Mike Gempp reports: "Stopped down at DeKorte for a brisk walk on the Discovery Trail around 2:30, and within five minutes was rewarded with a Belted Kingfisher, a Great Blue Heron, and various and sundry ducks including Green-winged Teal, N. Pintails, Mallards, N. Shovelers and Ruddies. (A couple of weeks ago I was seeing occasional Buffleheads, but they seem to have moved through.)
"A quick drive around to the Carillon yielded up yet another Red-shouldered Hawk, who hunted through the area for a good five minutes before descending to land on one of the PSEG electrical towers. He made some very close passes, and I had wonderful views of it.
"Still patrolling for that first Shrike or Snowy Owl." (Aren't we all?)
More than 75 people braved the cold last night to hear prize-winning author Scott Weidensaul talk about the miracle known as bird migration — and some simple steps that any of us can take to make the world around us more bird-friendly.
One statistic was particularly dramatic for us in the Meadowlands.
Although we almost take Northern Pintails (left) for granted — especially on our guided winter nature walks — their numbers have been in steep decline over the past few decades. Their population has plummeted by 77 percent over that time span.
More on Northern Pintails here.
As Scott mentioned, places like the Meadowlands are vital rest stops and destinations for migratory birds.
Scott's website is www.scottweidensaul.com.
(Thanks to Scott for his talk, and thanks to the Bergen County Audubuon Socciety for sponsoring this free event — which also marked the group's 70th anniversary. The Meadowlands Commission was proud to sponsor this event.)
Our Sunday talk and walk featured a double surprise — two Red-shouldered Hawks.
The main group had an adult by the Carillon, and a smaller group had an immature Red-shoulder closer to the main parking lot. Maureen Krane supplied the shot of the adult, above. (Thanks, Maureen)
The immature (in the right-hand
photo) also had the Sun at its back, and we photographed it and thought we'd sort it out later. Just downloaded the photo at lunchtime today.
It is a threatened species in New Jersey. Read about it here. More on Red-shouldered Hawks here.
Guess we'll have top add this bird to our Winter Raptors talk.
We also had eight species of ducks (unless someone saw a Green-winged Teal that we missed). Full list follows.
And now for something completely different, to say the least…
On a visit to Laurel Hill County Park, some scat was pointed out to us, and identified as Coyote scat.
What do you think?
Photo of said scat follows. We were going to put a penny next to it for size comparison but thought better of it.