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Cape May Natural History Hotline - 7/18/2003
You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This message was prepared on Friday, July 18. 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.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is non-stop at the Cape May Bird Observatory's gardens & feeders in Goshen. Why? Well, young from the first nest have fledged and now added to the frenzied mix. And females are ready to nest again. All week long we've been seeing males perform their incredible "pendulum swing" flight over females. In CMBO's gardens CORAL HONEYSUCKLE and BUTTERFLY BUSH are pulling them in. TRUMPET CREEPER, a native vine, is now in full bloom all over Cape May County. This hummingbird favorite is sure to concentrate them! Treat yourself to good looks and lots of learning bout hummingbirds by attending one of CMBO's "The Buzz About Hummingbirds," every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (2:00 - 3:30 PM) in July and much of August at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). Remember to thoroughly wash & refill your feeders at least once a week, and more frequently in the extreme heat. CMBO carries HummZinger feeders, which are one of the easiest feeders to clean and very well-thought out. Stop by & check them out. Be sure to set aside Saturday, August 2, 10:00 to 4:00 and join CMBO staff and volunteers at CMBO's Center in Goshen for our annual "Hummingbird Celebration," a day of free activities for families and for adults!

21 growing young and a mess of adult PURPLE MARTINS entertain at the Purple Martin nesting colony at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). The young are due to begin fledging on July 29 through August 4, and soon after they'll be gone! Learn all about Purple Martins and how you too can have a successful colony while you're entertained by them (adults with bills full of dragonflies and other tasty treats) by joining Pat Sutton during the "Purple Martin Nest Check" every Friday, thru August 1, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. (weather permitting: canceled on rainy days) at the CMBO Center in Goshen. The house will be lowered, nests checked, eggs counted or chicks counted & aged, and fledging dates predicted. With so many nests at different stages it will be a terrific learning opportunity.

The birding spectacle this summer IS the Stone Harbor Point tern and skimmer nesting colony. There are hundreds of nesting pairs of LEAST & COMMON TERNS and BLACK SKIMMERS, plus 2 pairs of nesting GULL-BILLED TERNS, as well as a number of pairs of PIPING PLOVERS. This same site has also attracted an amazing array of unusual terns and shorebirds in the last two weeks: #s of ARCTIC TERNS, ROSEATE TERNS, BLACK TERNS, and ROYAL TERNS, LITTLE STINT, MARBLED GODWIT, WHIMBREL, and BROWN PELICAN. So, don't miss it! To round out your tern study be sure to visit Beaver Swamp WMA, just north of the CMBO Center in Goshen, where GULL-BILLED TERNS can be watched as they hover over this freshwater impoundment hunting frogs perched on lily pads.

Bob and Linda Carlough report from "The Skimmer" that many of the marsh-nesting birds did poorly this spring due to repeated high tides at critical times. Very few LAUGHING GULL nests survived the high tides. Many AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER tried and failed twice, so any nest that succeeded, like the few pairs at Stone Harbor Point and the pair at the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, are a true treat! The CMBO sponsored "Back Bay Birding By Boat" cruises aboard "The Skimmer," every Sunday and Monday (10:00 a.m. to Noon) right now are witnessing good numbers of feeding Least Terns and Black Skimmers from the nearby Stone Harbor colony and shorebirds, like: WHIMBREL, GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and DOWITCHERS (call Wildlife Unlimited, call 609-884-3100 to register for these CMBO-sponsored trips).

FALL MIGRATION IS IN FULL SWING! Shorebirds are moving south again in big numbers already. On July 10 at Stone Harbor Point there were: 1,000 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, 20 WHIMBREL, 50 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, 15 WESTERN WILLET, 7 EASTERN WILLET, 1 RUDDY TURNSTONE, 30 RED KNOT, 10 WESTERN SANDPIPER, and 5 DUNLIN.

Several FINBACK WHALES continue to be sighted off Cape May. They are moving from the East Lump (20 mi.) to Delaware Reef (8 mi.). They are not being seen every day since they move around so much. No HUMPBACKED WHALES yet; usually young humpbacks are present near the mouth of Delaware Bay in summer. Whale Watching boat trips for whales may also encounter WILSON'S STORM PETREL and large SEA TURTLES.

An IMPERIAL MOTH was seen in Eldora July 11 and 12, attracted to night lights. CMBO's gardens in Goshen (600 Route 47 North) are blooming profusely with Butterflyweed, Swamp Milkweed, Verbena bonariensis, Anise Hyssop, and Blazing Star, Pickerelweed in the pond, Mountain Mint, and more! A profusion of butterflies and SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS (8 on July 18), one of the hummingbird moths, can be enjoyed. Probably the highlight for some are the RARE SKIPPERS, 6-8 on the Pickerelweed and 1 on the Swamp Milkweed on July 18. Our garden's first summer brood OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK was seen July 16, just as BONESET is beginning to bloom, a magnet for this delightful, tiny, emerald green butterfly. Dozens of AMERICAN LADIES, PEARL CRESCENTS, and CABBAGE WHITES, a dozen SALTMARSH SKIPPERS, 100s of BROAD-WINGED SKIPPERS, and 1's and 2's of other butterflies (SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL, BLACK SWALLOWTAIL, E. TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, E. TAILED BLUE, VARIEGATED FRITILLARY on July 18, COMMON BUCKEYE, LITTLE WOOD SATYR, MONARCHS daily, HORACE'S DUSKYWING, and a COMMON CHECKERED SKIPPER on July 11) fill the gardens. Caterpillars are plentiful too if you know how and where to look for them, including American Lady on Sweet Everlasting, Black Swallowtail on Fennel, and Spicebush Swallowtail on Spicebush and Sassafras. CMBO's dragonfly pond at the Center in Goshen is always busy with perching and hunting dragonflies, dragonflies in tandem laying eggs, and nymphs emerging from the pond as winged adult dragonflies. 4 pairs of COMMON GREEN DARNERS at once were mating and laying eggs mid-afternoon on July 11. CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS, TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMER, SLATY SKIMMER, BLUE DASHER, and EASTERN AMBERWING are seen regularly. Join Pat Sutton at the Cape May Bird Observatory Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North) each Wednesday, through mid-October (10:00 a.m. to Noon), for a "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk in CMBO's Gardens." There is still room on CMBO's "3-Day Bullet Workshop: Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Wildlife Gardens" Friday through Sunday, September 5-7, with Pat Sutton and Jim Dowdell. Call 609-861-0700 to register. If you'd like to learn about wildlife gardening, one more great way is by joining Karen Williams every Friday (9:30 a.m.-Noon) for a "Garden Maintenance Workshop." Plant divisions are often delightful payment for your labor and having a chance to learn so much from Karen as you work. A special "Summer Wildflowers" field trip still has room on Saturday, July 19 (9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). Call 609-861-0700 to register.

Additional regularly scheduled walks that require no preregistration and will help you enjoy Cape May, general birding, and summer's nesting birds include: Birding Cape May Point" every Wednesday and Saturday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Mondays at the Meadows" every Monday (7:30-9:30 a.m.), "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" every Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.), and (perfect for newcomers to birding and nature) "Start Birding Today!" every Thursday (10-11 a.m.), and "Welcome to Cape May" every Sunday (2-3 p.m.). both

Some special programs that do require preregistration because spaces are limited follow. Join Mark Garland when adult shorebirds are here in force for a special "Shorebird Roundup at Forsythe (Brigantine) NWR" on Friday, July 25 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Attend a hands-on "Optics Workshop" at CMBO Center in Goshen on July 27 (1-3 p.m.). "Circumnavigating Delaware Bay" with Mark Garland, August 6-7 (Wednesday & Thursday) for birds and other natural treats still has room! To learn all about terns consider signing up for CMBO's "1-Day Bullet Workshop for Terns" with Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis on Thursday, August 14. "Ghost Crabs: The Good, Bad, & Ugly" with Marine Biologist Karen Williams on Wednesday, August 20 (7:30-9:30 p.m.) has a few places left. To learn in-depth shorebird ID sign up for CMBO's "2-Day Bullet Workshop for (Those $#!%) SHOREBIRDS," scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26 & 27, with Michael O'Brien and Richard Crossley. To learn more about any of these programs or to register, call 609-861-0700. The Cape May Bird Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird and butterfly walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy of CMBO's Program Schedule, stop at one of the two centers, call the office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey Audubon's web site where a full listing of SUMMER 2003 PROGRAMS (June-August) is posted at: 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 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!

Patricia Sutton
Program Director
New Jersey Audubon Society's
Cape May Bird Observatory
Center for Research & Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609-861-0700, x-16 (phone) / 609-861-1651 (fax)
pat_sutton@njaudubon.org
http://www.njaudubon.org

 
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