Cape May Natural History Hotline - 9/11/2002
You have reached the Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline, a service of New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. This update was made on Wednesday, September 11. For bird news call the Cape May Birding Hotline at 609-898-BIRD. NJ Audubon's three hotlines can be read in full on our web site (http://www.njaudubon.org), by clicking on "Sightings."

CMBO's Cape May Autumn Hawkwatch is manned this year by hawk counter Jason Guerard and our two hawkwatch interpretive naturalists Denny Ariola and Michael Retter. Please welcome them next time you are on the hawkwatch. Osprey, N. Harrier, Sharp-shins, Cooper's Hawks, and the 3 falcons were all steady this week. 14 Bald Eagles passed through between Sept. 3-6. Every Friday and Saturday a "Hawk ID Mini-Workshop" will be taught, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Stone Harbor Point's Black Skimmer nesting colony is impressive. The chicks are mostly grown. CMBO's "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island" walk is a great way to experience the area, every Tuesday evening, meeting at 5 p.m. Thousands of Tree Swallows filled the skies over Stone Harbor Point and over Cape May and Cape May Point this week.

Begin your Cape May weekend by attending CMBO's Friday evening "Open House" from 7-8:30 p.m. at our Center for Research & Education in Goshen (600 Rt. 47 N.). Each open house begins by sharing the past week's migration and predictions for the weekend, and is followed by a program (September 13: "Cape May Favorites" by Mark Garland).

It was one of the best nesting seasons for herons and egrets, and the rookeries in the back bay marshes are still teeming with activity. CMBO's "Sunset Cruise for Fall Migrants" on Saturday, September 28 (3-7 p.m.) still has room and will cruise right by these rookeries. Also expect Clapper Rails, thousands of shorebirds, good numbers and variety of terns and gulls, Osprey & more. "Back Bay Birding By Boat" trips (every Sunday & Monday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) also get you out into this normally inaccessible area.

About 6 a.m. & again at 6 p.m. Great Horned Owl pairs duet softly and briefly. They are already thinking of next winter's nesting & their hoots are with purpose: to nudge their young to find a territory of their own & to let other adults know that they've staked a claim to THIS site.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still regulars at CMBO's Center in Goshen, though adult males have migrated. Sit quietly under the arbor & you're sure to see one or two or more. Stop by CMBO to see our full selection of easy-to-maintain feeders and to get CMBO's handout on hummingbird feeder directions and maintenance. Coupling a feeder with habitat and gardens is the key. Stroll through the CMBO gardens to get ideas for your own garden.

On the butterfly front: 30 species of butterflies were enjoyed in the CMBO gardens in Goshen on September 7, including: CLOUDLESS SULPHURS (& their caterpillars & egg laying on Partridge Pea), Painted Lady, Red-spotted Purple, LONG-TAILED SKIPPER, COMMON CHECKERED SKIPPER, FIERY SKIPPER, Tawny-edged Skipper, Crossline Skipper, N. Broken Dash, 100's of SACHEMS, Zabulon Skipper, Aaron's Skipper, Dun Skipper, Saltmarsh Skipper, & OCOLA SKIPPER. Ocola Skipper was also seen Sept. 6 in the Villas and another on Sept. 7 at Higbee Beach on the butterfly bushes. A PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL was seen at Pavilion Circle Gardens in Cape May Point on September 5. Be on the alert too for LARGE ORANGE SULPHURS . . . 3 different observers have seen flyby's that may have been in the past week from Virginia north to Port Norris in Cumberland County. CLOUDLESS SULPHUR numbers continue to grow & are being seen everywhere. MONARCHS too. Both are on the move -- Cloudless Sulphurs coming north and Monarchs heading south. CMBO's Monarch Intern Janine McCabe will conduct DAILY "Monarch Tagging Demos" Thursday through Monday at 1 p.m. To learn more about butterflies, their natural history, and ID join CMBO experts for: (1) "Butterfly Walk in the CMBO Gardens in Goshen" every Wednesday at 1 p.m., (2) "Butterfly Walk at Cape May Point" every Thursday at 1 p.m., (3) "Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk" every Sunday at 10 a.m. CMBO's Center in Goshen has a terrific assortment of hummingbird and butterfly plants FOR SALE.

Be sure to attend one of CMBO's early fall bird walks to witness migration unfolding and the tail end of the breeding season. "Sunset Birding at the Meadows" at 5:30 p.m. every Friday evening and "Sunset Birding at Stone Harbor Point & Nummy's Island" at 5 p.m. every Tuesday evening. "Birding with Pete Dunne" (every Monday), "Birding Cape May Point," (every Wednesday), "Hidden Valley Bird Walk"(every Thursday), and "Fall Migrants at the Rea Farm" (every Saturday) are all from 7:30-9:30 a.m. "Higbee Beach Bird Walk" (every Sunday) is from 7-9 a.m. "Enjoying Migration at Cape May" (every Wednesday) is from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Join Mark Garland for one or both of the upcoming specially arranged outings to a variety of "Migration Hotspots" (September 14, October 5), from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

To receive a copy of CMBO's program schedule with full details about these walks and upcoming programs, stop by either CMBO Center, or call 609-861-0700, or visit New Jersey Audubon's web site at http://www.njaudubon.org (click on "Calendar," then on "Cape May Bird Observatory").

CMBO still has room on upcoming 2-day Bullet Workshops & 4-5 Day Classic Workshops focused on Warblers (Sept. 7 & 8), Raptors (Oct. 12 & 13, Oct. 20-24) and Owls (Jan. 17-27). NJ Audubon's 56th Annual Cape May Autumn Weekend / The Bird Show is October 25-27, 3 full days of workshops, field trips, programs, boat trips, & more. Many celebrities will be part of the event. Call, write, or stop by CMBO for brochures on each or visit NJ Audubon's web site.

The Cape May Bird Observatory is a research and education unit of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Our aim is to perpetuate and preserve the ornithological and natural history significance of Cape May. Your membership supports these goals and this Cape May Natural History & Events Hotline (updated Thursday evening).

Our two centers are CMBO's Center for Research & Education at 600 Route 47 North in Goshen and CMBO's Northwood Center at 701 East Lake Drive in Cape May Point. Both are open DAILY, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 609-861-0700. Thanks for calling and ENJOY THE NATURAL WORLD!

Patricia Sutton, Program Director 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) pat_sutton@njaudubon.org

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