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14349
New Jersey

Birding Cape May

With its many protected areas and variety of unique habitats, Cape May is a Mecca for both birds and birders alike. Come see songbirds in spring and raptors in the fall.
Rating (5)
Program No. 14349RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
New Jersey

Birding Cape May

With its many protected areas and variety of unique habitats, Cape May is a Mecca for both birds and birders alike. Come see songbirds in spring and raptors in the fall.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
Program No. 14349 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 16 - May 21, 2021
Starting at
1,399
May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,399
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,399
Oct 17 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
1,399
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 16 - May 21, 2021
Starting at
1,749
May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,749
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,749
Oct 17 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
1,749

At a Glance

Cape May has earned a reputation as one of North America's best birding locales because of its diverse set of protected natural areas at the intersection of two major migration flyways. Spring brings warblers and other songbirds. Autumn highlights hawks, falcons, eagles and other raptors. The backdrop is a charming seaside town with Victorian architecture and a scenic lighthouse.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Walking up to two miles daily on varied terrain; standing up to an hour at a time.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore Cape May Point State Park, site of the world-famous Cape May Hawk Watch, to spot the inhabitants of beaches, ponds, marshes, fields and coastal forests.
  • Experience an afternoon boat ride through Cape May Harbor into the salt marsh and back-bay environment, with a visit from a local birding authority.
  • After a field trip to one of the premier songbird migration hotspots on the East Coast dine at the famous Lobster House.

General Notes

All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Mark Garland
Mark Garland is a birding enthusiast who has worked six years as a naturalist and ranger with the National Park Service, 17 years with the Audubon Naturalist Society and four years with the New Jersey Audubon Cape May Bird Observatory. A University of Maryland School of Agriculture graduate, he authored the book "Watching Nature: A Mid-Atlantic Natural History," published by the Smithsonian Press, and he wrote the chapter "Canal Walk" in the anthology "City Birding."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Pat Sutton
Pat Sutton View biography
Pat Sutton is a freelance writer, photographer, naturalist, educator, lecturer and wildlife garden consultant. She utilizes her own garden as a “teaching garden,” and features it in many programs and workshops, and shows it during private wildlife garden explorations that she has led for 21 years. Pat and her husband, Clay, are the authors of the landmark book, “Birds and Birding at Cape May,” a summary of their efforts over many years to document and protect the migration and the hometown that they so love. Pat has been a working naturalist since 1977, first for the Cape May Point State Park and then for 21 years with New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory, where she was the naturalist and program director. Pat has a master’s from Rowan University in environmental education and an undergraduate degree in literature from the State University of New York at Oneonta.
Profile Image of Clay Sutton
Clay Sutton View biography
A life-long resident of Cape May, Clay Sutton has worked for the past decade as a self-employed environmental consultant, naturalist and field biologist. He also has experience as an environmental planner and program administrator, and served as the vice president of an environmental consulting firm, specializing in threatened and endangered species. Clay was a long-time instructor for the American Birding Association’s Institute for Field Ornithology, and is the co-author of several books including “Hawks in Flight,” “How to Spot Butterflies,” “How to Spot Hawks & Eagles,” and “How to Spot an Owl.”
Profile Image of Valerie Driscoll
Valerie Driscoll View biography
Valerie Driscoll is nearly a native of Cape May, as true natives are required to go back at least two generations. She is a teacher of mindfulness and a wellness coach, who practices locally as well as afar. Other interior pursuits include helping clients decorate, downsize and de-clutter their homes in addition to building new ones. Music, especially live, birding, yoga, cycling, reading and dancing are some of her other favorite activities.
Profile Image of Mark Garland
Mark Garland View biography
Mark Garland is a birding enthusiast who has worked six years as a naturalist and ranger with the National Park Service, 17 years with the Audubon Naturalist Society and four years with the New Jersey Audubon Cape May Bird Observatory. A University of Maryland School of Agriculture graduate, he authored the book "Watching Nature: A Mid-Atlantic Natural History," published by the Smithsonian Press, and he wrote the chapter "Canal Walk" in the anthology "City Birding."
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Birds and Birding at Cape May
by Clay & Patricia Sutton
Birds and Birding at Cape May is a must have both for those who have birded Cape May for many years and those who wish to make their first visit to Cape May. The book includes 568 pages of text, maps, site descriptions (including precise directions to finding sites), a seasonal checklist of Cape May birds, summaries of hawk and seabird counts, short historical accounts of Cape May, more than 100 black and white and color photos, weather and birding at the Cape, a butterfly list of Cape May, and tidbits about Cape May’s history. Available through the Mid-Atlanitc Center for the Arts' Museum Shop- 609-884-5404, extension 142.
Watching Nature: A Mid-Atlantic Natural History
by Mark Garland
In Watching Nature, naturalist Mark Garland takes readers on field trips among the plants and animals of the cool highlands of West Virginia, the forested ridges and valleys of western Maryland and central Pennsylvania, the gently rolling Piedmont region around Washington, D.C., and the flat coastal plain extending from southern New Jersey to Virginia Beach. Anecdotes from the author's own adventures - the nocturnal sighting of a rare bird, a feast of wild mountain blueberries, a winter afternoon at the shore - uncover the surprises that even the most familiar landscape can yield. Describing seasonal events such as Potomac valley wildflowers blooming in early spring, shorebirds converging on Delaware Bay mudflats in mid-May, and monarch butterflies migrating over mountain fields in early fall, the author also provides itineraries for visiting some of his favorite spots. Complete with black-and-white watercolor illustrations, maps, an extensive bibliography, and listings of resource organizations, Watching Nature emphasizes the accessibility of the natural world.
The Warbler Guide
by Scott Whittle
Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.
The First Resort
by Ben Miller
Coffee table book with great, rare archival photos and articles about Cape May's past.
13 Reviews
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5 Average
(5)

Great, knowledgeable leaders, interesting birds

(5)

Excellent birding with terrific guides who knew their birds and the area.

(5)

This is an excellent program. Our leader Mark was an excellent educator and birder and very welcoming. I give this program five stars!

(5)

BIRDS! BIRDS! Everywhere! And birding leaders everywhere! Do you think all Fall migration is to the south? HA! Come to experience Cape May's unique geography and find out about the "northern" migration.

(5)

This program makes birding around Cape May easy and interesting for experienced bird watchers. A variety of advice (eg. use of binoculars) helped everyone in the group. Guides with spotting scopes were better than I have experienced on less formal local bird walks.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Mark Garland did a superb job of leading this birding adventure. Our evening speakers were all fascinating and informative, and on the daytime bird walks we 28 participants were split into three groups so that we could all get a view of the birds and wildlife we encountered. Various personable and highly skilled birders joined us along the way. The trolley rides were ideal transportation, and the hotel provided comfortable accommodations and reasonable to excellent food. Valerie kept everyone organized and was very responsive to all creature-comfort-related issues. Well Done! A couple of possible improvements: 1. The weather. (Just kidding, of course!) 2. The Lobster House did not impress me with either their service or food. 3. Harry's was very noisy and the menu limited, service was poor and our final meal together (scattered across isolated tables) did not provide the optimal experience. Find a place with a separate room for the whole group, or at least a much quieter venue. The Grand Hotel's Crystal room served very well for our group dinner Wed. 4. Consider offering an evening of bird-related games to help everyone get to know each other better. This would be fun, and especially helpful in poor weather! 5. Play a party game after dinner, or while everyone is still seated after dessert. Celebrate someone's birthday, anniversary, or another event. Act like a Social Director at a summer camp to help this group of almost exclusively couples interact more from the first day on. I enjoyed this, my first trip ever to Cape May. The horseshoe crab and red knot and other prolific shorebird viewing was the highlight of the birding experience for me, truly a spectacular event in the spring on Delaware Bay's shores.

(5)

This program was very effective in explaining how and why Cape May is such a special birding area, particularly at migration times. Highly knowledgeable guides helped us explore many of the top birding sites in the area.

(5)

This is extremely well thought out and managed. Everyone will find some thing to love and much to learn about birds, habitat, and Cape May. You will be well fed too. The group is appreciative and not too demanding.

(5)

Great leaders, great food, so many birds, so much fun!

(5)

This program puts you smack-dab in the middle of the vast fall bird migration season in Cape May, New Jersey - a very well known and highly cherished birding hot spot. If you are a birder, you simply cannot do better than this!

(5)

It was so interesting to be in Cape May for fall migration (I attended an October program). I learned a lot about identifying hawks and other birds on the wing and also about migration in general. Mark Garland was an awesome guide, and funny too.

(5)

Thoroughly enjoyable week with an enthusiastic leader Mark G who has a sincere love for Cape May and its birds , butterflies and environment. Cape May has many other birding experts and Mark ensured that some of their wealth of knowledge was shared with us on each excursion . Informative presentations and excellent accommodation and meals. Highly recommended program. .

(5)

Even though I am not a birder, I've been told I'm an SOB(spouse of birder) I thoroughly enjoyed this program. The leaders were very knowledgeable and the presentations were interesting to even a non birder.






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