CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, June 2, 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 2. 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).
FLOWERING DOGWOOD, LILACS, VIBURNUMS, and CHOKEBERRIES are all in
full bloom in CMBOs gardens in Goshen and elsewhere. CORAL
HONEYSUCKLE is raging red with loads of blossoms at the CMBO Center
in Goshen and attracting hungry hummingbirds. TULIP TREE blossoms are
drawing in hungry ORCHARD ORIOLES.
The first wave of HORSESHOE CRABS came onto the Delaware Bay beaches
to lay eggs on May 10th, just after the New Moon. On May 23, the Full
Moon high tide resulted in hundreds if not 1000s of animals laying
eggs. The New Moon on Monday, June 6, will trigger the next big egg
laying. Full and New Moon tides are higher than normal tides and
enable the crabs to get way up on the upper beach where they prefer
to lay their eggs. The bulk of the crabs are using the evening high
tide as opposed to the day time high tide. Evening high tides along
the Delaware Bay beaches leading up to, during, and after the New
Moon follow: 6:40 p.m. (June 2), 7:30 p.m. (June 3), 8:15 p.m. (June
4), 9 p.m. (June 5), 9:40 p.m. (June 6), 10:15 p.m. (June 7), 11 p.m.
(June 8), 11:40 p.m. (June 9).
Amazing numbers of shorebirds are still here but may leave any day.
The NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program flies both sides of the
Delaware Bay once a week from early May to early June. Their May 24
flight tallied 141,425 shorebirds including 15,345 RED KNOT, 43,000
RUDDY TURNSTONES, 56,000 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and 12,765
SANDERLING. Their June 1 flight still had big numbers: 116,330
shorebirds (including 8,600 RED KNOT, 42,200 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 58,300
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and 6,675 SANDERLING. RED KNOTS have been
roosting at Stone Harbor Point and on Champagne Island in Hereford
Inlet. One observer counted 20,000 there the same day that the aerial
flight tallied 15,345. Apparently they are feeding on mussel spat at
Stone Harbor Point, a food source that is not always available each
year. RED KNOT from Argentina only arrived in the last week.
The female RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD on a nest at the CMBO Center in
Goshen (within view of one of the feeders) seems to still be
incubating. The nest was found May 9. Incubation is 11-14 days, and
young fledge 14-28 days later. So, were keeping a close eye on it.
CORAL HONEYSUCKLE is in full bloom at the CMBO Center in Goshen and
attracting nectaring Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and ORCHARD ORIOLES.
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):
53 pairs of nesting Bald Eagles have been monitored all spring in NJ.
36 nests have produced 53 chicks (some nearly ready to fledge). 10
nests are impossible to monitor. And 7 nests failed this year. Two
sizable chicks (large and dark sitting up in the nest) can be seen
(easily with a telescope) on the Bald Eagle nest at Beaver Swamp WMA
(5 minutes from the CMBO Center in Goshen). One adult is almost
always in attendance in a nearby tree.
CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOWS are calling nightly in Goshen. PIPING PLOVER
chicks are due to hatch at some nest sites soon. GULL-BILLED TERNS
can be watched at Beaver Swamp WMA as they swoop low over the Water
Lily pads to catch frogs, their favored food. WILSONS STORM PETRELS
are being seen from the Cape May Lewes Ferry as they feed over the
Delaware Bay waters and by keen observers scanning from shore. While
scanning also look for BROWN PELICANS (6 on May 31 from St. Marys
Jetty in Cape May Point) and BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN (100 from the ferry
on May 31).
A MONARCH was seen May 31 at Heislerville. COMMON MILKWEED is over a
foot tall now, so easy for a female full of eggs to find. BLACK
LOCUST trees are blooming and very fragrant! WILD BLACK CHERRY trees
are blooming and rival any ornamental! FRAGRANT WHITE WATER LILIES
are blooming in freshwater ponds, like those at Beaver Swamp WMA.
MULTIFLORA ROSE is blooming and quite stinky, so its a great time to
easily spot this nonnative invasive problem plant that is crowding
out many of our natives. ARROWWOOD, Viburnum dentatum, is in full
bloom and quite showy. JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE is beginning to bloom, a
favorite with hummingbirds. So, if they disappear from feeders and
gardens for a spell, be aware that theyll be back once honeysuckle
flowers wane. CARPENTER FROGS are calling at Beaver Swamp WMA, and a
PINE BARRENS TREE FROG was calling in Belleplain State Forest near
the entrance to the Campground on May 22 at 8:30 p.m.
Super high tides during the Full Moon on May 23 undoubtedly washed
out many early nests of marsh birds like CLAPPER RAILS. These
resourceful birds can renest 5-6 times. Many birds are busy at their
marsh nests and a great way to witness this amazing time of year is
to 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.
Mark your calendars for the special Cruisin For Chicks trips:
Thursday, June 16 (3 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday, June 18 (5 to 8 p.m.).
These trips are timed to savor the marsh nesting birds with nests
full of young. To register call 609-861-0700, x11.
CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are timed to learn and savor
peak concentrations. The next workshop is the 2-Day Backyard Habitat
Workshop on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Many of the other
summer workshops are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic. A 1-Day
Tern Workshop on Wednesday, June 29, is timed when the nesting
colonies are a frenzy of activity and pull in regional rarities. 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:
Witness breeding birds at the peak of their nesting season by
attending one or all of CMBOs 4 different weekly early June walks,
requiring no preregistration. For details on each walk, go to:
Special programs and field trips in addition to those already
mentioned follow (prices vary: call 609-861-0700 for info and to
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: June 25, July 30, Aug. 27).
Dragons & Damsels in CMBOs Gardens, Saturday, June 18 (10 a.m. to
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:
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!