Cape May Natural History Hotline - 7/14/2005
You have reached the Cape May Natural History and Events Hotline for Thursday, July 14. If you have sightings relating to the natural world in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem Counties, please report them to us at 609-861-0700. This weeks hotline includes sightings of Shearwaters--lots and lots of shearwaters and the first wave of southbound migrating birds.

Unusual numbers of SHEARWATERS, primarily CORYS, are being seen about 5 miles off Cape May Inlet from the Whale watch boats. On Sunday, approximately 50 Corys were tallied along with a few GREATER SHEARWATER. For those looking for a challenge, Shearwaters are also being seen from various points along Cape May Point Beaches.

Mornings are best, in no small part because of sun glare. Search the rips where flocks of Laughing Gulls and Terns are gathering over bait fish. Look for the birds that are bounding, roller coaster fashion or moving quickly through the flocks. The gulls are hovering, static. Shearwaters are dynamic, moving through the ranks like polished skaters among a bunch of amateurs. Your eye will naturally be drawn to the bird breaking the pattern of the masses.

On July 8, 1 MANX, 1 SOOTY, 1 GREAT and 5 CORYS SHEARWATERS were seen from the 2nd Avenue. Jetty in Cape May. A boat, off Cape May Point, recorded 100 Corys Shearwaters, 6 Great and 1 Sooty on July 7. Also being seen are BROWN PELICAN, WILSONS STORM PETRELS. Try Sunset Beach, in Cape May for Pelicans--the pilings are a traditional spot. Additional, notable birds recorded from or on shore this past week include: a ROSEATE TERN (off and on) 1 PARASITIC JAEGER and 1 possible LONG-TAILED JAEGER noted by a competent observer and NORTHERN GANNET.

The last half of July is traditionally a great time to see the vanguard of southbound shorebirds--adults in near full alternate and transitional plumage. On July 10, 200 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 6-7 WESTERNS, 4 SEMIPALMATED, 10 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER were seen at the Higbee Beach Impoundments.

While no reports have come in from Brigantine/Forsythe NWR this regional hotspot is a traditionally good shorebird location in July, offering, routinely, aspired to species like Curlew Sandpiper, and, much less than routinely, the odd stint. Be mindful and have a pure heart.

BOBOLINKS and YELLOW WARBLERS, both early passerine migrants have been reported in Cape May and Cumberland County. WHIP-POOR-WILL and CHUCK-WILLS-WIDOW are being heard and seen on back roads along Cumberland Bayshore and in Bevan Wildlife Management Area.

This years crop of hummingbirds and their parents are beginning to forage more widely. The gardens at CMBOs Center for Research and Education have seen increased numbers Just in Time for the annual Hummingbird Celebration scheduled for Saturday July 23 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Theres no charge for either the indoor or outdoor events. Bring binoculars. Come prepared to be wowed by a creature that is clearly magical.

Who needs pixies, fairies, and leprechauns when the world has hummingbirds. Also in the Gardens at Goshen this week, and also magical in their own right, twelve species of butterfly, including 14 RARE SKIPPERS on blooming Pickerelweed on July 14, a number of MONARCH sightings, and a sizable Monarch caterpillar!

CMBO Events this week and in coming weeks include Tours of Private Butterfly Gardens, Kayak Trips to East Creek Lake and the Pickle Factory Pond, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Walks every Saturday and Wednesday through August, Butterfly Walks every Thursday, and much more.

Our regularly scheduled bird walks are offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday--cost is $6 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Times and locations can be found on the web (addresses to follow) or at CMBOs two centers.

There are still openings in CMBOs summer and autumn workshop schedule. Focuses include: Shorebirds, Fall Warblers, Identifying Birds on the Wing, and Raptors.

For particulars relating to time, place and dates of programs, tours, and workshops go on line at http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html Or call: 609-861-0700 and ask for a copy of the Kestrel Express newsletter, or (better yet) stop by the center. Pick up the calendar of events, bird and butterfly maps, and workshop brochures in person. The Center for Research and Education, on Rt. 9, 1.7 miles north of Goshen, will be open every day, 9 to 4:30. CMBOs Northwood Center, in Cape May Point, will be closed until July 21.

This hotline is a service of New Jersey Audubons Cape May Bird Observatory. Our mission is the perpetuation of Cape May 200-year old ornithological tradition through research, education, conservation. Your membership supports these goals, this hotline, and brings you year round opportunities to discover and savor the great natural treasures of Cape May and the Bayshore. Membership is $35 for individuals; $45 for families.

Thanks for calling. Well look forward to seeing you in the field and on one or more CMBO sponsored events.

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