Cape May Natural History Hotline - 7/9/2004

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, August 3.

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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html

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: 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.

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 chicks.

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 almost daily!

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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat/Index.html

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): http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

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 (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!

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