As part of a friendly competition among DeKorte Park, the Celery Farm Natural Area in Northwestern Bergen County and a buddy vacationing in Massachusetts, we thought we'd see how species of birds each group would see during an hour on Sunday morning. The other two groups counted from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. but stayed in one place, a la "The Big Sit."
Our DeKorte group covered about a mile later in the morning — from 11 to noon — but did not go much onto the Marsh Discovery Trail.
The Celery Farm crew, known as The Hour on the Tower, tied their all-time record with 41 species. We had 31 species. Massachusetts had 30. Congrats to all. It was fun, and — as one DeKorte participant observed, you become as aware of the birds you should see but don't (like the Snowy Egret) as the ones you do see.
The DeKorte List follows (including, at the end, birds seen before or after the hour).
Chris Takacs reports: "5 Raptors around Disposal Rd., DeKorte and Harrier Meadow today. Male Northern Harrier hunting the Kingsland Landfill along Disposal Rd., Kestrel and 2 Peregrines along Disposal and Harrier Meadow, Osprey at DeKorte and Red-tailed hawk on Disposal. 55+ Bobolinks flying over the Erie Landfill near Harrier Meadow just after sunrise.
"Michael Newhouse of the Meadowlands Commission reports a White Ibis over Harrier Meadow also at sunrise." (Thanks, Chris and Mike!)
Let's hope the ibis hangs around for BirdFest this weekend.
Jeff Nicol reports: "I photographed this bird Sunday just outside of the gate to the Marsh Discovery Trail.
"When I first saw the Yellow flash into the tree, I thought Yellow Warbler, but this is not a Yellow Warbler.
"This was much larger (a bit larger than a Parakeet, which I also saw in the same area) and it had a redish-orange color on the top of its head.
"Could this be yet another escaped/released pet of some sort?" (Thanks, Jeff.)
We are thinking that this another escaped/released pet. Can anyone tell us what kind of bird it is? We will be posting more about this problem in the coming weeks.
The William D. McDowell Observatory in DeKorte Park begins a new schedule of programming on wednesday night with free public access at 8 and 10 p.m. — weather permitting, of course.
Dress for the weather; with the dome open, you are basically outside.
Each evening two major objects in the night sky will be viewed, plus one or two other celestial objects or events depending on the observing conditions.
Pictured at left is the observatory's state-of-the-art telescope with a 20-inch mirror, housed beneath a retractable dome.
The telescope, one of the largest in the area, is equipped with cameras to record the stars and planets. Special filters block light pollution.
For detailed information, click here. The full September schedule will be posted when it becomes available.
What is attached by rubber band to this journal? If you get this one, take the credit!