World Series of Birding 2010: Monarchists

    Results from our efforts in the 2010 World Series of Birding are in, and we are delighted with our totals: Monarchists found 127 species of birds and 14 species of butterflies while traveling around Cape May by foot and bicycle on May 15.  We’re delighted with our effort, we had a great time, and so far pledges look like they will bring more than $3000 for the Monarch Monitoring Project.  Enjoy a few photos and the short narrative below.  It’s not too late to contribute, details are here.

Above: We started at Higbee before sunrise.

Below: Red admirals were abundant; Louise gets a photo.

Clockwise from above left: Ron’s marvelous scones were a morning treat; the team ready to depart the State Park: Meg, Louise, Chris, Lu Ann, Mark; a few birds from the day, Least Sandpiper and Piping Plover at the State Park; Great Crested Flycatcher at the Beanery.

For Mark’s regular web site click here.

Sunset, with crescent moon, Venus, and the Cape May Point Lighthouse.

Another team birding the Meadows late in the day.

    Our Monarchists team was a late entry into the World Series of Birding.  The registration deadline had nearly arrived when Louise Zemaitis & I, former WSB teammates, realized that neither of us was on a team this year.  So we quickly formed our own team and chose Cape May’s Monarch Monitoring Project as our charitable cause.  Lu Ann Daniels was quickly persuaded to join the team, and just a few days prior to the big day (May 15), Meg Hedeen volunteered to join the team.  Ron Rollet and Chris Kisiel both offered to come along for part of the day as our “support staff.”

    We chose to compete in the “Carbon Footprint” category, which meant no driving!  Since we were raising money for a butterfly research project we chose to count butterflies as well as birds -- our sponsors could choose whether to contribute for birds, butterflies, or both.  We also decided the skip the hours of darkness -- we were all too busy to dedicate 24 full hours (and 2 nights of compromised sleep) to the effort this year.  We planned to meet at Higbee at 5 am, but I underestimated the time needed to bicycle from home to the meeting point and arrived about 15 minutes late.  I’m no Lance Armstrong.  We spent several enjoyable hours at Higbee, finding a number of nice birds (including Cerulean Warbler and White-crowned Sparrow) and a huge number of Red Admiral butterflies.  When we finished at Higbee Ron miraculously brought out delicious homemade scones and thermoses of cafe au lait.  Thanks Ron, you can be our “support staff” any time!

    We spent the next few hours riding the short distances from one Cape May birding hotspot to the next, spending most of our time out on foot.  We guessed that we rode the bikes about 7 or 8 miles and probably walked about 10!  We never hurried, enjoying the birds and butterflies at a leisurely pace, never worrying about zipping from one spot to another.  I, for one, don’t have the stamina to do a lot of zipping back and forth by foot or bicycle!  We were at the beach in Cape May Point at lunchtime, and were delighted when the support staff (Ron) met us again with a delicious lunch.  Cape May Point, the Beanery, and the South Cape May Meadows filled our afternoon.  We were delighted with our final tally of 127 species of birds and 14 species of butterflies, both well above our state goal of 100 birds and 10 butterflies.  We’re grateful to al of our friends who supported us with words of encouragement, financial contributions, or both, and hope that you appreciate our efforts to compete in this non-polluting category.  We’ll surely be honored if you choose to support us again next May, as we’re hoping the Monarchists will ride again!

Honor roll of contributors (in no particular order):

John & Katharine Patterson, Peter Brandriss, Ann & Roger Bird, Chris Kisiel & Glenn Davis, Stuart Scott, Marie Plante, Michelle Price & Megan Carroll, Jeff Wneck & Ana Arguelles, Cindy Todd & Mary Scott, Katherine & Stanley Hedeen, Meghan Walker Hedeen, Mark England, Ben Werner & Michelle Uhl, Pam & Keith Rutter, Teresa & Jim Knipper, Tom & Judy Gire, Neal Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Mason, Bill & Ellie O’Sullivan, Joe & Nancy Silvio, Chris & Lee Hajduk, Monica Nugent, Bill Wilkinson, John Bjerke, Barbara Gilmore, Reed Isbell, Marti & Mike Seraphin, Jo Ann Hackett & John Huehnergard, Anne LeDuc, Patricia Allen Rourke, The Chalfonte Hotel, R.B. Shreve & M.N. Chandler, Edith & William Schuhl, Beverly Linn, Ro Wilson, C.O. & M.J. Slugg, Grace & Samuel Hough, Richard K. Walton, Clay & Pat Sutton, Scott R. Keister, Sally B. Sachs, Paul & Linda Keister, Michael & Mary Anne Cola, Glynis J. Burke, René Buccinna, Eric Myers, Richard & Martha Pine, Jim & Kathleen Wilson, Frances Long, James & Deborah Lenchner, Karyn Person, Gary Mozel, Irene Walsh, Pat Logan, Sue Rice.

Many thanks to all!

Our team at the Awards Brunch, l to r: Chris, Meg, Louise, Mark, Lu Ann, Ron.

Would you like to make a contribution?

Make your check payable to NJ Audubon Society.

Write “Monarch Project #024” in the memo field.

Send to Mark Garland at

PO Box 154, Cape May Pt., NJ  08212.