Cape May Natural History Hotline - 8/13/2004

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, August 13. 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.

WINGED SUMAC is in flower and attracting some butterflies. Fruits will ripen later this fall and serve as a critical food to hungry migrants. WILD BLACK CHERRIES are falling from trees heavy with fruit. At least 53 birds feed on these fruits, an important food for hungry migrants passing through right now. CRIMSON-EYED ROSE MALLOWS are in bloom at the Cape May Point State Park, "The Meadows," and in CMBO's gardens in Goshen. A show stopper! On Sunday, August 22, Mark Garland will teach "Summer Wildflowers" (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) outdoors while exploring 2-3 habitats near Cape May. Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register.

GHOST CRABS rule the night beaches. Learn all about them from Marine Biologist Karen Williams at CMBO's special "Ghost Crabs: The Good, Bad, & Ugly" on Wednesday, August 18, from 8-10 p.m. Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to register. 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

1000s of shorebirds are here now. All adults! Brigantine NWR impoundments are filled with them, including 100s of WESTERN SANDPIPER & 475 STILT SANDPIPER, as well as the lingering AMERICAN AVOCET (on August 5). Today's "Shorebird Roundup" with Pete Dunne (August 13) should bring to our attention the latest numbers. At the peak time to study shorebirds Pete Dunne and Richard Crossley will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Shorebirds," August 24-25. 4 spaces remain! Mark Garland's popular "Birding Delaware Refuges" on Thursday, August 19 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), is another great opportunity to study shorebirds. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register for either while spaces remain.

Each coldfront now (drop in temperature) means a wave of migrants! Yes, you may think of it as summer, but to many Neotropical migrants, IT IS FALL!!! Backyard habitats all over Cape May county have been sprinkled with migrant AMERICAN REDSTARTS and YELLOW WARBLERS dashing after each other and attracted to drippers and misters. YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS are calling from many sites. A wave of migrants at Higbee Beach, on August 12, included: WORM-EATING WARBLER (1), OVENBIRD (3), CANADA WARBLER (1), BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER (3), AMERICAN REDSTARTS (30+), and YELLOW WARBLERS (10); a HOODED WARBLER was at CMBO's Northwood Center. A fallout of migrants on August 10 at Higbee Beach included: CERULEAN (2), CANADA (3), CHESTNUT-SIDED (1), PRAIRIE (1), WORM-EATING (2), and BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (1), OVENBIRD (2), LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (1), N. WATERTHRUSH (5+), and many AMERICAN REDSTARTS and YELLOW WARBLERS. August 7 brought another wave of migrants to many spots in South Jersey: (1) 150+ warblers were seen from the Higbee Beach dike at dawn! (2) observers at the Cape May NWR on Rt. 47 (Woodcock Lane access) enjoyed: AM. REDSTART, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER, BLACK and WHITE WARBLER, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, YELLOW & PRAIRIE WARBLER, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, INDIGO BUNTINGS, and an adult BALD EAGLE. The same day a SANDHILL CRANE flew over Cape May Point at 3 p.m. (3) observers on Berrytown Road in Cumberland County enjoyed: YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, YELLOW, BLUE-WINGED, PROTHONOTARY, BLACK-AND-WHITE, and PALM WARBLERS.

Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Songbird Migration (Fall Warblers, Empid Flycatchers, Vireos, and others)," September 1-2, at the peak time to study Neotropical migrants! Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register while spaces remain. To download a registration form for any of CMBO's upcoming Cape May Birding Workshop, go to NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html

BALD EAGLES are early migrants. On August 6, over the Cape May Bird Observatory's Center for Research and Education in Goshen, an immature was seen and later an adult dove on an OSPREY to steal its fish! An immature was seen over the Cape May Point State Park on August 7. On August 8, migrant BROAD-WINGED HAWKS were seen over Goshen and over the Rea Farm, and another over Cape May Point on August 6. One of the ultimate birding experiences is to witness the Cape May skies full of raptors while fine tuning your raptor ID skills with CMBO's first official hawk watcher, Pete Dunne. Pete Dunne and Pat Sutton will teach 3 different Cape May Birding Workshops on "Raptors": (1) "2-day workshop" on Saturday & Sunday, September 25 & 26, (2) "2-day workshop" on Monday & Tuesday, September 27 & 28, and (3) "5-day workshop on Raptor Migration" (with Clay Sutton as the 3rd leader) Sunday through Thursday, October 24-28 (just prior to NJ Audubon's "Cape May Autumn Weekend / The Bird Show). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register while spaces remain. To download a registration form for these upcoming Cape May Birding Workshop, go to NJ Audubon's web site at: http://www.njaudubon.org/Calendar/Cmboworks04.html

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS are thick as thieves at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600 Route 47 North). The gorgeous hummingbird and butterfly gardens at this site have attracted 30-40 birds. Many are migrants now from the north and individuals change day-to-day as some migrants move on and others arrive. Young males from the first nests are showing flecks of red in the throat. Join Pat Sutton for a 1 hour (2-3:30 p.m.) "Buzz About Hummingbirds" outdoor program every Wednesday and Saturday at CMBO's Center in Goshen, 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. CMBO's feeders are emptying every day with all the activity! 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

Captain Bob Carlough's boat "The Skimmer" discovered an adult BLACK TERN and a MARBLED GODWIT near Nummy's Island on August 11. CMBO sponsored "Back Bay Birding By Boat" tours aboard "The Skimmer," every Sunday & Monday from 10 a.m. to Noon, are a great way to enjoy and savor saltmarsh mudflats covered in shorebirds, terns feeding their young, herons and egrets, and the unexpected! Call Wildlife Unlimited directly to register for the "Back Bay" trips (609-884-3100); a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday & Monday AM trips go to CMBO. Four specially arranged Saturday evening "Sunset Cruises for Fall Migrants" aboard "The Skimmer" are set: September 11, 25, October 2, and 9. Spaces are limited; to register for Sunset Cruises, call 609-861-0700, x-11.

Swallows and PURPLE MARTINS are gathering on wires. Martins are beginning to stage at the Maurice River. Be sure to mark your calendar for Cumberland County's "Purple Martin Festival" on Saturday, August 21. Registration opens at 2:30 p.m. Indoor programs by martin experts and the author of the Cumberland Birding Guide begin at 2:45 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. a boat tour and an observation site will be manned by CMBO naturalists to showcase the Maurice River roost site where 60,000-70,000 martins descend into the marsh grasses just at dusk in a spectacular whoosh! This roost site is a staging area before martins journey to Brazil where they spend the winter! Call 856-453-2177 to receive Cumberland County's information flyer w/details!

A flurry of CLOUDLESS SULPHURS were seen this week: Higbee Beach (3 on August 8), Cape May Point (1 on August 10), Goshen (1 on August 12), East Point in Cumberland Co. (1 on August 11). So it will probably be a fall with many sightings of this huge, yellow, southern butterfly that wanders north some falls. A movement of MONARCHS occurred on August 7, no doubt migrants from the north (New England and Canada) beginning to head south to Mexico. RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS have out in good numbers now: 6 on Berrytown Road in Cumberland County on August 7 and 12+ in CMBO's gardens in Goshen on the Mountain Mint almost daily! CMBO's "1-day Butterfly Workshop" on August 11 studied 31 species of butterflies in the CMBO Gardens in Goshen, including 18 species of skippers: HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING (several), HORACE'S DUSKYWING, COMMON SOOTYWING, SWARTHY, LEAST, TAWNY-EDGED, CROSSLINE, N. BROKEN DASH, LITTLE GLASSYWING, SACHEM, DELAWARE, RARE (1, and 1 also August 12), ZABULON (#s), AARON'S (#s), BROAD-WINGED (#s), DUN, and SALTMARSH SKIPPER. The last OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK was seen in CMBO's Gardens in Goshen on August 7. Elsewhere APPALACHIAN BROWN was seen at the Rea Farm (August 8), HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING at Higbee Beach (August 6), and FIERY SKIPPER at Higbee Beach (August 8). Every Wednesday (10 a.m. to Noon) Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk at Cape May Point," meeting at the Pavilion Circle Gardens. Every Thursday (10 a.m. to Noon) Pat Sutton leads a "Butterfly Walk in the Goshen Gardens" at CMBO (600 Rt. 47 N).

6 FOUR-SPOTTED PENNANT (a southern species, rare and sporadic in our area) were seen July 31 at the Cape May Point State Park. COMET DARNER was at Higbee Beach on August 7.

COYOTES were heard howling in Eldora and Goshen the night of August 7.

A terrific selection of hard to find hummingbird, butterfly & general wildlife plants (including BONESET, JOE-PYE-WEED, MOUNTAIN MINT, CORAL HONEYSUCKLE, TRUMPET CREEPER, COMMON MILKWEED, and DWARF HACKBERRY) are 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 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 Tuesday (6:00 p.m. till dusk) the "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point" walk (with CMBO naturalists who know the area intimately) is a great way to enjoy this unique area (meet in the Stone Harbor Point parking lot at the south end of Stone Harbor), (3) every Wednesday "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, "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" meets in the parking lot at the end of New England Road at 7:00 p.m., (5) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" meets at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard at 5:30 p.m., (6) every Saturday (beginning August 21), "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm" meets at 7:00 a.m. in the parking lot on Bayshore Road (not at the Rea Farm produce stand on Stevens Street), and (7) if you're a beginner, join Judy Lukens Sunday, August 22, for "Birding for First Timers" (2-4 p.m.), meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform in Cape May Point State Park.

The Cape May Bird Observatory offers hundreds of programs ... many more than those briefly mentioned here. CMBO's FALL (September-November 2004) Program Schedule (and a link to the remaining SUMMER: August programs) 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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