Cape May, at the southern tip of New Jersey, is one of the world’s most famous birding hotspots!
During fall migration, birds concentrate at the bottom of the New Jersey peninsula, which is bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by the Delaware Bay, creating a funnel for migrants—especially in the fall. Cape May, New Jersey, has the best birds of prey vantage point in North America.
We had such a wonderful time in Cape May in 2018 that we decided to go back for round two in 2020! By late October, the number of neotropical migrant songbirds is down, but we’ll be at a real peak for waterfowl migration. The Avalon Sea Watch has days when over 50,000 birds are counted! Hawk migration is very good in late October as well, and there can be huge flights of temperate migrant songbirds that are impressive—thousands of robins, sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers, kinglets, and more!
Cape May has a treasure of resources at its fingertips, including renowned naturalist-birder Mark Garland, who writes the Birders Question Mark column for Bird Watcher’s Digest. Mark will be our local guide throughout the Rendezvous and plans to catch and tag a monarch butterfly for us since it will be monarch migration time. In addition to Mark, we’ll have a special presentation by David La Puma and Michael Lanzone on cellular tracking technology used to study birds. Richard Crossley, the spunky creator and author of the Crossley ID Guides, will also talk to us about making his books, and you will have the opportunity to buy signed copies. Our BWD staffers/guides will be Raymond VanBuskirk, Dawn Hewitt, Wendy Clark, Emily Jones, and Angela Anderson-Beach for this trip. Pete Dunne might pop in to say hello as well!
Among the local birding sites we’ll visit are:
- Cape May Point State Park and the Cape May Hawkwatch
- South Cape May Meadows
- Avalon Sea Watch
- Stone Harbor Point
- Sunset Beach
- Higbee Wildlife Management Area
- The Beanery
We also hope to arrange a salt marsh boat tour if weather cooperates.
What to Expect
We strive for every participant to see or hear every single bird. We won’t be tearing across southern New Jersey in a mad dash to rack up a big list—still, we will have quite a wonderful list even at a modest pace.
We’ll be birding in high-top 15-passenger vans and spending 1–3 hours at each birding spot. We use step stools for ease of loading/unloading vans, so be prepared to take your turn in the back row of seats.
Participants MUST be able to walk up to a mile over sandy, uneven trails/paths. You should be able to stand for over an hour—though we won’t be timing your endurance. If you have mobility challenges, please contact us to discuss the viability of this event for you.
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