Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Ravens of Laurel Hill

Raven nest distant
   For at least the third year in a row — and in recent memory — Common Ravens are nesting in a cliff at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus.
   Raven on nest You can see the nest clearly from the athletic fields at the foot of the massive hill, and with a pair of binoculars, you can get good views of the ravens as they come and go,
   But other birds abound as well. On a recent trip, we also saw a Peregrine Falcon, an Osprey, two Redtails and five Turkey Vultures — and that was just that raptors.
   The ravens' nest has gotten much larger in the past month, and there is hope that some Ravenettes will emerge in a couple of weeks.
   More on the amazingly intelligent Common Raven here. Previous posts on Common Ravens here.

Coming soon: A Common raven duels with a Redtail.

We hope you like our new look


As you may have noticed, the Meadowlands Blog has a new look, thanks to staff designer Mimi Sabatino. The photo across the top of this blog — of egrets and herons congregating in Harrier Meadow in North Arlington — was taken early one morning was late last August.

Meadowlands talks next week

                                                     Photo courtesy of the Meadowlands Museum

   The Meadowlands Commission's Jim Wright will give two library talks next week on "The Meadowlands — Past, Present and Future."

    The  7 p.m. shows, in Ridgefield on Wednesday Apr. 22 and in Rutherford on Thursday Apr. 23. will include some great archival shots of the region, as well as some amazing nature photos taken within the last year. 

      Each show will run approximately one hour, including a question-and-answer session. The talks are part of the commission's year-long 40th anniversary celebration.

  (The photo above is of the old Bonnie Dell Farm in Rutherford along Route 17.)

   Click "Continue reading…" for details on both talks.

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Walk of the Month: May

IMG_9970     The N.J. Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society  are co-sponsoring a free Mother’s Day walk in Ridgefield on Sunday, May 10.

We meet at the Ridgefield Nature Center at 8 a.m. for a 45-minute nature walk, with some birding along the way. The nature center is a beautiful wooded natural area comprising 5.4 acres off Shaler Boulevard by Ray Avenue.

   The property was the source of the spring for the Great Bear Spring Water Co. from 1920 to 1975, at which point the land was sold to the Borough of Ridgefield.

    For those with a little extra time, we will drive over to the Skeetkill Creek Marsh a  mile away to look for egrets, herons and shorebirds.

  Along the way, we will stop to take a look at the nearby Monk Parakeet colony. These colorful birds live under a bridge, above the train tracks. Bring binoculars and wear comfortable walking shoes.

    To register, contact Jim Wright of the Meadowlands Commission – at this e-mail address, 201-460-2002, or Don Torino of the BCAS at this e-mail address, 201-636-4022. 

Heron-counting volunteers wanted!


Kate Ruskin of New Jersey Audubon writes:

    Citizen scientists are needed for heron surveys [and you can take a training session right here in the Meadowlands]!

     The New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) is recruiting volunteers for wading bird surveys coordinated through its Citizen Science program.

   The study, now in its second year, will run from May until October in the
Hackensack Meadowlands, Raritan Bay, and surrounding watersheds.  

     Volunteers  are asked to commit to two surveys per month over the course of the study period and one pre-season training workshop.

     Click "Continue reading" to learn more.

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Back when wetlands were just swamps….

   This 32-year-old diorama, found in the Kearny Library attic, showed how part of the Kearny brackish marsh could be converted to office parks.

   IMG_3631-2 In the photo at left, you can see where the eastern spur of the Turnpike crosses the Hackensack River.

The office park (and one to the west)  would have been placed on filled wetlands next to a railroad siding near the river.
    This was in the waning days of an era where planners thought wetlands were swamps, to be filled and developed.

     These days, almost everyone understands that marshes are vital parts of the eco-system, providing everything from wildlife habitat and the filtering of impurities in water to flood control.

     More on the value of the Meadowlands' marshes here.

    (Thanks to the Kearny Public Library for passing along the diorama.)

Monk Parakeets in the News

  Monk parakeet

    A bit of news regarding the Monk Parakeets of Ridgefield.
     Bill Boyle of  the New Jersey Bird Records Committee reports:
    "At the Spring 2008 meeting [last month], the committee voted to add Monk Parakeet to the New Jersey State List. The population in Bergen County, which has been present for many years, has been growing and spreading and is unlikely to be extirpated by natural causes."

   Click "Continue reading…" for the rest of his comments.

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DeKorte Park is in its spring finery

Kingsland overlook
   If you are looking  for a great place for a spring walk, look no farther than DeKorte Park, which isIMG_3263 just starting to burst with blooms.
  Above is the start of the Kingsland Overlook Trail just inside the main gate, including the forsythias.

    On the left is a close-up of crocuses one of the many gardens that are coming to life.

   (Almost forgot — there are plenty of great birds arrriving as well!)
   The trails at DeKorte are open from dawn to dusk. The observatory is open to the public from 8 to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

   Click "Continue reading …" for more photos.

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