Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/2/2005

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): http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

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: 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):

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 Noon)

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!

<< 5/20/2005   6/9/2005 >>