Cape May Natural History Hotline - 9/19/2002
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 19. 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."

MONARCHS are moving south, heading to Oyamel fir forests on mountaintops in central Mexico. Thousands pass through Cape May Point some falls. Waves of Monarchs (& many other migrants) are blown to the tip of this peninsula (the first southbound peninsula on the East Coast) by coldfronts (winds from the north and northwest). If you truly want to see LOTS of Monarchs, you've got to pay close attention to weather. A coldfront on September 12 brought the first wave of Monarchs, but numbers were low. On September 17, a second coldfront produced the first big push of Monarchs. It was constant all day long and thousands arrived, filling gardens all over Cape May Point. CMBO's Monarch Monitoring Project began September 1st with the arrival of CMBO Monarch Intern Janine McCabe. To learn more about this project go to NJ Audubon's web site: (http://www.njaudubon.org/Research) and click on "Monarch Monitoring Project." Results of this fall's daily road census results are at the end (click on "2002 Road Census"). CMBO's Monarch Intern Janine McCabe is conducting "Monarch Tagging Demos" Thursday through Monday at 1 p.m. Other learning opportunities with CMBO's experts that focus on butterflies, their natural history, and ID include : (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.

Other butterfly news this week: a COMPTON TORTOISESHELL (Cape May County's 2nd record) was seen September 14 in a yard just north of Rio Grande, the same yard that hosted the county's 1st record 7 years ago on 8/20/95. Southern species are very much in evidence: CLOUDLESS SULPHURS are being seen in big numbers all over the peninsula with many mating & laying eggs in patches of Partridge Pea (including the CMBO gardens in Goshen), # VARIEGATED FRITILLARY, LONG-TAILED SKIPPER (9/15 in West Cape May), CLOUDED SKIPPER (9/14 Rea Farm), FIERY SKIPPER (9/13 at Cape May Pt.), OCOLA SKIPPER (9/13 at Higbee Beach, 9/15 at Heislerville in Cumberland Co.). LEONARD'S SKIPPER was seen in Cumberland County on September 16. CMBO's gardens in Goshen are glittering with butterflies, including 300-500 SACHEMS.

Apparently a big flight of dragonflies was triggered by the September 17 coldfront, involving COMMON GREEN DARNERS, CAROLINA SADDLEBAGS.

BLACK SADDLEBAGS. TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMERS, BANDED PENNANT, and BLUE DASHERS were seen at Hidden Valley & the Cape May Point State Park on September 18. Another dragonfly hotspot is CMBO's dragonfly pond in Goshen where Twelve-spotted Skimmers, both saddlebags, and Common Green Darners are being seen regularly, including a newly emerged GREEN DARNER on September 18.

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. Between September 1st and the 18th 3,786 raptors have been counted, including 419 OSPREY, 33 BALD EAGLES (with 11 on 9/18), 143 N. HARRIER, 1,277 SHARP-SHINS, 173 COOPER'S HAWKS, 44 BROAD-WINGS, 2 RED-TAILS, 1,378 AMERICAN KESTREL (with 186 on 9/18), 266 MERLIN (with 68 on 9/18), 45 PEREGRINE (with 15 on 9/18). Remember that coldfronts are the key. Time your visit & outings to coincide with coldfronts, winds from the north & northwest. Bald Eagles have been seen over CMBO's center in Goshen the past two weeks, most recently an adult on September 18. Every Friday and Saturday a "Hawk ID Mini-Workshop" will be taught, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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 20: "Preserving Oases Along the Flyway" by Dale Rosselet & David Mizrahi).

Recent coldfronts have brought THE BIRDS. All the CMBO walks have been very birdy and backyard reports all over the county, including CMBO's Center in Goshen, have included lots of goodies. Be sure to attend one of CMBO's fall bird walks to witness migration unfolding. "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. Three one-hour programs this fall include: "Enjoying Migration at Cape May" (every Wednesday) is from 10:30-11:30 a.m; "The Nature of Cape May" (every Sunday) is from 2-3 p.m; "Birding for First Timers" (Every Thursday) is from 1-2 p.m. Join Mark Garland for one or both of the upcoming specially arranged outings to a variety of "Migration Hotspots" (October 5, 19), from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. "Songbird Banding Demos" (Fridays & Saturdays, 10-10:30 a.m., weather permitting). 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.

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").

Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers really dropped this week, but one or two 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. 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.

CMBO still has room on upcoming 4-5 Day Classic Workshops focused Raptors (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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