CAPE MAY NATURAL HISTORY AND EVENTS HOTLINE, August 8, 2003
You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a
service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This
message was prepared on Friday, August 8. For bird news call the Cape
May Birding Hotline at (609) 898-2473. NJ Audubon's three hotlines can
be read in full on our web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on
"Sightings" at the top of any page.
CMBO's "Kayak Trip at Great Cedar Swamp" on Tuesday, August 12, 7:30
a.m. to 1:30 p.m., still has a few spaces left. Call 609-861-0700,
x-11, to register. This trip will explore a true wilderness right here
in South Jersey, far from traffic. Our group will probably be the only
people on the water. Cardinal Flower will be in full bloom, a din of
Marsh Wrens fill the air, Sweet Pepperbush is blooming, bushes full of
ripe Huckleberries and Blueberries hang over the kayaks, River Otter
live in the creek, colorful dragonflies and damselflies dot the
vegetation, and two weeks ago our first Kayak Trip enjoyed a young Bald
Eagle (recently fledged from a nearby nest).
Astronomers have alerted us that this month and next Earth is catching
up with Mars, an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach
between the two planets in recorded history. The encounter will
culminate on August 27th. At the beginning of August Mars rose in the
east at 10 p.m. But by the end of August when the two planets are
closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the
sky at 12:30 a.m. Mars will grow progressively brighter and brighter
throughout the month. Apparently no one alive today will ever see this
CMBO's gardens in Goshen (600 Route 47 North) are blooming profusely and
the numbers of butterflies is bewitching! An amazing 34 species were
tallied in the gardens on August 3, the highest number ever in these
gardens! Highlights include: lots of BLACK, E. TIGER, and SPICEBUSH
SWALLOWTAILS (including numbers of Black Swallowtail caterpillars on
fennel and Queen Anne's Lace and numbers of Spicebush Swallowtail
caterpillars on Spicebush and Sassafras), dozens of CABBAGE WHITES, 10
AMERICAN COPPER, 13 OLIVE' JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK (mostly on the Boneset
and on the Mountain Mint), GRAY HAIRSTREAK, RED-BANDED HAIRSTREAK,
SUMMER AZURE, AMERICAN SNOUT, VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, PEARL CRESCENT,
QUESTION MARK (including numbers laying eggs on Hops vine), dozens of
AMERICAN LADY (and their caterpillars on Sweet Everlasting), a PAINTED
LADY, 10 COMMON BUCKEYE, RED-SPOTTED PURPLE (coming to our dish of
rotten fruit), COMMON WOOD NYMPHS in the meadow, MONARCHS (laying eggs
on the Common Milkweed), HAYHURST'S SCALLOPWING, HORACE'S DUSKYWING,
COMMON SOOTYWING, LEAST SKIPPER, N. BROKEN DASH, SACHEM, DELAWARE
SKIPPER, 6 RARE SKIPPER (mostly on the Pickerelweed in our pond and on
the nearby Butterfly Bush), AARON'S SKIPPER, 100s of BROAD-WINGED
SKIPPER, and DUN SKIPPER. Hummingbird Moths too can be easily seen in
the gardens, both the SNOWBERRY CLEARWINGS (the one that resembles a
bumblebee) and the HUMMINGBIRD CLEARWING. Join Pat Sutton each
Wednesday, through mid-October (10:00 a.m. to Noon), at the Cape May
Bird Observatory Center in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 North) for a "Butterfly &
Dragonfly Walk in CMBO's Gardens" and each Thursday, through mid-October
(10:00 a.m. to Noon), at Pavilion Circle Gardens in Cape May Point for a
"Butterfly Walk at Cape May Point." There is still room on CMBO's
"3-Day Bullet Workshop: Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Wildlife Gardens"
Friday through Sunday, September 5-7, with Pat Sutton and Jim Dowdell.
Call 609-861-0700 to register. Two very special "Tours of Private
Butterfly Gardens" are scheduled for Friday, September 12 (gardens from
Villas to Woodbine), and Saturday, September 13 (in and near Cape May
and Cape May Point), from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will pick up
many design ideas while entertained by Monarchs and other butterflies
and lingering hummingbirds. Probably the best part of the tours is
meeting kindred spirits! Call 609-861-0700 to register.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD activity continues to increase at the Cape May
Bird Observatory's gardens & feeders in Goshen. Now that we're well
into August migrants from the north are added to the mix of resident
adult males, adult females, and young that fledged from the first nest.
Each feeder seems to have at least 3 birds competing to feed from it.
In CMBO's gardens CORAL HONEYSUCKLE, TRUMPET CREEPER, BUTTERFLY BUSH,
TROPICAL SALVIA / SAGE, BLUE & BLACK SALVIA, and ROSE OF SHARON are
pulling them in, plus they visit many other flowers for nectar and
insects. Treat yourself to good looks and lots of learning about
hummingbirds by attending one of CMBO's "The Buzz About Hummingbirds,"
every Wednesday and Friday (through August 29), and every Saturday
(through August 16) from 2:00-3:30 PM at CMBO's Center in Goshen (600
Route 47 North). Be sure to thoroughly wash & refill your feeders every
2-3 days during this hot stretch of summer. As activity increases
you'll find that your feeders will be emptied every other day or so.
CMBO carries HummZinger feeders, which are one of the easiest feeders to
clean, very well-thought out, and even educational (including directions
for the correct feeding solution). Stop by & check them out.
CMBO's dragonfly pond at the Center in Goshen is buzzing with activity
as they feast on green heads, mosquitoes, and other nasty, biting
insects. It's a whirlwind of activity with perching and hunting
dragonflies, dragonflies in tandem laying eggs, and nymphs emerging from
the pond as winged adult dragonflies. COMMON GREEN DARNER, CAROLINA
SADDLEBAGS, BLACK SADDLEBAGS, TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMER, E. AMBERWING,
PAINTED SKIMMER, dozens of BLUE DASHERS, and SEASIDE DRAGONLETS
CMBO's PURPLE MARTINS all fledged by August 4 and that quickly are
gone. The same has happened at the colony at the Cape May Point State
Park. They stage by the thousands at places like the Maurice River
before heading to their wintering grounds in South America. Be sure to
save Saturday, August 23, when Cumberland County will host its 2nd
Annual Purple Martin Festival. Call 856-453-2180 for additional
information. CMBO naturalists will be volunteering on boat trips and at
the evening viewing site during this event!
Keen on wildflowers? Join Mark Garland on Saturday, August 9, for
"Summer Wildflower" (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), an outdoor learning
experience in the Cape May area. Call 609-861-0700 to register. On
Saturday, August 23, Pat Sutton will lead an in-the-field "Wildlife Food
Plants Workshop" at the CMBO Center in Goshen and nearby areas to teach
how to recognize important native trees, shrubs, and vines that are
early survival foods for our warblers and other migrants moving through
in late August. Call 609-861-0700 to register. If you'd like to learn
about wildlife gardening, join Karen Williams every Friday (9:30
a.m.-Noon) for a "Garden Maintenance Workshop" at the CMBO center in
Goshen. Plant divisions are often delightful payment for your labor and
having a chance to learn so much from Karen as you work.
CMBO's selection of special hummingbird and butterfly garden plants FOR
SALE this week includes the following perennials: New England Aster,
Boltonia, Pinelands Blazing Star or Gayfeather, Cardinal Flower, Wild
Columbine, Nodding Onion, Hummingbird Mint, Mountain Mint, Catmint,
Joe-pye-weed, Common Milkweed, Sweet Everlasting; the following vines:
Coral Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper; the following shrubs: Buttonbush,
Elderberry, Arrowwood Viburnum, Spicebush, Black Chokeberry; and the
following trees: Sour Gum, Red Cedar, Tulip Tree.
The OSPREY nest in the marsh next to Jakes Landing Road was successful
this year. On August 6 the two young were still in the nest, but nearly
full size. The Maurice River nests produced 35 Osprey, down from 60 in
The Stone Harbor Point beach nesting colony continues to dazzle! Chris
Kisiel, a field assistant with the NJ Endangered & Nongame Species
Program, has kept us informed. There are at least 1,686 adult COMMON
TERNS (with several hundred fledged chicks and others still growing),
1,068 BLACK SKIMMERS (with chicks hatching now), a handfull of LEAST
TERNS (due to predation and flooding), PIPING PLOVER (including some
migrants), and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS and their chicks. So, if you
haven't treated yourself, be dazzled and visit Stone Harbor Point!
Every Monday, marine biologist Karen Williams will lead CMBO's first
"Life on the Beach" walk, meeting on the Wildlife Viewing Platform
("Hawkwatch") at 5:00 p.m. and exploring the tidal strand at the Cape
May Point State Park until 7:00 p.m. Wear a swim suit if you'd like to
help with the net! On August 4 this trip discovered a larval HORSESHOE
CRAB (3-4 mm) and a lot of other cool stuff.
Shorebirds are migrating through in big numbers now, they being our
earliest migrants. A great way to savor them is to join Captain Bob
Carlough on one of the CMBO sponsored "Back Bay Birding By Boat" cruises
aboard "The Skimmer," every Sunday and Monday (10:00 a.m. to Noon).
Call Wildlife Unlimited (609-884-3100) to register for these
Songbirds are beginning to migrate in earnest, YES in early August.
This week at Higbee Beach observers enjoyed the following migrants:
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, N. WATERTHRUSH, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, BLUE-WINGED
WARBLER, 50 YELLOW WARBLERS, ORCHARD ORIOLE, and BALTIMORE ORIOLE. Each
coldfront, no matter how subtle, will bring new and bigger waves.
As we get into August CMBO's regularly scheduled walks that require no
preregistration expand to offer more and more learning opportunities as
migration builds. In addition to the previously mentioned walks, others
offered follow. EVERY FRIDAY -- "Sunset Birding at the Meadows,"
5:30-dusk. EVERY SATURDAY -- "Birding Cape May Point," 7:30-9:30 a.m.
(through August 9), "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm," 7:30-9:30 a.m.
(beginning August 16). EVERY SUNDAY -- "Welcome to Cape May" with Mark
Garland, 2-3 p.m.. EVERY MONDAY -- "Mondays at the Meadows,"
7:30-9:30 a.m. EVERY WEDNESDAY -- " Birding Cape May Point," 7:30-9:30
a.m. EVERY THURSDAY -- "Hidden Valley Bird Walk," 7:30-9:30 a.m. and
"Start Birding Today!" with Judy Lukens, 10-11 a.m., perfect for
newcomers to birding and nature. .
Some special programs that do require preregistration because spaces are
limited follow: CMBO's "1-Day Bullet Workshop for Terns" with Michael
O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis on Thursday, August 14; "Optics Workshop"
at the Northwood Center with Scott Edwards on August 16; "Ghost Crabs:
The Good, Bad, & Ugly" with Marine Biologist Karen Williams on
Wednesday, August 20 (7:30-9:30 p.m.); "2-Day Bullet Workshop for (Those
$#!%) SHOREBIRDS" with Michael O'Brien and Richard Crossley will be
taught Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26 & 27. To learn more about any
of these programs or to register, call 609-861-0700. The Cape May Bird
Observatory offers an extensive series of regular bird and butterfly
walks that require no pre-registration and many special field trips and
programs for which advanced registration is required. To receive a copy
of CMBO's Program Schedule, stop at one of the two centers, call the
office during business hours at 609-861-0700, or go to New Jersey
Audubon's web site where a full listing of SUMMER 2003 PROGRAMS
(June-August) is posted at:
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!
New Jersey Audubon Society's
Cape May Bird Observatory
Center for Research & Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609-861-0700, x-16 (phone) / 609-861-1651 (fax)