Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Snowys are gone, the Snowys are here…

Snowy egret    We have been looking for the Snowy Owls in Lyndhurst this week to no avail. Last sighting was March 28. But the Snowy Egrets have arrived. 

    This guy was photographed late yesterday at DeKorte.  And birder Ray Duffy saw oneat Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus on Friday.

   More on Snowy Egrets (and their nifty yellow/orange feet) here.

Harrier Meadow Walk 040309



    Despite a persiIMG_0019stent rain, the Harrier Meadow nature walk on Friday attracted three hardy  birders, 28 species of birds and plenty of earthworms soaking up the gloom.

   No Harrier walk would be complete without a Northern Harrier (above).
     Over 90 minutes, we saw our first Barn Swallow of the year, our first Eastern Phoebe, several Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron, and a multitude of (way too skittish) ducks.
    Click "Continue reading …" for the complete list.

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Harrier Walk: Species of the Day

   We got a rare view of this down-to-earth creature  on the path at Harrier Meadow during our (rainy) Walk of the Month this morning.
   An American Robin was wetting his whistle nearby.
   Three brave souls joined us for the 90-minute walk. They were rewarded with excellent views of dozens of worms  and 28 bird species, including: Ring-necked Duck, Northern Harrier, Eastern Phoebe, and Barn Swallow.

   Look for a full (wormless) report on Friday's walk on this blog early next week.

   More on Earthworms here.

Tree Swallows Are Back — and Nest Boxes Are Going Up

IMG_3125  The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission has begun its annual nesting box program for tree swallows this week, and the beautiful iridescent-blue birds are grabbing up the boxes as soon as they are placed along the edge of wetlands.

   In some instances (see photo at right), Tree swallow box the birds have flown into the nesting boxes while the boxes were still on the boat.

     Tree swallows are a popular bird for many people, not just for their iridescent beauty and graceful speed, but also because they love to eat insects.  It has been estimated that a family of tree swallows can eat hundreds upon hundreds of midges, mosquitoes and other insects in a day. 

     With the help of local scout troops, families and other groups, the Meadowlands Commission has erected some 250 nesting boxes in marshes throughout the 30.4-square-mile district.

    Last year, Meadowlands Commission naturalists used GPS devices to help keep track of tree-swallow activity in all of the nesting boxes.

COMING SOON: Tree Swallow Video

   Click here to read Bergen Record Environmental Writer Jim O'Neill's nifty story today about the Tree Swallow Project.

   "Continue reading…" for more info and pics.


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Last Sunday: Birding for Beginners at DeKorte

   The Bergen County Audubon Society got a nice turnout for its Birding for Beginners class, hosted by the Meadowlands Commission at the Visitor Center in DeKorte Park last Sunday.
   A turnout of three dozen learned about binoculars, field guides, and bird identification — before trying out their newfound skills in DeKorte Park (below).
   Click here for more information on Bergen County Audubon. Click here for more info on their "Birding For Beginners" walks.


Friday’s Harrier Meadow Walk Is Still On

   Despite the iffy weather, we are planning to move forward with the Harrier Meadow walk scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday. We'll meet at the Harrier Meadow entrance in North Arlington.

   Because Harrier Meadow is not usually open to the public, you will be required to sign a standard liability release.

   As of 3 p.m. Thursday, there was a 40 percent chance of rain, so please bring an umbrella and waterproof shoes if you are planning to attend. A walk in a light rain could be invigorating.

   If it's a complete washout, we will reschedule and post the new date and time on the blog.
   Sorry about the uncertainty, but perhaps some of the vaunted May flowers will result.

    Click "Continue reading …" below for directions to Harrier Meadow.

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Turtles are waking up!

   We saw this chap catching some rays in the MRI wetlands in Carlstadt while we werIMG_3239e putting up Tree Swallow boxes earlier this week.
    Its shell was still dirty from a winter's nap in the mud.
   It was a little more sluggish than usual, so we were able to get a photo or two.
   The turtle was not easy to ID, covered with mud, but we've narrowed it to Diamondback Terrapin or Snapping Turtle.
  Any thoughts?
   More on Diamondback Terrapins here.
     Other posts on Meadowlands reptiles and amphibians here.