Dragonfly or Damselfly?

Dragonflies and damselflies are closely related. Once you know what to look for, telling the two members of the order Odonata apart is easy. Look for evidence in these four details: eyes, body shape, wing shape, and position of the wings at rest.

Dragonflies have much larger eyes, taking up most of the head as they wrap around from the side to the front of the face. The eyes of a damselfly are large, but there is always a gap of space between them.

Dragonflies have bulkier bodies than damselflies, with a shorter, thicker appearance. Damselflies have a body made like the narrowest of twigs, whereas dragonflies have a bit of heft.

Both groups have two sets of wings. Dragonflies have hind wings larger than the front set of wings. Damselflies have wings that are the same size and shape for both sets, and they also taper as they join the body.

Finally, Dragonflies hold their wings out perpendicular to their bodies when resting. Damselflies fold their wings up and hold them together.

Source: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/how-tell-difference-between-dragonfly-and-damselfly#ixzz3eZUQilx3

Land Art Park Cuts Airport Noise In Half

Buitenschot-Land-Art-Park-Paul-de-Kort-HNS-Landschapsarchitecten-1-537x358Just past the edge of the runway of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, there’s a series of hedges and ditches laid out like interlocking diamonds. The 80-acre green space is the Buitenschot Land Art Park. Its trenches and ridges hold bike paths and sports fields, but  its main purpose is to deflect ground noise, the low-frequency drone that planes make when they take off and land.

H+N+S Landscape Architects and artist Paul De Kort designed the maze-like park, drawing 17th-century experiments in acoustics by German scientist Ernst Chladni, known as the “father of acoustics”.
Buitenschot-Land-Art-Park-Paul-de-Kort-HNS-Landschapsarchitecten-7-537x268

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airport noise is a contentious issue. There have been noise-related protests at both LaGuardia and JFK, and the FAA is undertaking its first airport noise study in 25 years. The National Parks Service studied 600 different wilderness sites and found they were all impacted by ambient noise. NPS estimates that noise pollution is doubling every 20 years.

Measures like the one taken at Schiphol Airport may slow that rate down.

Read more at Smithsonian here.

Why Are Birds So Noisy In The Morning?

Victoria Roberts Bird Cartoon NYTimes“In the hours around dawn, individual birds announce their ownership of territory to rivals and advertise to attract mates”, said Greg Budney, curator for collections development at the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“In many species”, Mr. Budney said, “the predawn chorus is specifically about territoriality or male-male rivalry; at dawn, male birds switch to a song aimed at attracting a mate.”

Read the story in the NY Times here.

First Sunday Walk at Mill Creek Point Park

MCPPFREE. Sunday, July 5, 10 am – noon
Mill Creek Point Park.

Visit this site rich with local history – right where Mill Creek Meets the Hackensack River. Get an up-close view of a 67-acre restored wetland as we walk along the scenic Secaucus Greenway boardwalk. We’ll look for shorebirds, Black Skimmers, and more. The walk is run by the NJSEA and the Bergen County Audubon Society. Meets at Mill Creek Point Park at the end of Millridge Road. For information contact Don Torino or call 201-230-4983.
Register here

How Do Blue Birds Get Their Color?

Blue Grosbeak Larry Keller

Blue is a relatively rare color for birds. It is not a result of pigmentation, like some other colors. Instead it is an example of what scientists call a structural color because it’s generated by light interacting with a feather’s 3-D arrangement. Different shapes and sizes of air pockets and keratin in the feathers make different shades of blue.”

Read more on Mother Nature Network here.

Mill Creek Marsh Update

Things are moving along at Mill Creek Marsh. The contractor is still working on the trail, and we hope to open the gates next month. Still…no promises.

In addition to the trail work, new woody and herbaceous native plants are being installed near the entrance, thanks to a Song Bird and Butterfly Habitat grant from the Bergen County Audubon Society, which provided $3,580  to purchase the plants. Timing for planting is great given the recent rains.

Katy Weidel, the Project Representative, says, “Once complete, we’ll have planted close to 4,000 plugs of seven herbaceous species & 62 containers of four woody species.   We chose plants loved by pollinators… who play a critical role in keeping our ecosystems healthy and diverse. ” 

The trees and shrubs planted are Shadblow Serviceberry, Red-twig Dogwood, Witchhazel and Elderberry. The herbaceous plants are Common Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Wild Bergamot, Switchgrass, Black-eyed Susan, Gray Goldenrod, and New York Aster.