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 Friday, July 8. The Cape May Birding
Hotline is temporarily being included in this hotline in an abbreviated
fashion. NJ Audubon's 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 Monday), 9-4:30.
SHEARWATERS are the big story this week! They are being seen from shore
at Cape May Point during changing tides (not slack tide). This past
week the best times were early in the morning. CORYS SHEARWATERS (the
most common with 35 on July 5 and 30 on July 7), GREATER SHEARWATERS (3
on July 5, 1 on July 6 & 7), and MANX SHEARWATER (1 on July 5 & 7).
Shearwater watchers at the St. Marys Jetty in Cape May Point have also
been seeing N. GANNETS (8 on July 5), a dark (probably 1st summer)
PARASITIC JAEGER (July 5 & 6), WILSONS STORM PETREL, and a feeding
frenzy of LAUGHING GULLS. Large schools of bait fish close to shore are
drawing them in from offshore. Several GREATER SHEARWATERS were even in
the Cape May Harbor on July 5. An observer on the July 4 afternoon trip
on one of the Cape May Whale Watch boats had rafts of CORYS
SHEARWATERS (totaling a record-setting 460), 6-7 GREATER SHEARWATERS, 1
SOOTY,1 MANX SHEARWATER, 25-30 WILSONS STORM PETREL, 7 N. GANNETS, and
15 BROWN PELICANS 6 miles off Wildwood .
The Atlantic City Press has carried several stories about a family of
SANDHILL CRANES living in Galloway Township, Atlantic County (on Aloe
Avenue near Absecon Mills). They were seen with 2 chicks on July 2.
Captain Bob Carlough saw a WHIMBREL (a Eurasian subspecies with a white
rump and lower back) in the northeast corner of Jarvis Sound on July 3
& 5 from The Skimmer on one of his Back Bay Boat Cruises. During
Back Bay Boat Cruises marsh nesting birds can be easily observed:
FORSTER TERN chicks are getting larger; COMMON TERNS are doing very
well with many young; LAUGHING GULLS have many chicks; GREAT BLACK
BACKED GULLS and HERRING GULLS have very few chicks. Back Bay Boat
Cruises every Sunday and Monday (10 a.m. to Noon) are sponsored by
CMBO and benefit CMBO. To register call The Skimmer directly at
A SURF SCOTER was feeding around the pilings at Poverty Beach on July 3
& 4, with a BROWN PELICAN on one of the pilings on July 4. Shorebirds
are migrating back through now. LEAST SANDPIPERS were heard going over
through the night on July 6. The morning of July 7 GREATER & LESSER
YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPERS, and small flocks of DOWITCHERS migrated
south over Cape May.`
The 2 young BALD EAGLES at the Beaver Swamp WMA nest have fledged. Both
eaglets were seen flying on July 6. One struggled to avoid an annoying
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD that repeatedly dove on it as it flew awkwardly to
nearby trees and made a less than graceful landing. The adults are
still taking food back to the nest for the young. One adult carried
large prey up Sluice Creek over CMBO on July 7. And another on July 8.
The OSPREY population on the Maurice River has produced 40-41 young
this year. The OSPREY nest at Jakes Landing has 1 growing youngster.
LEAST BITTERN and a VIRGINIA RAIL are being seen daily at The Meadows,
as well as 7 WOOD DUCKS, 3 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED
GULL on July 3. A singing PARULA WARBLER continues at HIGBEE BEACH in
the tall trees on the west side of the 2nd field. On July 2, the
Birding Cape May Point walk (offered every Saturday and every
Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m.) enjoyed a BLACK TERN and flyover shorebirds
including 2 RED KNOT, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER.
It is a bird-eat-bird world out there. The beachnesting colony at Stone
Harbor Point continues to struggle with super high tides and
aggressive, hungry gulls. Visitors on July 7 observed it first hand.
One PIPING PLOVER nest, outside a protective nest exclosure, was preyed
upon by a Laughing Gull who ate 3 of the 4 eggs (the 4th egg was placed
in a nest exclosure and will hopefully hatch and survive). A COMMON
TERN chick was eaten by another Laughing Gull. On the bright side,
there are 4 PIPING PLOVER chicks at Stone Harbor Point from 2 different
nests and BLACK SKIMMERS are on nests. The beachnesting colonies of
LEAST TERNS in Avalon failed this summer, as well as all Piping Plover
nests (harassed by crows and / or sand has covered eggs due to high
winds). Every Tuesday evening Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point
with Gail Dwyer and Jim Armstrong meets at 6 p.m. in the Stone Harbor
Point parking lot. Join them and witness the struggle to survive first
This summer CMBO offers 6 different Tours of Private Butterfly
Gardens. The first tour will be Friday, July 15, of gardens in and
near Cape May Point, followed by a tour on Saturday, July 16, of
gardens from the Villas north to Dennisville. These tours will also be
offered August 12 & 13 and September 9 & 10. Some gardens will be on
all 3 tours; since gardens evolve over the summer, repeat gardens will
look entirely different each month. These tours are a great way to get
ideas for your own garden and to meet kindred spirits! Call
609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register.
CMBOs June 29 Kayak Trip up Bidwells Creek enjoyed a din of singing
SEASIDE SPARROWS, hunting OSPREY and BLACK SKIMMERS and an absence of
SALTMARSH GREENHEADS. Two additional Kayak Trips to Wild Areas : East
Creek Lake and Pickle Factory Pond are scheduled and still have room:
(Tuesdays: July 26, August 16). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more
information or to register.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity has exploded at CMBOs Center in
Goshen and in nearby backyard gardens, now that the first batch of
young have fledged. CARDINAL FLOWER is beginning to bloom and luring
them in. CMBOs 1 hour Ruby-throated Hummingbird Walks are offered
every Saturday and Wednesday through August (except July 23) at 9:30
a.m. at the CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North). Mark your
calendar for CMBOs Annual Hummingbird Celebration on Saturday, July
23 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Learn about wildlife gardening by getting your
hands dirty with Pat Sutton each Friday morning (9 a.m. till Noon) at
Garden Maintenance Workshops.
Be sure to clean and maintain Hummingbird feeders at least once each
week, and more frequently in hot weather. CMBOs feeders are emptying
every 3-4 days. For extensive information about gardening for
hummingbirds & butterflies and wildlife in general, visit the World of
Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website:
MONARCHS have been seen in gardens all over NJ this week (North Jersey,
Mount Holly, CMBOs Goshen Gardens on July 1 & 6, Cape May Point on
July 7). So, be sure to have lots of Milkweed for them. CMBOs Center
in Goshen has seed packets of Tropical Milkweed available for sale, and
its not too late to plant. Numbers of AMERICAN SNOUT are being seen at
Higbee Beach. CECROPIA MOTHS are flying. The first HUMMINGBIRD MOTH
report came in June 30.
SLATY SKIMMERS (dragonfly) are flying at Beaver Swamp WMA. 1000s of
mating SEASIDE DRAGONLETS can be enjoyed at places like Jakes Landing
as they perch atop each stalk of Spartina. SPARKLING JEWELWINGS are
thick in bogs and freshwater streams in the northern part of Cape May
County. SWAMP DARNERS are thick and especially noticeable at dusk as
they swarm over backyards snatching up Mosquitoes.
The FIREFLY or LIGHTNING BUG show continues. 100s can be seen over
fields at dark each night. Treat yourself! SALTMARSH GREENHEADS are
flying now and thick this July! This fly feeds by day and is
long-lived, so quite noticeable. The female needs a blood meal to lay
eggs after her first egg laying and she lives 3-4 weeks. So beware!
Recent rains have resulted in healthy mosquito populations.
DIAMONDBACKED TERRAPIN are laying their eggs and being seen everywhere
as they cross high speed roads to get to a more favorable sandy
roadshoulder, so drive with caution. COYOTES continue to be heard and
seen; 2 young were playing in a field near the Rea Farm Market on July
7. HORSESHOE CRABS are still mating and laying eggs. Look for newly
hatched and tailess Horseshoe Crabs (slightly bigger than the size of a
pin head) in the tideline, along with the shed skeletons of young crabs
that have molted.
TRUMPET CREEPER is in full bloom and luring in hungry hummingbirds.
SWAMP AZALEA is in full bloom and intoxicatingly sweet smelling. All
the milkweeds are blooming now (SWAMP, COMMON, ORANGE, and TROPICAL)
and drawing in nectaring butterflies. PICKERELWEED is in full bloom in
freshwater ponds, including CMBOs Dragonfly Pond, and pulling in
CMBOs 2005 Workshops cover hot (and fun) topics; many of the summer
workshops are held mid-week to avoid summer traffic. A 1-Day Butterfly
Workshop on Wednesday, August 10, is held when 36 species can be
studied in CMBOs gardens in Goshen alone. A 2-Day Shorebird Workshop
on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23-24, will enjoy more than 30 species
in many plumages! A 2-Day Fall Warblers, Flycatchers, and Vireos
Workshop on Wednesday and Thursday, August 31 and September 1, is
scheduled for THE peak time for these migrant songbirds. Learn to
Identify Birds on the Wing with Pete Dunne during this 2-day
workshop, held Wednesday and Thursday, September 14-15, scheduled
back-to-back with a 3-Day Fall Migration Workshop, Friday through
Sunday, September 16-18, also with Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis. A
2-Day Raptor Workshop, focusing on Falcons, Accipiters, and Osprey,
will be taught by Pete Dunne and Pat Sutton on Saturday and Sunday,
September 24-25. To receive the workshop brochure (covering 11
workshops now through January 05) call 609-861-0700 or go to:
Witness breeding birds at the peak of their nesting season by attending
one or all of CMBOs weekly July walks, requiring no preregistration.
For details on each walk as well as CMBOs many preregistration
programs go to:
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
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!