. Call the NJAS Weis Ecology Center at 973-835-2160 for more details & how to register.

Witness breeding birds at the peak of their nesting season by attending one or all of CMBOs 4 different weekly June walks, requiring no preregistration. For details on each walk, go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

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

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

Kayak Trips to Wild Areas 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. The summer edition is now available too. 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!

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