Cape May Natural History Hotline - 7/22/2004

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 Thursday, July 22. For bird news call the Cape May Birding Hotline at (609) 898-2473. NJ Audubon's three hotline can be read in full on our web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings" at the top of any page.

July 19, a 20 foot MINKE WHALE was seen in the waters off Wildwood Crest and a 30 foot HUMPBACKED WHALE was lunge feeding about mile off Cape May. It has been an incredible summer for BOTTLENOSED DOLPHIN. 100s are in the waters off Cape May and in the Delaware Bay.

This time of year seasons are mixing! Many birds are still busy with their nests, others are migrating! Yes, fall migration is underway for some species. On July 21 at dawn 10 YELLOW WARBLERS, 1 waterthrush, 1 PRAIRIE WARBLER, 4 ORCHARD ORIOLES, 2 BOBOLINKS, and 4 RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were all seen migrating! Earlier in the week 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS headed south across the Delaware Bay.

Shorebirds are our earliest fall migrants. On July 15, Stone Harbor Point held 200 WESTERN SANDPIPER, 400 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and 50 WILLET. 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. 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

News of the 4 migrant RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS seen July 21 explains the increased numbers at CMBO's Gardens in Goshen and elsewhere over the last week where feeders are emptying every day or every other day. One would think that we're seeing the same individuals each day, but now we know that we're probably hosting a different set of migrants from the north each day along with our local breeders. Don't miss CMBO's 3rd annual "Hummingbird Celebration" on Saturday, July 24, a day of FREE walks to see and learn about hummingbirds, butterflies, and wildlife gardens at 600 Rt. 47 North in Goshen! Join Pat Sutton for a 1 hour (2-3:30 p.m.) "Buzz About Hummingbirds" outdoor program every Wednesday and Saturday (except July 24) 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.

Be sure to maintain your hummingbird feeders; clean thoroughly every few days. Also compliment feeders with a wildlife garden. CMBO's Gardens in Goshen offer many ideas. 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 still a show stopper! Young COMMON TERN and BLACK SKIMMER chicks are stealing the show. The activity continues to attract rare and uncommon terns including a ROSEATE TERN on July 20, a BLACK TERN on July 18, and at least 6 different LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS over the last 8 days. Learn terns with Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis on CMBO's Cape May Birding Workshop:"Terns" on 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.

Every Tuesday (6:00 p.m. till dusk) the "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point" walk (with CMBO naturalists who know the area intimately) is another great way to enjoy this unique area (meet 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.

The beachfront between the Cape May Point State Park and The Nature Conservancy's Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge enjoyed some of the best PIPING PLOVER breeding success this season; 8 were seen there on July 22, including the 3 newest chicks from the last of three nests.

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).

A few MONARCHS have been seen in the last week. Dozens of BLACK SWALLOWTAILS are flying now. After an absence, TIGER SWALLOWTAILS were seen at a number of sites on July 17 (the next brood). A GULF FRITILLARY was seen in Atlantic County on July 15. A garden in Linwood in Atlantic County again has adult PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAILS and a dozen or so caterpillars on lush Pipevine. RED-SPOTTED PURPLES are flying. E. COMMAS were in the woods at Brigantine NWR on July 20. On July 20, an IO MOTH was seen near the Rea Farm and an IMPERIAL MOTH at Reeds Beach. 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), 20+ RARE SKIPPERS (on the few lone Pickerelweed flowers in the Dragonfly Pond and on Butterfly Bush, Anise Hyssop, and Blazing Star in the gardens), DELAWARE SKIPPERS, HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING (3 on July 19), HUMMINGBIRD and SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS (two different 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.

A WIDOW SKIMMER was seen at Higbee Beach on July 21. This dragonfly was formerly rare in our area, but appears to be colonizing the Cape May Peninsula.

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!

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 TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard at 6:30 p.m. on July 23 & 30, and at 5:30 p.m. on August 6, (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, including TRUMPET CREEPER, 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 beautiful 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.

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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