Join Naturalist Journeys for this exciting Cape May fall migration tour. Cape May is considered the very best birding destination in North America to witness fall migration, especially for raptors. This migration trip is timed for the peak of land and sea birding diversity. Red-throated and Common Loon, gannets and scoters, hawks and falcons are all migrating along the eastern seaboard. Cape May’s unique location, situated on the peninsula where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay, makes it a geographic migrant trap. Far from the metropolitan areas of northern New Jersey, the Cape May peninsula is home to forests, farmland, wetland meadows, and salt marshes. The town of Cape May is a national historic site and offers beautiful examples of Victorian architecture and charm, as well as some of the most delicious seafood on the east coast.

This tour visits the Cape May Point Hawk Watch, Cape May Bird Observatory, Forsythe (formerly Brigantine) NWR, and many other fresh and saltwater habitats. There’s a reason they hold the World Series of Birding here every year! Each morning begins with an optional sunrise beach walk in search of shorebirds and the stately Black Skimmer. Trips range from exploring one of the world’s best examples of tidal salt marshes to visiting one of the most successful beach restorations in the United States. We explore habitats and locations ranging from coastal beach towns to well-known parks and natural areas right along the Delaware Bay.

The Cape May Fall Birding Festival falls during the time of our fall migration tour — we register you so we can take in a bird walk or evening presentation if you like.

Tour Highlights

  • Witness thousands of Sharp-shinned Hawk, hundreds of Northern Harrier, and dozens of Merlin and Peregrine Falcon at the Cape May State Park Hawk Watch Platform
  • Spend an afternoon at The Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Bird Refuge, one of the most successful habitat restorations on the Atlantic seaboard
  • See Black, Common, Roseate, Gull-billed, Arctic, and Sandwich Terns at Stone Harbor Point
  • Watch for for elusive Diamond Back Terrapin, America’s only saltwater turtle, aboard a salt marsh pontoon cruise
  • Discover at the Avalon Sea Watch, one of the country’s longest-running seabird watch/counting sites
  • Depart on the Lewes Ferry for a pelagic-birding crossing of the Delaware Bay to the state of Delaware
  • Watch for hundreds, if not thousands of warblers and other passerines at Morning Flight, a morning watch/count of returning birds that were pushed out to sea on their evening migration

Photo credits: Banner: Cape May Birders at Dawn, Dan Donaldson; Northern Pintails, Sandy Sorkin; Cape May Sunset, Richard Becker; Northern Shoveler and Friend, Sandy Sorkin; Black Black Skimmers by Carlos Sanchez; Broad-winged Hawk, Carlos Sanchez; Cape May Warbler, Carlos Sanchez; Tree Swallow, Carlos Sanchez; Sandwich Terns, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Clapper Rail, Carlos Sanchez; Red-throated Loon, Greg Smith; Double-crested Cormorant, Greg Smith.