CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, August 19, 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 Thursday, August 19. 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.
It's been a very good year for BEACH PLUM fruits. Bushes in the shrub
islands in CMBO's parking lot at the Center in Goshen are thick with
frosty purple fruits. They'll all be ripe around Labor Day. WINGED
SUMAC bushes are full of clusters of yellow flowers. A few WILD BLACK
CHERRIES still hang from trees, but most have fallen to the ground.
CORAL HONEYSUCKLE is in full bloom again and pulling in hungry
hummingbirds. CRIMSON-EYED ROSE MALLOW, a wild hibiscus, is a show
stopper at the Cape May Point State Park, "The Meadows," and in CMBO's
gardens in Goshen. 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.
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 through August 28 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:
Swallows and PURPLE MARTINS are gathering on wires. 60,000-70,000
Purple Martins stage (gather) on the Maurice River and roost in the
riverside marshes at dusk. Cumberland County's "Purple Martin Festival"
on Saturday, August 21, is a great way to observe this spectacle!
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 on the top of the Maurice River
Bridge will be manned by CMBO naturalists to showcase this spectacle.
Call 856-453-2177 to receive Cumberland County's information flyer
Neotropical songbirds are migrating through now. Each coldfront (drop
in temperature) brings a new wave! For four hours, beginning at
sunrise, they can be seen heading north over Higbee Beach. Having
migrated through the night, those that reach land's end in the early
morning, round the tip of the peninsula and turn north, following the
Delaware Bayshore, settling in good habitat further up the bayshore.
Identifying these flyovers is a true challenge, but you can learn from
the experts every Saturday and Sunday (beginning September 4) by joining
Chris Vogel on the viewing tower near the Higbee Beach dike from 8:00 to
8:30 a.m. for the "Morning Flight." Migrants enjoyed on August 15 at
Higbee Beach included: CERULEAN WARBLER (1), PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (1),
WORM-EATING WARBLER (2), BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER, PRAIRIE WARBLER, N.
WATERTHRUSH (1), BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, and lots of AMERICAN REDSTARTS.
Migrants enjoyed there on August 18 include: YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and
LARK SPARROW. And on August 19: WORM-EATING WARBLER (2), RED-EYED VIREO
(2), PRAIRIE WARBLERS (2), N. WATERTHRUSH (2), OVENBIRD (1), and numbers
of BALTIMORE ORIOLES, E. KINGBIRDS, YELLOW WARBLERS, and AMERICAN
Another great opportunity to savor these migrants and learn challenging
ID points is to join Pete Dunne and Louise Zemaitis for the next Cape
May Birding Workshop on "Songbird Migrants (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:
GREAT HORNED OWLS were calling on August 15 and again on the 18th near
the Rea Farm. Great Horned Owls are our earliest nesting bird and a
year round resident. Adults could already be calling to let others know
the territory where they intend to nest in January.
1000s of shorebirds are here now. Brigantine NWR impoundments are
filled with them, including highlights like AMERICAN AVOCET, HUDSONIAN
GODWIT, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, MARBLED GODWIT, and numbers of STILT
SANDPIPERS, WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS on August
15. At the peak time to study shorebirds Pete Dunne and Richard
Crossley will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Shorebirds," August
24-25. This workshop is full; call 609-861-0700, x-11 to be put on the
On August 17, on CMBO's "Kayak Trip up Bidwell's Creek" we had an adult
BALD EAGLE soar over us for 15 minutes showing quite a bit of interest.
It is only a matter of time before more nests are discovered here in
Cape May County. New Jersey's nesting Adult BALD EAGLES are year-round
residents and do not wander too far from their nesting territory and
nearby hunting habitats. Adults from northern states do migrate because
northern winters are so harsh. Immature Bald Eagles all wander for the
first four years of their lives -- until they get the white head and
tail -- and can be seen right now in August. There is no rhyme or
reason to the direction they wander. We can see young from Florida
nests wandering through New Jersey. New Jersey's 34 nests this year
successfully fledged 54 young eagles. Many of the young began flying in
late June and early July.
Last fall's Cape May Hawkwatch tallied 178 Bald Eagles between September
1 and November 30. 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
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,
Every Monday (except September 6), "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
CLOUDLESS SULPHURS, a southern butterfly, are moving north. 5 were
seen in CMBO's gardens in Goshen on August 19, and elsewhere around
South Jersey this past week. MONARCHS too have been more common in the
last week. 5 were in CMBO's gardens in Goshen on August 19, and Common
Milkweed plants in Cape May Point on August 18 had dozens of eggs on
them. GRAY & RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAKS are coming to MOUNTAIN MINT,
BONESET, and VERBENA BONARIENSIS. PAINTED LADIES (1 each) were seen in
Cape May Point on August 18 and in CMBO's gardens in Goshen on August
19. CMBO's Gardens in Goshen held HORACE'S DUSKYWING, SWARTHY, LEAST,
TAWNY-EDGED, LITTLE GLASSYWING, SACHEM, ZABULON (#s), AARON'S (#s),
BROAD-WINGED (#s), and SALTMARSH SKIPPERS on August 19. HACKBERRY
EMPERORS were in a backyard garden in Goshen on August 18. 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). Beginning Sunday, September 5, Louise Zemaitis
will lead a "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" every Sunday (10 a.m. to Noon),
meeting at the Pavilion Circle Gardens in Cape May Point.
On Friday, September 10, gardens in and near Cape May and Cape May Point
will be featured on CMBO's "Tour of Private Butterfly Gardens," and on
Saturday, September 11, gardens from the Villas north to Woodbine will
be featured. A few spaces remain on each tour. Call 609-861-0700,
x-11, to register.
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
Thursday, "Hidden Valley Bird Walk" meets at 7:00 a.m. in the small
clamshell parking lot on the south side of New England Road, (5) every
Friday, "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" meets in the parking lot at the end of
New England Road at 7:00 p.m., (6) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the
Meadows" meets at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard at 5:30
p.m., (7) every Saturday, "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 (8) 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):
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!