Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/25/2004

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 updated on Friday, June 25, and will next be updated in 2 weeks on Thursday, July 8. 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 web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" at the top of any page.

A NEW exhibit, "Birds of the Seashore," by prominent North American bird artists is now on display at CMBO's Center in Goshen (open daily: 9-4:30). Stop by and be dazzled. A reception will be held Sunday, June 27 (2-4 p.m.).

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: New Jersey Audubon Society is recruiting competent volunteers to survey beaches from Cape May to Sandy Hook and along the Delaware Bay, and collect data on shorebird abundance (a collaborative effort with NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Manomet Center for Conservation Science). Participants must be able to identify shorebirds in fall plumage and be willing to visit sites @ 3 X month (July 15 - October 31). Additional training in identification and counting methodology will be provided by NJ Audubon in late June. If interested, contact Nellie Tsipoura (908-766-5787; Tsipoura@njaudubon.org).

CMBO's June 22 "Kayak Trip to Pickle Factory Pond and East Creek Lake" discovered 1000s of shed skins of dragonflies -- each bit of exposed wood was covered! Other wonders of the trip included zillions of adult dragonflies (CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS, E. AMBERWINGS, SLATY SKIMMERS, COMMON WHITETAIL, E. PONDHAWK, BLUE DASHER ...), an active BEAVER lodge on Pickle Factory Pond, blooming SWAMP AZALIA, SWEETBAY MAGNOLIA, PICKERELWEED, and BUTTONBUSH, loads of SPATULATE-LEAVED SUNDEW, vocal CARPENTER FROGS & GREEN FROGS, and an adult BALD EAGLE carrying an eel (from the direction of the Delaware Bay marshes) back to its nest deep in the forest behind East Creek Lake. Two other CMBO Kayak trips are planned to wild places: (1) Tuesday, July 27 ("Kayak Trip to Pickle Factory Pond & East Creek Lake"), and (2)Tuesday, August 17 ("Kayak Trip up Bidwell's Creek") -- no experience necessary!. To register for either (while spaces are still available), call 609-861-0700 (x-11).

CMBO's Dragonfly Pond in Goshen is buzzing with activity. COMMON GREEN DARNERS and CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS mating and laying eggs, TWELVE-SPOTTED & SLATY SKIMMERS cruising about. Emergent vegetation is covered with dozens and dozens of shed skins from recently emerged dragonflies. Shaw's Mill Pond in Cumberland County had BANDED PENNANTS on June 20.

June is egg-laying season for turtles and other reptiles. 25 female MUD TURTLES congregated along a sandy path at Jakes Landing to lay eggs on June 14. Quite a spectacle! If not discovered by hungry predators, they should hatch in 6-8 weeks. That will be another spectacle.

Young CLAPPER RAILS are traveling through the marshes now with the adults. A family group with four sizable young was seen June 24 on Hansey Creek Road in Cumberland County as they all swam across a creek. CMBO sponsored "Back Bay Birding By Boat" tours, every Sunday & Monday from 10 a.m. to Noon, are a great way to enjoy rails and other treats of the saltmarsh. Call Wildlife Unlimited directly to register (609-884-3100); a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday & Monday AM trips goes to CMBO.

A SLEEPY ORANGE was seen in the Villas on June 22 and another the same day in Atlantic County. This southern butterfly is RARE in Cape May County and in NJ, so keep a look out; seems they are "on the move." COMMON MILKWEED is in full bloom, awfully fragrant, and attracting dozens of beautiful butterflies. The "Belleplain Butterfly Count" will be held Thursday, July 1. Mark Garland is this count's coordinator. If you want to participate, contact Mark via e-mail (mark@njaudubon.org) prior to the count. The butterfly season seems to be way ahead of schedule -- some are saying by a month, due to the very warm spring. Other butterflies seen this week include: SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAILS (& their caterpillars on Spicebush & Sassafras), TIGER SWALLOWTAILS (& their caterpillars on Sweetbay Magnolia), CORAL HAIRSTREAKS, BANDED HAIRSTREAKS (Goshen & Atlantic Co.), WHITE M HAIRSTREAK (1 in Atlantic Co.), worn RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAK (Atlantic Co.), EDWARD'S HAIRSTREAKS (are flying now), AMERICAN SNOUT (CMBO gardens in Goshen & at Higbee Beach), VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, #s COMMON BUCKEYE, HACKBERRY & TAWNY EMPEROR (CMBO gardens in Goshen & at Higbee Beach), LITTLE WOOD SATYR, MONARCHS (6/19 in Cape May Point & CMBO gardens in Goshen, 6/13 in Goshen backyard), SILVER-SPOTTED SKIPPERS, CMBO Gardens' first of 2004 RARE SKIPPER (6/24), ZABULON SKIPPERS, worn AARON'S SKIPPERS, fresh BROAD-WINGED SKIPPERS, and dozens of SALT MARSH SKIPPERS. Beginning July 8, Pat Sutton will lead a "Butterfly Walk in the Goshen Gardens" every Thursday (10 a.m. to Noon). On August 11, a one-day Bullet Workshop for "Butterflies" will be taught by Pat Sutton. To learn more & download a registration form for this and other Cape May Birding Workshops, go to NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html

NJ Endangered & Nongame Species Program staff and other scientists will again be visiting the Canadian Arctic in search of RED KNOT. To see the account of last year's trip visit: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/arctic2003/english Check the Home Page to see other years & news of the 2004 trip (once posted): http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensphome.htm

BROWN PELICANS have summered here since @ 1982. This summer they've been scarce until this week! 20 were seen on June 25 at Cape May, cruising by. Maybe one of these years they'll actually nest here in NJ. PIPING PLOVERS (4 adults & 3 chicks) were seen June 23 at Cape May Point State Park and TNC's beaches Up to 6 WOOD DUCKS and 3 GADWALL are being seen in the ponds at "The Meadows." ORIOLES continue to be very vocal. A noisy, 1st summer male ORCHARD ORIOLE is a regular in CMBO's Gardens in Goshen.

The Stone Harbor Point beach nesting bird colony continues to dazzle! Be sure to attend one of the "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point" walks (with CMBO naturalists who know the area intimately), offered every Tuesday (6:00 p.m. till dusk) and meeting in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot at the south end of Stone Harbor. The June 22 walk enjoyed 100s of terns (COMMON and LEAST TERNS) and BLACK SKIMMERS, along with 2 GULL-BILLED TERNS (that are nesting there), 1 ROSEATE, 1 SANDWICH, 3 ROYAL, 1 CASPIAN TERN, and PIPING PLOVER (including a chick on June 24).

At the peak time to study terns CMBO is offering it's next Cape May Birding Workshop: on "Terns" July 28 (last year 10 species were studied side-by-side in late July). Additional "Cape May Birding Workshops" include: "Butterflies" August 11, "Shorebirds" August 24-25, "Fall Warblers, Empid Flycatchers, Vireos, and other landbirds" September 1-2, "Fall Migration" September 18-22, "Raptors" September 25-26, 27-28, "Raptor Migration" October 24-28, "Sparrows" October 23-24, "Waterfowl" November 20-21, and "Wintering Owls, Hawks, & Eagles" January 21-24. To learn more & download a registration form for the Cape May Birding Workshops, go to NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html The "2004 Cape May Birding Workshop" brochure is available at either CMBO Center or call 609-861-0700, x-11, to have a copy sent to you.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is intense now at CMBO's Gardens in Goshen and elsewhere! Males are occasionally displaying over females, but females are already busy with their second nests! Beginning July 7, a 1 hour "Buzz About Hummingbirds" will be offered every Wednesday and Saturday (2-3:30 p.m.) at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North), where you can plan to be buzzed by hummingbirds as you learn all about them, including getting to see and touch a hummingbird nest. Also be sure to set July 24 aside and attend CMBO's 3rd annual "Hummingbird Celebration," a day of FREE walks to see and learn about hummingbirds, butterflies, and wildlife gardens!

Hummingbird feeders are emptying every few days at CMBO! Be sure to maintain your feeders, by cleaning them thoroughly every few days during summer's heat and refilling with fresh solution. Also be sure to compliment feeders with a wildlife garden. CMBO's Gardens in Goshen are lush and offer many ideas while visitors are entertained by butterflies, hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, dragonflies, swallows, American Goldfinch, orioles, and more. Lots of shared knowledge and advice about creating a "Backyard Habitat" is featured on NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat/Index.html

A terrific selection of hard to find wildlife plants is on sale at CMBO's center in Goshen. Selection changes weekly, so stop by often! The current selection is posted on the "Backyard Habitat" pages on NJ Audubon's website. CMBO invites gardeners (no experience necessary) to help maintain CMBO's wildlife gardens at the Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). Join Karen Williams each Friday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, for a weekly "Garden Maintenance Workshop," where you work in the CMBO gardens while learning from Karen about gardening for wildlife.

Enjoy summer birds by joining one of CMBO scheduled walks with local experts, including walks already mentioned and these additional walks : (1) every Monday, "Mondays at The Meadows" meets at 7:30 a.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, (2) every Wednesday (and Saturday, beginning July 3), " Birding Cape May Point" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park, (3) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" meets at 6:30 p.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, and (4) Sunday, June 27, "Welcome to Cape May" with Senior Naturalist Mark Garland meets at 2:00 p.m. at the CMBO Northwood Center. If you're a beginner, join Judy Lukens Sunday, June 27, for "Birding for First Timers" (1-3 p.m.), meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform in Cape May Point State Park.

Flock after flock of GLOSSY IBIS, GREAT and SNOWY EGRET, and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON fly overhead as they trade back and forth between their nesting colonies on the ocean side of the peninsula and their favored feeding sites along the Delaware Bayshore. GREEN HEADS and MOSQUITOES are out in force too!

TRUMPET CREEPER is in full bloom. This native vine with orange/red trumpet-shaped flowers is a favorite with hummingbirds. ELDERBERRY, VIBURNUM, PRIVET, DAY LILIES, COMMON MILKWEED (extremely fragrant & a magnet for butterflies), and PICKERELWEED (also a magnet for butterflies) are all blooming this week.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers hundreds of programs ... many more than those briefly mentioned here. CMBO's SUMMER (June-August 2004) Program Schedule is posted on NJ Audubon's web site (and available at either center or request a copy by calling 609-861-0700): 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 around Cape May County, and also include reports from Cumberland and Atlantic Counties. Updates are typically made on Thursdays. Natural history sightings can be written on sighting sheets at either CMBO center or called in to 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!

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