Cape May Natural History Hotline - 8/4/2005

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

There have been several sightings of a female MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD. A belated report just came in of a bird seen July 19th or 20th soaring over Town Bank (which is just north of North Cape May) next to the Delaware Bay. Another sighting occurred July 30 at Stone Harbor Point. The bird was soaring 30-50 feet overhead. There have been no sightings of the BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH since July 28.

GREATER SHEARWATERS continue to be seen close to shore feeding in the rips off Cape May Point. Many observers are having luck from the dune crossover at St. Marys By-the-Sea (the Nuns retreat next to the Cape May Point State Park). 12 were seen July 30 and 1 on August 4, along with 3-4 WILSONS STORM PETREL. If youd like to see or learn how to search for shearwaters and other early August treats, consider joining the CMBO Birding Cape May Point walk (offered every Saturday and every Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m.)

Fall migration has begun for passerines. On July 29 YELLOW WARBLERS were seen migrating south down the dunes at Strathmere. 10 species of migrant warblers were seen at Higbee Beach on August 2, including 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS and several WORM-EATING WARBLERS. Observers at dawn at Higbee Beach on August 3rd and 4th enjoyed fair numbers of migrating YELLOW WARBLERS, AMERICAN REDSTARTS, PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS, ORCHARD ORIOLES, and BOBOLINKS, along with a lone N. WATERTHRUSH and OVERBIRD on August 4, and LEAST FLYCATCHER on August 3. TREE SWALLOWS are gathering on wires. 360 were counted over Goshen Landing Road on August 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 ( 9 spaces left). 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

Shorebirds are also on the move. 18 species were seen at Brigantine NWR this past week including MARBLED GODWIT, AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, STILT SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, and PECTORAL SANDPIPER. A 2-Day Shorebird Workshop on August 23-24 (Tuesday and Wednesday) will be taught by Pete Dunne & Richard Crossley and enjoy more than 30 species in many plumages (6 spaces left). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register.

4-5 BROWN PELICANS can be seen at Stone Harbor Point. Many RED KNOTS, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONES, and DOWITCHERS were there July 29. The nesting colony of terns and BLACK SKIMMERS, along with the PIPING PLOVER and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS is a sight to behold. 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! Another way to explore and savor unusual summer nesting birds is to take one of the Back Bay Boat Cruises offered every Sunday and Monday (10 a.m. to Noon), sponsored by CMBO. To register for the cruises call The Skimmer at 609-884-3100.

There is a blizzard of RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS at CMBOs Center in Goshen and the numbers continue to grow as more and more hummingbirds migrate through. 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

Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH are stunning now and stealing the show at CMBOs Center in Goshen where they are feasting on Anise Hyssop in seed.

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 Cape May Butterfly Count on Thursday, July 28, tallied 41 species. Highlights included: 4 OAK HAIRSTREAKS, 2 WHITE M HAIRSTREAKS, 108 MONARCHS, and 1 EUROPEAN SKIPPER. Results of the Cumberland County Butterfly Count on Tuesday, August 2, are not entirely in, but so far 46 species were tallied. Highlights included: 3 CLOUDLESS SULPHURS (immigrants from the south), 1 WHITE M HAIRSTREAK, 22 VARIEGATED FRITILLARIES (also immigrants from the south), a WHITE ADMIRAL, 151 MONARCHS, 5 HAYHURSTS SCALLOPWING, 1 COMMON CHECKERED SKIPPER (another southern immigrant), and a DION SKIPPER. 22 species of skipper were seen.

It is looking like a very good year, at least in this area, for MONARCHS. CMBOs gardens have 4-6 daily, as well as eggs and caterpillars on the Common Milkweed and the Tropical Milkweed. OLIVE JUNIPER HAIRSTREAKS are nectaring on BONESET in CMBOs gardens. TIGER SWALLOWTAILS are everywhere now that the 2nd brood is flying. SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS and HUMMINGBIRD CLEARWINGS are flying now and attracted to the same flowers that are swarming with butterflies in CMBOs Gardens in Goshen. A1-Day Butterfly Workshop on Wednesday, August 10, will be taught by Pat Sutton when 36 species can be studied in CMBOs gardens in Goshen alone. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register.

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.

A COYOTE was seen July 29 in the dunes at The Meadows during the CMBO walk.

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.

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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