Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour: May 13—18, 2012
Register NowTour Details
- May 13, 2012: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour
- May 15, 2011: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour
- May 16, 2010: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour
- May 17, 2009: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour
Past Field Lists:
- May 13, 2012: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour: PDF (218.3 KB)
- May 15, 2011: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour: PDF (46.4 KB)
- May 16, 2010: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour: PDF (55.2 KB)
- May 17, 2009: Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed and Easy Tour: PDF (49.3 KB)
Future Tour Dates:
Register for this Tour
Red Knot— Photo: Michael O'Brien
Spring in Cape May features delightful weather and a wide range of both migrant and resident birds, all seen within a relatively small area. Our short tour will visit all the major habitats of the area and see the best of what Cape May has to offer.
Red Knot— Photo: Michael O'Brien
Cape May, New Jersey is world-famous, not only as a National Historic Landmark with its Victorian architecture, but additionally as a destination for students of bird migration. This tour will visit Cape May’s birding hot spots at the peak of spring migration, and when summer residents are at their most active. Best of all, this wonderful diversity can be seen in a relatively small area. Our flexible schedule will allow us to take advantage of tides and weather conditions that will maximize our birding opportunities.
The most famous spring migrant in Cape May is the Red Knot. This Arctic breeder's reproductive success is tied to its ability to replenish fat reserves by eating horseshoe crab eggs during its stopover along the Delaware Bayshore. We will witness this feast and learn of this threatened shorebird's plight. Spring is also an excellent time to see a wide diversity of other shorebirds, and our list may reach as many as 20 species including Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and White-rumped and Purple sandpipers. Rare shorebirds such as Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper are also possibilities. In addition to shorebirds, while exploring Cape May's extensive marshlands we should see an abundance of herons, as well as a few secretive species including Clapper Rail and Saltmarsh Sparrow.
Hawk-watchers flock to Cape May in the autumn to witness its hawk migration spectacle, but with the right conditions, spring migration can be equally interesting. A drift of wind from the northwest can bring small kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and, with them, the uncommon but expected Mississippi Kite. Sometimes even a spectacular Swallow-tailed Kite may appear.
The ocean can also be a source of great interest in Cape May. Large flocks of gulls and terns forage over "the rips" at Cape May Point, attracting some interesting seabirds. Although we will not see all of these, among the many possibilities are Sooty Shearwater, Northern Gannet, Parasitic Jaeger, and Roseate Tern.
One of the greatest highlights of a spring visit to Cape May is the host of colorful songbirds that are to be found. Some of these are passing through while others are local breeders actively defending their territories. A visit to Belleplain State Forest will be a particularly good opportunity to see some of these dazzling birds and listen to their energetic songs.
Good to very good accommodations and food; multiple-day stay at one location; easy terrain; warm to cool climate.