CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, June 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
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:
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):
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:
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
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:
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:
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:
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!