Cost: $120 nonmembers, $90 member (member discount taken at checkout)
There is no better way to learn the details of a bird’s structure and plumage than to draw it, and many expert birders, like Michael and Louise, are also artists. Learn tips and tricks for quickly sketching birds in the field when there may not be time for painstaking observation. Drawing birds brings advantages to non-artists, too, simply from the need to look at a bird critically in order to draw it, and is a great way to document an unusual species. No previous artistic talent or training needed.
Cost: $200 nonmembers, $150 members (member discount taken at checkout)
Whether you’re looking to accelerate your identification skills, or show the world how you see the birds around you, the camera is a perfect tool. In this two-day workshop, professional photographer Scott Whittle will help you work with the equipment you have to achieve your photographic goals. The course will include an overview of gear and how to use it, shooting sessions in the field, and how to develop a digital workflow that gets you the best possible image. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops for post-photo capture learning.
After working at field sites finding and photographing ducks, gulls, terns and any other species we may encounter, we head inside to download and critique images (be ready to transfer session images to a card or USB key/stick drive). After lunch, we discuss image processing with Adobe Lightroom and various software programs, and review image editing techniques (composing, framing, cropping, and more). We take more photos in the afternoon. The second day follows this same format.
Note: Participants without cameras are also welcome on this workshop. Those who have attended in the past, to learn about digital cameras before purchasing hardware, software and accessories, have come back again for practice after purchasing their equipment!
Cost: $120 nonmembers, $90 members (member discount taken at checkout)
Many birders are aware of the significant autumn waterbird migration visible at the Avalon Seawatch, but far fewer know about the spring spectacle that occurs at the mouth of Delaware Bay. Northern Gannets, scoters, loons, and dozens of other species stage and migrate through the bay during their northward journeys. Tom Reed, CMBO's Migration Count Coordinator, has led efforts to monitor these happenings at Cape May Point in recent years. Join Tom for a morning session of seawatching, a great opportunity for beginners to dip their toes in this challenging but exciting birding activity! We’ll follow with an afternoon session that will reinforce identification tips while also introducing the history and goals of the “Springwatch” monitoring program.
Everyone’s dreamed of learning bird songs, and everyone can. Even experienced birders spend time each spring “getting their ear in,” re-learning the songs they already know. Jump-start your audio-recall by learning how to listen critically, group and categorize song types, and (as your song and call repertoire grow) gain confidence and skill. Many of southern New Jersey’s breeding birds are back and singing heartily, while migrants will be joining the chorus, too.
We don’t pre-set an itinerary, but will visit those parts of Cape May County that regularly hold good numbers of birds at this time of year. We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This workshop will also include an indoor session.
Cost: $32 nonmembers, $24 members (member discount taken at checkout)
Peaslee is an extension of Belleplain State Forest, but has its own charm and its own special areas that harbor a wonderful range of birds. Spend a whole morning with CMBO Naturalists and get to know some of the very best spots in this wonderful natural area – great for vireos, tanagers, warblers and much more!
Please arrive at the appointed time with a full tank of gas, as transportation to field sites is by private vehicles.
Cost: $300 nonmembers, $225 members (member discount taken at checkout)
Birding for everything! Celebrate spring with migrating songbirds deposited by the night sky and shorebirds teeming on the mudflats. Hooded and Kentucky Warblers sing in the shadows of Belleplain State Forest, while Summer Tanagers “piki-tuck”ing overhead. Red Knots and Sanderlings feed in mosaics of rust and silver on the Delaware Bay shore, egrets and herons dot the back bay meadows. This birding break is all about diversity and focuses not only on identifying the birds, but also learning about their lives.
We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain.
Heislerville’s celebrated shorebird concentration (not to mention the whole Delaware Bay) coupled with Belleplain State Forest (not to mention nearby Cumberland County hotspots) – all resulting in a lot of great birds, all close together! Red Knots, Dunlin, maybe a Curlew Sandpiper plus woodland birds like Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers and Summer Tanagers.
We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This birding break may also include an indoor session.
Few families of birds are so colorful, vocal and animate as the North American warblers and no spring is complete without a trip seeking warbler waves. Here’s your trip, timed to catch the peak of the wave of northern species like Blackburnian, Blackpoll and Canada, while also engaging southern breeders like Hooded, Yellow-throated and Prothonotary. This workshop aims to help you pick up on both audio and visual clues to be able to quickly and accurately locate these springtime gems.
We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This workshop will also include an indoor tuition session.
With forests, hemlock glens, marshes, streams, and bogs, there is no better place than High Point State Park and Stokes State Forest in northern New Jersey to hear a diversity of bird songs in a concentrated area, from Cerulean and Blackburnian Warblers to Ruffed Grouse and Barred Owls. Plan to begin early for dawn chorus and lunch in the field, ending by early afternoon each day. This workshop is entirely in the field and, yes, we will look at birds like Cerulean and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and over 100 others there to be heard or seen.
Please arrive at the appointed meeting time with a full tank of gas, as transportation to field sites is by private vehicles.
Dragonflies and Damselflies are a common part of our local wildlife, yet they can be confusing at first glance. With a mixture of indoor theory and outdoor practice, come and learn how to identify many of the 100 or so species that occur in Cape May County. We'll visit a variety of habitats around Cape May County that will allow us to see a good cross-section of species, from the tiny sprites to the mighty darners.
Cost: $48 members, $64 nonmembers (member discount taken at checkout)
Cape May Point offers some great opportunities during late summer for viewing our breeding terns. These birds can seem all too similar at first, but this workshop will set you in the right direction to understanding the basic principles of telling the terns apart.
We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This workshop may also include an indoor session, depending on weather and birds on the day.
Join Warbler Guide author and professional photographer Scott Whittle and take your bird and wildlife photography to the next level. This intermediate workshop will analyze each participants needs, and then focus on developing the skills that will make them better photographers. Composition, being in the right place and right time, stalking, using the right equipment for the job, creative choices and other critical techniques will be discussed and practiced.
Participants will get the most from this class if they already have at least some experience in photographing wildlife, and have a general knowledge of concepts like aperture, shutter speed, ISO and depth of field.
September straddles the migratory timetable; you're not too late for shorebirds, not too early for hawks, and right on time for warblers and other neotropical migrants. Indeed, it is the great variety of songbirds heading south during early September that will be the main target of this three-day birding workshop and we shall have ample opportunity to learn these birds both by sight and sound.
Most of the two days will be spent outdoors, learning directly from our field experiences and much of our time will most likely be spent at some of Cape May’s key migration locations. We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This program may also include an indoor session, but this will likely be weather or bird-dependent.
Cost: $120 nonmembers, $90 members (member discount taken at checkout)
Experience the cutting edge of birding! Birds don't sing much in the fall-but they sure do call. Chip notes, flight notes, and critical listening are the primary subjects of this workshop, led by the man who wrote the book (well, maybe the CD-ROM) on flight calls. Two hours with Michael equals years of struggle on your own! Includes optional night-time listening for nocturnal migrants. Learn to dissect a single note, determining whether it rises or falls, is clear or burry. You will never listen the same way again. This workshop is spread over two half-days to allow us to be in the field at the best time of day; it includes an evening session to study nocturnal migrants, followed by an early morning listening session the next day-the perfect way to learn the subject!
Learn about the biology of the monarch butterfly and spend a day in the field with the Director of the CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project. Visit gardens and other natural areas around Cape May Point to watch monarch behavior and see the principles of butterfly gardening in action. Learn how to safely handle and tag monarchs, and also learn methods for conducting field research into these migratory insects. Visit the CMBO Northwood Center to see the terraria where monarch caterpillars and chrysalides are on display, and learn about the proper husbandry of such displays. We will take time to identify many other butterflies that can be found at this season in Cape May Point, and we’ll identify a few of the migrant birds that are sure to be around, but the primary focus will be on monarch biology all day. There will be a short indoor illustrated talk on monarch biology, but most of the day will be in the field in Cape May Point.
A workshop celebrating the ‘LBJs’ (little brown jobs). Subtle and cryptic they might be; difficult to identify they are not, providing you have the right instructor, the right place and the right time. A time when lots of sparrows and lots of species abound. Common species like Swamp, Field, Savannah and Chipping. Uncommon ones like Clay-colored, Vesper, Lincoln’s, Nelson’s and Saltmarsh. Learn the basics of size, shape and behavior first, then practice examining plumage patterns to discover how stunning sparrows can be.
Most of the two days will be spent outdoors, learning directly from our field experiences and much of our time will most likely be spent at some of Cape May’s key migration locations. We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This workshop may also include an indoor session, but this will likely be weather dependent.
At fifteen raptor species, this is the time of peak raptor diversity in Cape May. Perhaps including bonus birds like Golden Eagles and Swainson's Hawk! It is a rare moment during late October in Cape May when something raptorial is not in view. Learn how to tell buteos from accipiters from falcons from eagles at the very edge of eyesight. Pete Dunne co-wrote the book that is the title of this workshop, and the only thing he enjoys more than watching hawks is imparting the knowledge he has accumulated during his 15,000 hawk watching hours.
This workshop may also include an indoor session, but this will likely be weather or bird-dependent.
Late October is the time the local birders wait for; crowds have diminished and the most massive fallouts of the season commonly occur NOW! Sparrows, kinglets, bluebirds, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, and literally who knows what else, since this week starts the season for vagrants in Cape May. It's also a great time for big raptors like buteos and Golden Eagle, while large seabird flights pass Avalon and Cape May Point nearly every day.
Most of the three days will be spent outdoors, learning directly from our field experiences and much of our time will most likely be spent at some of Cape May’s key migration locations. We may walk up to 1.5 miles, over generally level, sometimes muddy or sandy terrain. This program may also include an indoor session, but this will likely be weather or bird-dependent.
NJ Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory
701 E. Lake Dr
PO Box 3
Cape May Point, NJ 08212