Friday, May 27, 2011

HMANA Tour: The Migration Spectacle at Cape May

There are few places as exciting as Cape May, NJ in fall, and mid-October, in particular, is a fabulous time to visit. Change is in the air all around the peninsula: falcon migration is in full swing, seabirds are migrating just offshore by the thousands, and songbird migrants from near and far find their way to land’s end. Cape May in fall has an incredibly high diversity of lingering songbirds, migrant raptors, and coastal specialties, and a regular handful of western vagrants make a trip to Cape May and the surrounding area the ultimate birding trip of the autumn season.

I am happy to announce that HMANA, together with NH-based tour company Merlin Enterprises, is offering a five day tour to Cape May October 16-20, 2011. My husband, Phil, who guides for Merlin Enterprises, and I, will be the tour leaders. This will be a birding and hawkwatching tour focusing on the spectacle of migration!

We’ll spend a significant amount of time at the Hawk Watch at Cape May Point, and we’ll also visit the Avalon Seawatch, which records millions of migrant seabirds each fall. In addition, we’ll make stops at a handful of other renowned locations including South Cape May Meadows, Higbee Beach, the Cape May and Brigantine National Wildlife Refuges, and the Cape May Bird Observatory’s research stations and visitor centers.

The large diversity of bird species and migratory spectacles, as well as good looks at many specialties, will ensure that this tour will be a fun and excellent opportunity for both beginners and advanced birders. Our days will be active and full, but we’ll take our time to enjoy the birds and habitats like sandy beaches, extensive salt marshes, pitch pine forests, and cedar swamps. If this isn’t enough reason to come to Cape May, you might be pleased enough to be surrounded by the town’s Victorian-era charm and quaint, coastal setting.

TOUR COST: $1295 per person. Single supplement of $235
Cost includes van transportation while in Philadelphia/New Jersey, lodging, ferry ride, handouts, fees, and meals. Tour is limited to 14 participants.

Please visit for itinerary and further details. And please contact me, Julie Brown if you’d like more information at
I hope you can join us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking for a few good photos

Do you have an interesting photo you’d like to see in Hawk Migration Studies? We are looking for photos and not necessarily just those of raptors (though those are always welcome, too). Do you have a great shot that’s a view from a hawkwatch? How about a group of happy hawkwatchers? A bear (or moose or the like) crossing your watch? Does your site do educational outreach with kids and school groups? We’d like to know about that.

What kind of activities do you have the kids do when they come to visit your hawkwatch? Photos of kids having fun in the woods, on a hawkwatch or just enjoying nature would be great, too. As a caution, if children’s faces are recognizable, releases will be needed for the photos. Check with the school about the particulars needed. If children can’t be identified, releases are not required.

If you have a photo that you think we’d like, please send it to me at (that’s zero seven, not an “o”). For a photo to be used in the fall issue, I will need it by June 25. Photos received after that date will have to wait until the spring issue. Please send photos in .JPG format, not smaller than 500Kb and preferably over 1MB in size. Please include your full name and contact information. I’m looking forward to seeing what you might have.

Hawkwatches are fun places to hang out, even when the hawks aren’t flying, so we’d like to see some of that fun and some of what you see at your own hawkwatch. It sure won’t be as much fun as being there, but it’s a start.