CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, August 5, 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 5. 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.
WILD BLACK CHERRY trees are heavy with fruit. It's falling to the
ground and attracting butterflies that like rotting fruit and the fruits
are also a favorite with 50 birds, including many migrants.
Early fall migrants are on the move! On July 26, observers at the
Higbee Beach dike tower counted the following migrants at dawn: 80
YELLOW WARBLERS, 5 N. WATERTHRUSH, 1 WORM-EATING WARBLER, 1
PROTHONOTARY, 3 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 1 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, AND 10
PRAIRIE WARBLERS. At the peak time to study fall landbird migrants,
Pete Dunne & Louise Zemaitis will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on
"Fall Warblers, Empid Flycatchers, Vireos, and other landbirds,"
September 1-2. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register.
Shorebirds that bred in the Arctic have been moving through since July
and their numbers are growing. On August 3, the "Sunset Birding at Stone
Harbor Point" walk saw MARBLED GODWIT, WHIMBREL, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS,
SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, @ 700 RED KNOT, SANDERLINGS, and RUDDY
TURNSTONES. At the peak time to study shorebirds Pete Dunne and Richard
Crossley will teach a Cape May Birding Workshop on "Shorebirds," August
24-25. Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register. To download a
registration form for this workshop or the "Fall Warblers, Empid
Flycatchers, Vireos, etc." workshop or any other Cape May Birding
Workshop, go to NJ Audubon's web site at:
Two other shorebird-rich opportunities include Pete Dunne's "Shorebird
Roundup" on Friday, August 13 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Mark Garland's
popular "Birding Delaware Refuges" on Thursday, August 19 (8 a.m. to 5
p.m.). Call 609-861-0700, x-11, to register for either while spaces
The nesting colony on the beach at Stone Harbor Point is a "must see!"
On August 3, along with the shorebirds mentioned above, the nesting pair
of GULL-BILLED TERNS were seen with 2 fledged young begging for food!
There were also 35 BLACK SKIMMER fledged chicks, 2 ROYAL TERNS, and lots
of COMMON TERNS. On August 2, a BLACK TERN was attracted to the
commotion. 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). 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. Call Wildlife Unlimited directly to register (609-884-3100);
a portion of the proceeds from the Sunday & Monday AM trips goes to
Swallows are gathering on wires. A kayak paddler saw 100s hunting over
the offshore waters on August 4 and migrating RUBY-THROATED
CMBO's gardens in Goshen are a war zone of bickering RUBY-THROATED
HUMMINGBIRDS. There must be at least 30 or more, a mix of migrants from
the north and the birds that nested here. Some of the young males from
the first nests are beginning to show 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
(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.
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:
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) 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.
"4th of July Butterfly Counts" have been held across the country in the
last month. The Cape May Butterfly Count on July 29 tallied 46
species. Highlights were many, including 3 SLEEPY ORANGE in Villas, 1
WHITE- M HAIRSTREAK, 26 AMERICAN SNOUT, 3 VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, 1
APPALACHIAN BROWN, 13 MONARCH, 26 HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING, 260 COMMON
SOOTYWING, 4 FIERY SKIPPER, 98 SACHEM, 17 DELAWARE SKIPPER, 1 RARE
SKIPPER, 24 ZABULON SKIPPER, 493 BROAD-WINGED SKIPPER, 77 SALT MARSH
SKIPPER. One unexpected highlight was a WHITE-LINED SPHINX MOTH
(size-wise half way between a hummingbird and a hummingbird moth)
nectaring in full daylight for a long time.
The Cumberland County Butterfly Count was held August 4 and a sunny,
butterfly-filled day it was (after the rains of Hurricane Alex hit on
Tuesday, August 3)! Not all reports are in, but a preliminary tally of
47 species tells of a very good day. Preliminary highlights include
over 200 SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAILS, 5 CLOUDLESS SULPHUR (immigrants from
the south), 1 LITTLE YELLOW (ditto), 12 VARIEGATED FRITILLARY (another
immigrant from the south), 1 PAINTED LADY (another immigrant from the
south & scarce so far this summer), 45 RED-SPOTTED PURPLE, 3 APPALACHIAN
BROWN, 35 MONARCH, 13 HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING, 25 PECK'S SKIPPERS, 2
TAWNY-EDGED SKIPPER, 1 CROSSLINE SKIPPER, 13 N. BROKEN DASH, 12 LITTLE
GLASSYWING, and 3 RARE SKIPPERS.
A WHITE ADMIRAL was seen July 10 along the Tuckahoe River (this is only
1 of 3 modern day records). SLEEPY ORANGES showed up in a garden in the
Villas on June 26 and laid eggs on Maryland Senna. On July 19, 10
SLEEPY ORANGES were in this same garden (some newly emerged), others
mating, others laying eggs. The fall's first CLOUDLESS SULPHUR was seen
in Cumberland County on July 22. 31 species of butterflies were tallied
in Buckshutem WMA on July 22. And 27 species in a garden in the Villas
on July 27, including 7 SLEEPY ORANGES. 34 species of butterflies were
seen along the Maurice River on July 29, including 1 CLOUDLESS SULPHUR,
45 RED-SPOTTED PURPLES, and 23 HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING. HACKBERRY
EMPERORS and AMERICAN SNOUTS were tree topping in a garden in Goshen on
July 29. 3 OLIVE JUNIPER HAIRSTREAKS were in CMBO's gardens in Goshen
on July 29, as well as a fresh RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAK, and numbers of
hummingbird moths (both SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS and HUMMINGBIRD
CLEARWINGS). 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, Pat Sutton will teach a one-day "Bullet Workshop for
"Butterflies." To register call 609-861-0700, x-11.
GIANT SILK MOTHS seen recently include: IO MOTH (July 20) near Rea Farm,
IMPERIAL MOTH (yellow & pink; stunning!) seen July 20 at Reeds Beach and
another seen July 29 near Goshen, PROMETHEA MOTH seen in Upper Township
@ July 28.
Dozens of COMMON GREEN DARNERS were seen over the waters off Cape May on
August 4. E. AMBERWINGS, WANDERING GLIDERS, CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS,
HALLOWEEN PENNANTS, BLUE DASHER, E. PONDHAWK, and RAMBUR'S FORKTAILS are
all flying now too.
A "pup" COYOTE was seen walking along New England Road on July 23, not
at all fearful. As the Coyote population has grown the feral cat
population has been given some checks and balances, thankfully for the
It has been an incredible summer for BOTTLENOSED DOLPHIN. 100s are in
the waters off Cape May and in the Delaware Bay. "Ghost Crabs: The
Good, Bad, & Ugly" with marine biologist, Karen Williams (Wednesday,
August 18, from 8-10 p.m.) still has room. Call 609-861-0700, x-11 to
BEACH PLUM bushes are full of fruit. A few plums are ripe and frosty
purple, others vary from white to pink to pale blue in color. IRONWEED,
JOE-PYE-WEED, BONESET, BLUE BONESET (or MISTFLOWER), TRUMPET CREEPER,
and CRIMSON-EYED ROSE MALLOWS (a wild hibiscus) are all in bloom now!
PURPLE MARTIN colonies in South Jersey have quieted as young martins
have fledged and birds are beginning to stage at places like the Maurice
River. Be sure to mark your calendars for Cumberland County's "Purple
Martin Festival" on Saturday, August 21, when 100,000 might be seen
going to roost along the Maurice River, a site where migrants stage
before migrating south to Brazil where they spend the winter! CMBO
naturalists will be volunteering as leaders during this festival. Call
856-453-2177 to receive Cumberland County's information flyer w/details!
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 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, (3) 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, (4) every Friday, "Sunset Birding at the
Meadows" meets at TNC's refuge parking lot on Sunset Boulevard at 5:30
p.m., (5) if you're a beginner, join Judy Lukens Sunday, August 8, 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 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):
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!