CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, July 9, 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 9. 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.
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.
It's "4th of July Butterfly Count" time across the country. The 3 South
Jersey counts are underway. Mark Garland coordinated the Belleplain
Butterfly Count on July 1 and a preliminary tally came in with 48
species (2756 individuals), which is slightly above average for this
count in its 13th year. Highlights included: BOG COPPER (1), BANDED
HAIRSTREAK (1), OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK (36), VARIEGATED FRITILLARY
(9), PEARL CRESCENT (144), QUESTION MARK (2 ), MOURNING CLOAK (1),
AMERICAN LADY (55), PAINTED LADY (2), COMMON BUCKEYE (49), RED-SPOTTED
PURPLE (21), VICEROY (1), HACKBERRY EMPEROR (1), TAWNY EMPEROR (1),
APPALACHIAN BROWN (4), MONARCH (7), COMMON CHECKERED-SKIPPER (1), DOTTED
SKIPPER (1), NORTHERN BROKEN-DASH (28), SACHEM (20), DELAWARE SKIPPER
(10), RARE SKIPPER (58 ... many of those were in CMBO's gardens in
Goshen!), MULBERRY WING (4), ZABULON SKIPPER (4), AARON'S SKIPPER (10),
BROAD-WINGED SKIPPER (1198), DUN SKIPPER (3), and SALTMARSH SKIPPER
(39). Count week species additions included: Striped Hairstreak,
White-M Hairstreak, American Snout. The Cape May Butterfly Count will
be coordinated by Louise Zemaitis & Michael O'Brien (and held on
Tuesday, July 27; if you are truly interested call Deb Shaw at
609-861-0700, x-11, and she will share how you are to get in touch with
Louise & Michael. The Cumberland County Butterfly Count will be
coordinated by Pat Sutton (609-861-0700, x-16) and held on Tuesday,
CMBO's gardens in Goshen continue to host OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAKS,
RARE SKIPPERS (most attracted to the Pickerelweed in the Dragonfly Pond,
Common Milkweed, and Anise Hyssop), COMMON CHECKERED SKIPPER, SNOWBERRY
CLEARWINGS (a type of hummingbird moth), and lots of other species. A
LUNA MOTH adorned the back wall of CMBO July 8 & 9, no doubt attracted
to the night lights over the back deck. 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, a one-day Bullet Workshop for
"Butterflies" will be taught by Pat Sutton. To learn more & download a
registration form for this and other Cape May Birding Workshops, go to
NJ Audubon's web site at:
2 WIDOW SKIMMER were seen on June 30 on the Cape May NWR off Burleigh
Avenue along the power line running south.
Chris Kisiel with the NJ DEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program
shared the following about the beach nesting bird colony at Stone Harbor
Point as/of June 27, 2004. This site hosts the only nesting BLACK
SKIMMERS in NJ this summer. There are over 800 adults and on June 27,
372 were sitting on nests (a lower total than in 2003). There were 826
adult COMMON TERNS visible on June 27 (with many more hidden and nesting
within dune grass and out of sight), including 236 sitting on nests.
Their young have been hatching over the past two weeks, and chicks are
now visible in the colony. On June 27 there were 16 LEAST TERNS, with
very few nesting. Two weeks prior, there had been 65 Least Terns
(predation is suspected, for the second year, a real blow to Least
Terns). 6 pairs of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER have fledged one chick so
far. 9 pairs of PIPING PLOVER are using Stone Harbor Point this
summer. 4 pairs successfully hatched young already, but there are no
fledges or chicks to be found . . . so none survived (predators, high
tides). Of the 3 remaining Piping Plover nests two were highly
susceptible to the high tides brought on by the full moon on the 2nd.
LAUGHING GULLS this summer continue to be the number one problem facing
the tern and skimmer colony. NJ ENSP biologists have witnessed gulls
taking both eggs and chicks from tern nests, and they have been
harassing the colony non-stop.
The Stone Harbor Point beach nesting bird colony is an auditory and
visual "must see!" The activity continues to attract rare and uncommon
terns, like the 6 different ROSEATE TERNS that have been seen there July
2-6, an ARCTIC TERN July 6, 2 BLACK TERNS July 1. At the peak time to
study terns CMBO is offering it's next Cape May Birding Workshop: on
"Terns" July 28 (last year 10 species were studied side-by-side in late
July). 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:
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.
Be sure to attend one of the "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point"
walks (with CMBO naturalists who know the area intimately), offered
every Tuesday (6:00 p.m. till dusk) and meeting 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.
2 MARBLED GODWIT were seen near Nummy's Island / Stone Harbor Point
aboard this boat on July 7. Call Wildlife Unlimited directly to
register (609-884-3100); a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday &
Monday AM trips goes to CMBO.
The Cape May Point State Park beachfront PIPING PLOVER nests produced 7
The OSPREY population on the Maurice River is doing very well thanks to
the efforts of "Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its
Tributaries" and their many volunteers. This group monitors 47 nest
platforms that they have erected, including many new platforms put up
this past winter. This year they have 30 active nests in which 77 eggs
were laid. Many of the young are quite sizable now! 2003 was a dismal
year due to the cold, wet spring; only 33 chicks survived (in 30 active
nests). 2002 was a banner year where 26 active nests produced 60
chicks. An active OSPREY NEST is visible from the Nature Center of Cape
May on the Cape May Harbor (1600 Delaware Avenue). They have a
telescope set up on it. Go be a voyeur.
Many of the 52+ BALD EAGLETS from NJ's 36 active nests have fledged.
The PURPLE MARTIN colony at the Cape May Point State Park (in two T-14
houses with additional gourds underneath) was maintained by CMBO
volunteer Dave Thomas. On June 28th the houses held 111 young and 32
eggs yet to hatch.
SHOREBIRDS are arriving! YES, fall migration has begun! 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. Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.
Two CMBO Kayak trips to wild places still have room: (1) Tuesday, July
27 ("Kayak Trip to Pickle Factory Pond & East Creek Lake"), 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. They showed up this
year in good numbers at the end of June and have been observed since
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity is non-stop at CMBO's Gardens in
Goshen and elsewhere! Males are occasionally displaying over females,
but females are already busy with their second nests! 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!
Hummingbird feeders are emptying every few days at CMBO! Be sure to
maintain your feeders, by cleaning them thoroughly every few days during
summer's heat and refilling with fresh solution. 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:
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.
Enjoy summer birds and early fall migrants 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 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, (3) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" meets at
6:30 p.m. at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard, (4) if you're
a beginner, join Judy Lukens Sunday, July 11, for "Birding for First
Timers" (2-4 p.m.), meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform in Cape May
Point State Park, and (5) every Monday (beginning July 19), "Life on the
Beach" with marine biologist Karen Williams, meeting 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.
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.
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):
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 (July 15 -
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!