Monthly Archives: December 2008


     We had said that given the dubious forecast, we'd hold the last Harrier Walk of the year if anybody showed up.
   A birder from Pennsylvania
braved the elements to participate, so out we went.
   We'll print the full list tomorrow — highlight was a Barn Owl flying.


   As part of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission's upcoming 40th anniversary, the Commission's Parks Department has created this weekly feature on how local places, landmarks, and geographical features  got their name.


Newark Plank Road ca 1910  

   During the eighteenth century Paterson Plank Road was literally a road made out of wooden planks. 

   The road was built by laying Atlantic white cedar logs end to end topped with cedar planks. 

    Can you imagine riding in a wagon or on horseback on this plank road?  Maybe that's how the expression “washer board” road was born. 

    The wooden planks were replaced in 1909 with granite cobbles that are still visible in places today.

   Do you have any suggestions for this feature? E-mail us.

   For more What's-in-a-Name Wednesdays, click here.

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT: Meadowlands Highlights



Our Meadowlands team was part of the Lower Hudson CBC Circle, covering a 15-mile radius. IMG_8097
    Team Leader Mike Britt has posted a highlights list, including many of the birds that our team of three saw on our 11 hours plus of birding Meadowlands Commission sites in North Arlington, Lyndhurst and Carlstadt. The circle saw counted 100 species and more than 13,000 birds overall.

     (Above: Orange-crowned Warbler; at right, a Horned Lark.)

    Click "Continue reading…" below for the highlights list and a photo of a pheasant and an artsy shot of a Bald Eagle.

Continue reading


   The Meadowlands Commission's team of three birded on Sunday from 6 a.m. until after 5 p.m. at commission locales and came up with 62 species, including a Bald Eagle, a Rough-Legged Hawk, three species of owls, Orange-crowned Button1Warblers and Horned Larks.  

More later this week.

    Click the button at right for more information on the count nationwide.


Harrier egrets-1   Among the highlights of the second day of the Harbor Herons Conference here at DeKorte Park was the New Jersey Audubon Society's report on the foraging patterns of the egrets that nest on South Brother Island in the East River.
   As suspected, these Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets love to feed and hang out in the Meadowlands — confirmed by the band of citizen scientists who visited many sites in the district time after time over five months.
  Some of the findings confirmed what many of us have noticed by eye — that Snowy Egrets love to fish in water below their knees, while Great Egrets prefer water above the knee.
   Low tide seems to be a popular feeding time.
    We will let you know when New Jersey Audubon Society posts the Harbor Heron reports  on its site.
    And mark your calendars: NJAS will be looking for more citizen scientists to participate in the 2009 study, beginning in April.
     Click here for previous Harbor Herons posts.



  The Meadowlands edition of the Christmas Bird Count is on Sunday.
   A couple of Meadowlands Commission staffers will be pulling a 12-hour shift to survey areas typically inaccessible to the public.
   Overall, 15 birders will cover a 15-mile radius. We will try to print some pics and highlights some time on Monday, with the full list to follow later in the month.


    Day One of the conference here at DeKorte Park covered a lot of topics, including updates on the breeding populations of egrets, herons and cormorants in the New York Harbor region.
    Though these populations fluctuate from year to year, Black-Crowned Night Herons and Double-crested Cormorants seem to be doing particularly well.
   Greatest threats to breeding habitat: Invasive plant species and Asian Longhorn Beetles (infested trees must be cut down).
   The Harbor Herons Project expects to post all of the proceedings from the two-day conference online. We will link to them as soon as they are posted.


IMG_6551 The Meadowlands Commission is hosting a conference on the Harbor Herons Project today and tomorrow.

  It is not open to the public, but I hope to attend as much of the proceedings as I can and to post a noteworthy nugget or two about this estimable endeavor.