Cape May Natural History Hotline - 6/9/2005

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 9. 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).

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.

The May 23 Full Moon high tides were the highest in 10 years and completely flooded all marshes, devastating nests of marsh birds. This happens many years, but this years higher than ever tides reached every ground nest on the marsh, even those on high marshes. Birds that hadnt laid eggs yet, did so immediately after flooding tides subsided. Birds that lost their nests (eggs and nests floated away on May 23) have already laid a second clutch and things are looking good. Heron rookeries that failed last year are looking good this year. Many herons and egrets began nesting late, including some just beginning now. OSPREY, with their elevated nests, survived the May 23 high tides and their first chicks hatched at the end of May with others following rapidly. For a close up look at this vulnerable world of marsh nesting birds be sure to sign up for one or both of CMBOs special Cruisin For Chicks trips: Thursday, June 16 (3 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday, June 18 (5 to 8 p.m.). To register call 609-861-0700, x11.

Good numbers of shorebirds are still here, but will leave any day for their arctic tundra breeding grounds. The NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Programs June 7 aerial flight of both sides of the Delaware Bay tallied 39,000 shorebirds including close to 3,000 RED KNOT, 7,750 RUDDY TURNSTONES, 25,600 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and 2,700 SANDERLING. Visitors to Cooks Beach on June 8 saw large numbers of shorebirds, including a fair number of RED KNOT.

The New Moon on Monday, June 6, triggered the most recent mating and egg laying of HORSESHOE CRABS. They will continue to lay eggs through June with the next big wave falling around the Full Moon on June 22. Some crabs will come up during almost every evening high tide, but bigger numbers near the Full and New Moon. Evening high tides along the Delaware Bay beaches this week follow: 11:40 p.m. (June 9), Midnight (June 10 & 11), 1 a.m. (June 12), 1:45 a.m. (June 13).

The 2 chicks in the Bald Eagle nest at Beaver Swamp WMA (5 minutes from the CMBO Center in Goshen) are very large and 8 weeks old now. Young eagles can fledge at 2 months and 10 days or as may take as long as 3 months and 8 days, so these two could fledge in 10 days. Well see. If you go to Beaver Swamp WMA, they are visible (with a scope) as you look across the open water to your left. The nest is on the back treeline in line with a tall red and white radio tower.

CEDAR WAXWINGS and E. KINGBIRDS have moved onto the CMBO Center property in Goshen over the last few weeks and set up housekeeping. Their high pitched calls are constant. A continual parade of GLOSSY IBIS fly over the CMBO Center in Goshen as they trade back and forth across the peninsula from the Delaware Bay marshes where they feed to their Atlantic Coast breeding colonies. CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOWS are calling nightly in Goshen, beginning about 9:15 p.m. COMMON GRACKLE fledglings began coming to backyard feeders with their parents on June 8 adding their obnoxious food begging calls to the sounds of summer.

Some fun early June bird sightings follow: MISSISSIPPI KITE at the Rea Farm on June 5. A nice assortment of terns at the Cape May Point State Park on June 6 included local breeding terns plus 12 ROYAL TERNS, 1 SANDWICH TERN, and 1 ROSEATE TERN. CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are timed to learn and savor peak concentrations. The 1-Day Tern Workshop on Wednesday, June 29 (held midweek to avoid summer traffic), will do just that and there is still room. This workshop is timed when the nesting colonies are a frenzy of activity and pull in regional rarities. To receive the workshop brochure or to register call 609-861-0700, x-11 or go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

CORAL HONEYSUCKLE is still in full bloom at the CMBO Center in Goshen and attracting nectaring Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and nesting 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

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

AMERICAN HOLLIES have been blooming since June 1 and are very fragrant. POISON IVY is in full bloom. MOUNTAIN LAUREL is spectacular now as it bloom throughout Belleplain State Forest, Bevan WMA, and Peaslee WMA. If you garden for wildlife and have NEW ENGLAND ASTERS in your gardens, they benefit from being topped twice (around the 2 holidays: Memorial Day and 4th of July), enabling them to grow bushier and not so leggy when they bloom in the fall. So if you havent done so yet, run out with your clippers and take a foot or so off each plant. Youll be dazzled with the results. 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. JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE is beginning to bloom, a favorite with hummingbirds. If hummingbirds disappear from feeders and gardens for a spell, be aware that theyll be back once honeysuckle flowers wane.

Butterflies are flying now that it has warmed up! This weeks reports include: SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL, BLACK SWALLOWTAIL, E. TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, CABBAGE WHITE, AMERICAN LADY, RED-SPOTTED PURPLE, MONARCH, S. CLOUDYWING, N. CLOUDYWING, HAYHURSTS SCALLOPWING, and ZABULON SKIPPER. BLACK SWALLOWTAILS have been frequenting CMBOs gardens in Goshen and laying eggs on fennel. Dozens of eggs can be found by the keen observer. A long PREYING MANTIS was found in the gardens on June 8. 100s of Preying Mantises hatch in the spring from each overwintering egg case. Theyre tiny when they first emerge and grow steadily over the summer and fall.

CMBOs 2005 Cape May Birding Workshops are timed to learn and savor peak concentrations. Many of the summer workshops are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic. 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://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

Many birds are busy at their marsh nests. 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.

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):

Dragons & Damsels in CMBOs Gardens, Saturday, June 18 (10 a.m. to Noon)

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

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!

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