Cape May Natural History Hotline - 8/11/2005

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 Thursday, August 11. 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, Wednesdays, and Thursdays but open otherwise (Friday thru Monday), 9-4:30.

A juvenile WILSONS PHALAROPE was seen by boat from The Skimmer August 10 & 11 in mudflats on the ocean side of Nummys Island near a wooden cross. Back Bay trips aboard The Skimmer are also enjoying the best heron rookery season in a few years. Chicks of GREAT and SNOWY EGRETS, BLACK-CROWNED & YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, LITTLE BLUE & TRI-COLORED HERONS, GLOSSY IBIS, and CATTLE EGRETS have all been seen on recent trips! LAUGHING GULL and HERRING GULL chicks have fledged. COMMON, FOSTERS, and LEAST TERN young of the year are flying and fishing on their own now. Its the best OSPREY nesting season in 5 years! See for yourself by taking one of the Back Bay Boat Cruises, offered every Sunday and Monday (10 a.m. to Noon) and sponsored by CMBO. To register for the cruises call The Skimmer at 609-884-3100.

Stone Harbor Point is spectacular right now with migrant shorebirds and nesting terns and skimmers. On August 7, highlights included: adult BROWN PELICAN, 3 GREAT CORMORANT (also seen August 8), BRANT, 4 SANDWICH TERNS, 27 ROYAL TERNS, 2 adult CASPIAN TERNS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, 135 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, 1,400 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, DUNLIN, 2 MARBLED GODWIT (also seen August 8), 1,000 RED KNOT, 150 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER, juvenile SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and LEAST SANDPIPERS (newly arrived from their breeding grounds), and many, many COMMON TERN chicks and BLACK SKIMMER chicks being fed by adults! A BLACK TERN was seen there August 7 & 8. The Black Skimmer colony has been harassed and preyed upon by gulls in recent years, including Laughing Gulls. An observer this week watched a dozen Black Skimmers gang up on and injure (perhaps kill) a juvenile Laughing Gull that came too close to the colony. 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 be amazed by the birds at this magical spot!

Shorebird numbers are building and immatures are arriving, offering nice studies of adult vs immature plumages. A 2-Day Shorebird Workshop on August 23-24 (Tuesday and Wednesday) with Pete Dunne & Richard Crossley is full, but a 2nd workshop has opened up on the same dates to be taught by Michael OBrien. 30 species in many plumages can be studied at this magic time. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register.

Cape May Point State Park and viewing from the St. Marys Jetty this week produced CORYS SHEARWATER (August 6), GREATER SHEARWATER (August 8), N. GANNET (August 10), BROWN PELICAN (August 7), SURF SCOTER (August 8), 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (August 7 & 8), 5 BLACK TERNS (2 adults & 3 juv. on August 8 and 1 on August 11), 2 GULL-BILLED TERNS (August 7), SANDWICH TERN (August 6), 3 ROYAL TERNS (August 11), and 500 COMMON TERNS. Join CMBO naturalists to savor it all on the Birding Cape May Point walk (offered Saturday, August 13, and every Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m.).

2 BLUE-WINGED TEAL, a GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and 12 BOBOLINK were in The Meadows on August 8. Every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. Birding with Pete Dunne explores this rich area, and every Friday at 5:30 p.m. Sunset Birding at the Meadows is another way and time of day to enjoy this magic spot.

Warbler migration continues! August 9, 10 species were tallied at Higbee Beach between 5:45 and 8 a.m.: AMERICAN REDSTART (25), YELLOW WARBLER (12), N. WATERTHRUSH (3), LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (1), PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (3), CERULEAN WARBLER (2), PARULA WARBLER (1), BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER (3), PRAIRIE WARBLER (7), and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (4). Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis will be teaching a 2-Day Fall Warblers, Flycatchers, and Vireos Workshop on August 31 and September 1 (Wednesday and Thursday), THE peak time for these migrant songbirds. Learn to Identify Birds on the Wing with Pete Dunne during this 2-day workshop, held September 14-15 (Wednesday and Thursday). The 3-Day Fall Migration Workshop, Friday through Sunday, September 16-18, is FULL with a waiting list. To register for any of the Cape May Birding Workshops call 609-861-0700, x-11. To view full details about each workshop go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

A BLUE GROSBEAK was vocal and evident in CMBOs gardens in Goshen on August 5 and 6. The Cape May NWR headquarters on Kimbels Beach Road and the Woodcock Lane trail were excellent on August 7: BLUE GROSBEAK, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, E. KINGBIRDS, PURPLE MARTINS, COMMON FLICKERS, and CEDAR WAXWINGS.

Dozens of RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are in CMBOs gardens daily. With migration underway they are probably different birds every day. Some of the young males are beginning to show a spot or two of red on the throat. 1 hour Ruby-throated Hummingbird Walks are offered every Saturday and Wednesday through August at 9:30 a.m. at the CMBO Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North). At the same location, learn about wildlife gardening by getting your hands dirty with Pat Sutton each Friday morning (9 a.m. till Noon) at Garden Maintenance Workshops. Hummingbird numbers will soar towards the end of August. Join Pat Sutton for 1 or all 3 Hummingbird Migration evenings at CMBOs Center in Goshen (Thursdays: August 18 & 25; Saturday, August 27) from 6 to 8 p.m. when a blizzard of these tiny jewels tank up before migration. To register for the Hummingbird Migration programs or for more information, call 609-861-0700, x-11. During this super hot weather be sure to clean and maintain Hummingbird feeders at least every 2-3 days, so the solution is as fresh as a flowers nectar. For extensive information about gardening for hummingbirds & butterflies and wildlife in general, visit the World of Backyard Habitat pages on NJ Audubons website: http://www.njaudubon.org/Education/BackyardHabitat

The final tally is in on the success of NJs breeding BALD EAGLES. 53 pairs were monitored throughout the state of NJ. 47 pairs laid eggs and 64 young successfully fledged in 2005.

The Maurice River Township in Cumberland County is holding a PURPLE MARTIN MIGRATION SPECTACLE on Friday, August 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. Events include: (1) Dinner Cruise aboard the "Bodacious" with local Purple Martin mentor, Allen Jackson (call Linda Costello at 856-785-1120, x-10 to register for the cruise) (2) kayak trips from 5:30 to 7:30 from the base of the Maurice River bridge (call Steve Eisenhauer at Natural Lands Trust, 856-825-9952, to register for kayak trips), (3) Nature Conservancy events at TNC's Eldora Preserve, and (4) observations from the base of the Maurice River Bridge (near Mauricetown, NJ). For additional information call 856-785-1120, x-10.

The Cumberland Co. Butterfly Count on Tuesday, August 2, tallied 48 species. Highlights included: 3 CLOUDLESS SULPHURS (immigrants from the south), 1 WHITE M HAIRSTREAK, 23 VARIEGATED FRITILLARIES (also immigrants from the south), a WHITE ADMIRAL, 58 RED-SPOTTED PURPLES, 179 MONARCHS, 5 HAYHURSTS SCALLOPWING, 2 COMMON CHECKERED SKIPPER (another southern immigrant), 1 RARE SKIPPER, and a DION SKIPPER. 22 species of skipper were seen.

30 species of butterflies were seen in CMBOs Gardens in Goshen on August 10 (between rain showers) and August 11, including lots of the 3 common swallowtails, GRAY & RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS, lots of SUMMER AZURES, PEARL CRESCENTS, QUESTION MARK, numbers of AMERICAN & PAINTED LADIES, RED ADMIRALS, LITTLE WOOD SATYR, COMMON WOOD NYMPH, and a dozen PLUS MONARCHS (plus eggs and caterpillars). CMBOs gardens are a nursery bed for Monarchs with all the lush stands of various milkweeds. 13 species of skippers were seen August 10 & 11, including: HORACES DUSKYWING, LEAST, TAWNY-EDGE, LITTLE GLASSYWING, SACHEM, DELAWARE, 1 RARE, ZABULON, 1 AARONS, many BROAD-WINGED, 1 DUN, and a few SALTMARSH SKIPPERS. OLIVE JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK, AMERICAN SNOUT, COMMON SOOTYWING, and HAYHURSTS SCALLOPWING were in the Goshen gardens on August 5. Higbee Beach on August 8 held lots of some of the same butterflies plus a VICEROY. A N. BROKEN DASH was at Bivavle August 5.

SWAMP DARNERS are thick, especially at dusk. CMBOs Dragonfly Pond at the Center in Goshen is alive with dragonflies feeding, mating, egg laying, and emerging as winged adults.

WILD CHERRY fruits are ripe and falling to the ground. These fruits are eaten by 52 different birds and a critical food to many early migrants coming through right NOW! TRUMPET CREEPER is in full bloom and attracting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. CORAL HONEYSUCKLE is blooming for the 2nd time. BUTTERFLY BUSH is in full bloom and the hotspot for butterflies, hummingbirds, and hummingbird moths. SWEET PEPPERBUSH is in bloom along road shoulders and in wildlife gardens. Its fragrance gives it its name.

Four very special Tours of Private Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens still have room. Tours of private gardens from Dennisville south to Rio Grande will be offered on August 12 and September 9 (Fridays). Tours of private gardens in and near Cape May and Cape May Point will be offered August 13 and September 10 (Saturdays). These tours are a great way to get ideas for your own backyard habitat garden, to see secret gardens full of wildlife created by working people just like you (without a staff of gardeners), and to meet kindred spirits! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register or for more information.

A Kayak Trip to Wild Areas : East Creek Lake and Pickle Factory Pond on Tuesday, August 16, still has room. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, for more information or to register.

CMBOs 2005 Workshops (many listed above) are ideal ways to learn. Summer workshops are often held mid-weed to avoid summer traffic. 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: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks05.html

Witness early fall migration by attending one or all of CMBOs weekly walks, requiring no preregistration. For details on each walk as well as CMBOs many preregistration programs go to: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/calcmbo.html

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. 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 web site: 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 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!

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