Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/24/2005

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 23. 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, CMBO's Northwood Center in Cape May Point will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but open otherwise (Thursday thru Monday), 9-4:30.

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was a fly-over at Higbee Beach on June 23.

MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen June 14 over West Cape May and one over the Rea Farm on June 22.

WHITE-FACED IBIS and WHITE PELICAN were at Brigantine NWR on June 22.

RED KNOT arrived late this year and left late. Some never left for their Arctic tundra breeding grounds, including 115 at Stone Harbor Point on June 21. On June 21 Stone Harbor Point also held 37 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 3 WHIMBREL, 2 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 1 SANDERLING, 2 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and 12 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER.

High tides on June 20 amazingly spared the biggest part of the LEAST TERN COLONY at Stone Harbor Point. An adult ROSEATE TERN was there June

16 and June 21, and a first summer LITTLE GULL on June 16. CMBO's "1-Day Tern Workshop" on Wednesday, June 29 (held midweek to avoid summer traffic), still has room. The nesting colony's frenzy of activity often pulls in regional rarities. To register call 609-861-0700, x-11 or go to:


It's a tenuous life for beach nesting birds and saltmarsh nesting birds.

Super high tides associated with northeast winds washed away 6 of the 7 PIPING PLOVER nests at Stone Harbor Point on June 14 and 15. 3 young in the 1 remaining nest did survive! On June 21, 15 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER gathered at Stone Harbor Point - from failed nests? One pair of American Oystercatcher in Avalon is busy with their third nest attempt due to flooding tides. During CMBO's June 16 "Cruise'n for Chicks" trip many LAUGHING GULLS, COMMON TERNS, and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER were busy with a second nesting attempt. OSPREY nests seem to be doing very well with growing young. Every Tuesday evening, "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point" with Gail Dwyer and Jim Armstrong meets at 6 p.m. in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot.

Seawatching on June 21 from Stone Harbor Point resulted in 7 N. GANNET and 1 BROWN PELICAN. WILSON'S STORM PETREL have been easily seen from shore from Cape May Point June 19-21.

The first young BALD EAGLES to fledge in New Jersey were from the Dividing Creek nest on June 12, followed by a Camden County nestling on June 16, followed by 2 from a Cohansey River nest on June 17, followed by 4 more at the Heislerville and the Lake Lenape nests on June 21.

On June 18, SUMMER TANAGERS were found at the Cape May Point State Park and at CMBO's Center in Goshen, while a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at the Rea Farm.

CEDAR WAXWINGS are nomadic and often nest late in the season. A pair was building a nest in The Meadows parking lot on June 20. Noisy, nesting YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS can be enjoyed at Woodcock Lane in the Cape May NWR and in the overgrown field on Jakes Landing Road. BLUE GROSBEAK, ORCHARD ORIOLE, CHIPPING SPARROW, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD all nest at the CMBO Center in Goshen.

A migration of dragonflies was witnessed June 16 at Cape May Point and June 17 along the Delaware Bay beachfront (as they moved north) involving many SPOT-WINGED GLIDERS, BLACK SADDLEBAGS, and COMMON GREEN DARNERS. 100s of SEASIDE DRAGONLETS emerged this week. 100s of NEEDHAM'S SKIMMERS are flying now, along with CALICO PENNANTS, E. PONDHAWK, and SWAMP SPREADWINGS. Dragonflies are emerging daily from ponds. The keen observer can spot dozens of their shed skins on emergent vegetation.

SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL caterpillars can be found in curled up Spicebush leaves. Dozens of BLACK SWALLOWTAIL caterpillars are on Fennel, Parsley, and Queen Anne's Lace. Hairstreaks were absent on June 23 during the Belleplain Butterfly Count, but BOG COPPERS were abundant; 188 were counted in one bog. CMBO's "Bog Copper Bog Stomp," scheduled for Thursday, June 30 (10 a.m. til 4 p.m.), still has room. Call 609-861-0700 to register.

AMERICAN SNOUT, AMERICAN LADY, PAINTED LADY, COMMON BUCKEYE, RED-SPOTTED PURPLE, HACKBERRY EMPEROR, and APPALACHIAN BROWNS were all flying June 23. AARON'S SKIPPERS are out in force. The season's first RARE SKIPPER was seen June 23 in The Nature Conservancy's garden in Eldora. CECROPIA MOTHS are emerging now. One of CMBO's 2005 Workshops (many of which are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic) focuses on butterflies, the "1-Day Butterfly Workshop" on Wednesday, August 10 (held when 36 species can be studied 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:


TURTLES are laying eggs now. Many of their nests are being discovered and dug up by predators like Racoons and Foxes. HORSESHOE CRAB EGGS are hatching. On June 18 swollen eggs, the size of a pin head, as well as newly hatched and tailess Horseshoe Crabs (slightly bigger than the size of a pin head) were in the tideline, along with the shed skeleton of a young crab that had molted.

PICKERELWEED is in bloom in CMBO's Dragonfly Pond. ROSE POGONIA was in bloom along Cedar Swamp Creek during CMBO's June 21 Kayak Trip. COMMON MILKWEED and BUTTERFLY WEED are both blooming now. SWEETBAY MAGNOLIA blossoms are intoxicating now. CRANBERRY is in bloom and very ornamental. Freshwater creek edges are lined with dense stands of CARDINAL FLOWER. ELDERBERRY is in full bloom in CMBO's gardens and elsewhere in the wild. JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE blooms are waning and already RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are back at feeders. Continue to maintain your feeders weekly (or at least every 3 days in extreme heat).

Help maintain CMBO's Gardens in Goshen by joining Pat Sutton and other gardeners each Friday morning (9 a.m. till Noon) for the "Garden Maintenance Workshop."

CMBO's 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 CMBO's 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:


Visit the "World of Backyard Habitat" pages on NJ Audubon's website for extensive information about gardening for hummingbirds & butterflies:


Witness breeding birds at the peak of their nesting season by attending one or all of CMBO's weekly 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 register):

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

"Kayak Trips to Wild Areas "- Bidwell's Creek has 2 spaces left (Th., July 7), East Creek Lake and Pickle Factory Pond (Tu., July 26, and Tu., Aug. 16).

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.

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!

<< 6/16/2005   6/30/2005 >>