Cape May Natural History Hotline - 7/16/2004

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, July 16. 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.

Since about July 10th the "rips" off Cape May Point (the rough water where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay) have attracted a lot of bird feeding activity (including shearwaters!), especially from dawn until @ 7:30 a.m. Today, July 16, a BROWN BOOBY (exceedingly rare in NJ; most other records have been storm related), 2 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, and several GREATER SHEARWATERS were feeding in these rips. Call CMBO's Northwood Center (609-884-2736) for updates through the day. Also look for summertime regulars like WILSON'S STORM PETREL in the rips, off Cape May and Cape May Point's beachfront, and while taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Their tiny forms dance over the waves as they pick food from the surface.

SHOREBIRDS are arriving! YES, fall migration is underway! Shorebird young are precocious and it is well known that arctic breeders leave soon after their young hatch . . . an amazing adaptation so that adults are not competing with their own young for food. Join Mark Garland on Friday, July 23, for "Birding 101," an all-day learning session (indoor & outdoor) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the peak time to study shorebirds Pete Dunne and Richard Crossley will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Shorebirds," August 24-25. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register for either of these programs. To 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

It's "4th of July Butterfly Count" time across the country. The Belleplain Butterfly Count on July 1 tallied 48 species. The Cape May Butterfly Count on Tuesday, July 27, will be coordinated by Louise Zemaitis & Michael O'Brien (call Deb Shaw at 609-861-0700, x-11, to learn how to get in touch with Louise & Michael) and the Cumberland County Butterfly Count on Tuesday, August 3, will be coordinated by Pat Sutton (call 609-861-0700, x-16 to participate).

On July 11, a GULF FRITILLARY was seen in Port Norris, Cumberland County, and a PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL in Port Republic, Atlantic County. DOTTED SKIPPERS are flying now (very rare & localized!). CMBO's gardens in Goshen continue to host 100s of BROAD-WINGED SKIPPERS, a few SACHEMS, #s of OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAKS (on the Mountain Mint & Boneset), RARE SKIPPERS (on Pickerelweed in the Dragonfly Pond and on Butterfly Bush and Anise Hyssop in the gardens), SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS (a type of hummingbird moth), and lots of other species. Every Thursday (10 a.m. to Noon) Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk in the Goshen Gardens" at CMBO (600 Rt. 47 N). On August 11, Pat Sutton will teach a one-day "Bullet Workshop for "Butterflies." To register call 609-861-0700, x-11.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is non-stop at CMBO's Gardens in Goshen and elsewhere! Numbers quadrupled in the last week and feeders are emptying every other day or so now, so perhaps the second set of "kids" are off the nest, or maybe northern migrants are already moving south! Occasionally males display over females, maybe indicating the possibility of a 3rd nesting attempt. Join Pat Sutton for a 1 hour "Buzz About Hummingbirds" outdoor program every Wednesday and Saturday (2-3:30 p.m.) at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North), where you'll 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! CMBO's Center in Goshen has also been enjoying much ORCHARD ORIOLE and HOUSE WREN activity as they attend nests and flyover BALD EAGLES (an adult on July 13).

Be sure to maintain your hummingbird feeders, by cleaning them thoroughly every few days (or every day if they empty that quickly) and refill with fresh solution. CMBO sells THE BEST and safest hummingbird feeders and shares an in-depth information sheet about "Maintenance of Hummingbird Feeders" with each purchase! 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

The Stone Harbor Point beach nesting bird colony is an auditory and visual summer-time "must see!" The activity continues to attract rare and uncommon terns. At the peak time to study terns Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Terns" July 28 (10 species were studied side-by-side in late July 2003). A few spaces remain. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register. 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.

3 PIPING PLOVER chicks and sizable COMMON TERN chicks were enjoyed on the July 13 "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point" walk (with CMBO naturalists who know the area intimately). This walk is offered every Tuesday (6:00 p.m. till dusk) and meets in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot at the south end of Stone Harbor. 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.

15 PIPING PLOVER were found on Cape May Point State Park's beachfront recently, including 4 fledged chicks (from two early nests) and 3 toddler chicks (from a 3rd nest). This site has been one of the most successful for Piping Plover in the County!

PURPLE MARTIN colonies in South Jersey have already fledged many young. It was a very good breeding year in colonies that are well-maintained! Be sure to mark your calendars for Cumberland County's "Purple Martin Festival" on Friday evening and Saturday, August 20-21, when 100,000 might be seen going to roost along the Maurice River, a site where migrants stage before migrating south to Brazil where they spend the winter! CMBO naturalists will be volunteering as leaders during this festival. Call 856-453-2177 to receive Cumberland County's information flyer w/details!

Two CMBO Kayak trips to wild places still have room: (1) Tuesday, July 27 ("Kayak Trip to East Creek Lake & Holly Lake (site of a quaking bog')", 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).

BROWN PELICANS have summered here since @ 1982. Since late June, they've been seen regularly from various beachfronts around Cape May County!

Enjoy early fall migrants and lingering 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 Monday, "Life on the Beach" with marine biologist Karen Williams, meets at 5:00 p.m. at the Wildlife Viewing Platform in the Cape May Point State Park for a 2 hour beach walk and seining adventure, (3) every Wednesday and every Saturday, " Birding Cape May Point" meets at 7:30 a.m. in the "South Shelter" raised pavilion at the Cape May Point State Park, (4) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" meets at 6:30 p.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, (5) if you're a beginner, join Judy Lukens Sunday, July 25, for "Birding for First Timers" (2-4 p.m.), meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform in Cape May Point State Park, and

TRUMPET CREEPER is in full bloom. This native vine with orange/red trumpet-shaped flowers is a favorite with hummingbirds. Join Mark Garland on Sunday, July 25, for "Summer Wildflowers" (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.); 2-3 habitats will be visited and pollinators will be ID'd too! Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.

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 Fridays, 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.

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

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 (except Mon. & Tues). Stop by and be dazzled.

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 (now through 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).

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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