Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/30/2005

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 30. 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.

A possible WANDERING ALBATROSS, seen a week ago, was just reported to CMBO today, June 30. It was seen 10 miles off Ocean City Inlet.

A CORYS SHEARWATER was seen today, June 30, off Cape May. On June 26, the Cape May Whale Watcher had CORYS SHEARWATERS and FINBACK WHALES. WILSONS STORM PETRELS and the occasional N. GANNET can be seen from land by the keen observer scanning out over the Delaware Bay. 150 WILSONS STORM PETRELS were seen 20 miles off Barnegat Light on June 24. 33 BROWN PELICANS were seen June 24 from the Cape May Point State Park, flying north up the beachfront towards Cape May. There are 4 PIPING PLOVER nests on the Cape May Point State Park and The Nature Conservancy (The Meadows) beachfront. 2 chicks were seen June 23.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are nesting again in Green Creek Swamp and have been seen by a resident in Del Haven. Good overlooks of the Green Creek Swamp are the end of 12th, 14th, and 15th Streets in Del Haven off Norburys Landing Road.

PURPLE MARTIN COLONIES are busy places right now. As of June 30, the colony at the Cape May Point State Park had 99 hatchlings and 40+ eggs still to hatch.

Small numbers of WHIMBREL are being seen: 5 on June 27 at The Meadows and 1 on June 29 at Stone Harbor Point. On June 27, 50 RED KNOT, 5 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, 3 BROWN PELICANS, and an immature GREAT CORMORANT were seen at Stone Harbor Point.

2 GULL-BILLED TERNS were at The Meadows on June 26 and several can be enjoyed daily at Beaver Swamp WMA, just north of the CMBO Center in Goshen. A SANDWICH TERN was seen June 26 from The Skimmers Back Bay Boat trip in the waters along Ocean Drive near Snows Doxee processing plant. ROYAL TERNS are regular at Stone Harbor Point this summer. 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. Join them to enjoy the beach nesting bird colony of Least and Common Terns, Black Skimmers, Piping Plover, and American Oystercatcher.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD youngsters fledged on June 27 in a Goshen backyard, so activity at feeders exploded. Where previously there had been only Mom and Pop, now theres Mom, Pop, and the kids. Japanese Honeysuckle flowers are just about done, so birds are back at feeders non-stop! Be sure to clean and maintain your feeders at least once each week, more frequently in hot weather. With all the activity at CMBO were finding that feeders are emptying every 3-4 days. For extensive information about gardening for hummingbirds & butterflies and wildlife in general, visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

Help maintain CMBOs Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens in Goshen by joining Pat Sutton and other gardeners each Friday morning (9 a.m. till Noon) for the Garden Maintenance Workshop. CMBOs 1 hour Ruby-throated Hummingbird Walks have begun and are offered every Saturday and Wednesday through August (except July 23) at 9:30 a.m. at the CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North).

Another great way to learn how to garden for butterflies and hummingbirds is to sign up for one or all of CMBOs Tours of Private Butterfly Gardens. The first tour is scheduled for Friday, July 15, to tour gardens in and near Cape May Point, followed by a tour on Saturday, July 16, touring gardens from Villas north to Dennisville. These tours will also be offered on August 12 & 13, and on September 9 & 10. Some gardens will be on all 3 tours. Since gardens evolve over the summer, repeat gardens will look entirely different each month. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register.

OSPREY are doing well this summer. Captain Bob Carlough from The Skimmer reports that 14 Osprey nests each have 2 growing chicks. LAUGHING GULL, COMMON TERN, and FORSTERS TERN chicks are all hatching this week (2-3 weeks later than usual because of washed out nests earlier in the spring). Flooding tides last week washed away some LAUGHING GULL and tern nests, but birds began mating immediately to try for a 3rd nest attempt. Take one of the Back Bay Boat Cruises (10 a.m. to Noon) every Sunday and Monday to travel through this watery world. To register for the Back Bay Boat Cruises call The Skimmer directly at 609-884-3100.

The 2 young BALD EAGLES at the Beaver Swamp WMA nest were out of the nest and on branches above the nest on June 29, so they will fledge soon. CMBOs Kayak Trip to Bidwells Creek still has room on Thursday, July 7 (7 a.m. to Noon). This trip will begin at Reeds Beach and kayak north up Bidwells Creek into the headwaters, part of the Cape May NWR. This trip just might find a new Bald Eagles nest; join us and be part of discoveries. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register. Two additional Kayak Trips to Wild Areas are scheduled and still have room: East Creek Lake and Pickle Factory Pond (Tuesdays: July 26, August 16).

BLUE GROSBEAK, ORCHARD ORIOLE, CHIPPING SPARROW, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD all nest at the CMBO Center in Goshen. This week the gardens have glittered with family groups of ORCHARD ORIOLES.

It is an incredible summer for FIREFLIES or LIGHTNING BUGS. They are thick in West Cape May and along Cape May Countys Delaware Bayshore. In their early life stage Fireflies feed on slugs, snails, and worms. As adults they are also predatory, feeding on scale crawlers, aphids, and similar small, soft-bodied insects. This cool information is from the almost NEW book, Garden Insects of North America, the Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs, by Whitney Cranshaw (carried in CMBOs bookstores, of course).

COYOTES have been heard calling near Hidden Valley Horse Ranch this week. Lots of TURTLES are crossing roads to lay their eggs-, so DRIVE WITH CAUTION! Many of their nests have been discovered and dug up by predators like Racoons and Opossums. HORSESHOE CRABS are still mating and laying eggs, including good numbers on June 27. HORSESHOE CRAB EGGS laid several weeks to a month ago are hatching. Look for newly hatched and tailess Horseshoe Crabs (slightly bigger than the size of a pin head) in the tideline, along with the shed skeleton of a young crab that had molted.

BOG COPPERS are still flying in natural Cranberry bogs. 11 were seen June 30 near the Tuckahoe River. CMBOs gardens are full of AARONS SKIPPERS on blooming PICKERELWEED and exuvia (or the shed skins) of emerging dragonflies on emergent vegetatin in the dragonfly pond. E. PONDHAWKS are thick at the Cape May Point State Park. 1,000s of SEASIDE DRAGONLETS are flying now. Several WIDOW SKIMMERS were seen in Goshen on June 26.

CMBOs 2005 Workshops cover hot (and fun) topics; many of the summer workshops are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic. A 1-Day Butterfly Workshop on Wednesday, August 10, is held when 36 species can be studied in CMBOs gardens in Goshen alone. A 2-Day Shorebird Workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23-24, will enjoy more than 30 species in many plumages! A 2-Day Fall Warblers, Flycatchers, and Vireos Workshop on Wednesday and Thursday, August 31 and September 1, is scheduled for THE peak time for these migrant songbirds. Learn to Identify Birds on the Wing with Pete Dunne during this 2-day workshop, held Wednesday and Thursday, September 14-15, scheduled back-to-back with a 3-Day Fall Migration Workshop, Friday through Sunday, September 16-18, also with Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis. A 2-Day Raptor Workshop, focusing on Falcons, Accipiters, and Osprey, will be taught by Pete Dunne and Pat Sutton on Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25. To receive the workshop brochure (covering 11 workshops now through January 05) call 609-861-0700 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar Cmboworks05.html

All the milkweeds are in bloom (Common and Swamp Milkweed and Butterflyweed, as well as Tropical Milkweed), and drawing in nectaring butterflies, bees, and flies. SWAMP AZALEA is in bloom with its lovely white flowers.

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

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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