Monthly Archives: September 2009

Wheatear Update 9:30 a.m. (plus Sora)


   We regret to report that as of 9:20 a.m., the Northern Wheatear has not been seen on the Transco Trail. There's a strong breeze out of the west, and there is a good chance he may be riding it.  

   He was last seen near the beginning of the trail, perched on a trail sign, a bit past 6 Thursday night.

   The water levels are still low in the IMG_9513Shorebird Pool, even for high tide, and we are pumping out water now, so this afternoon should be good for Soras (above), the Least Bittern (right) and shorebirds.   We will be posting Rob Fanning's bird list for DeKorte Thursday evening to give you an idea of all the great birds that are here.

   If you do see the Wheatear or any other "good bird" at DeKorte, please call Jim Wright on his cellphone, 201-785-6604.

   And a thank you to all the wonderful folks who visited DeKorte to see the Wheatear and other nifty birds the past few days. It was great to meet so many of you.

Three great events early next week

Sunday (September 20)
    Kaleidoscope of Hope Walkathon. This DeKorte Park walk of 1, 3 or 5 miles benefits women and their families affected by ovarian cancer. The fund-raising walks support ovarian cancer research and early detection programs. They start at 9 a.m. Call (201) 933-0008 for more information, or click here.

Monday (September 21)
    Movie Night at the Meadowlands Environment Center
. The NJ Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has teamed up with Green Faith New Jersey, a group of interfaith environmentalists, to present “movie night” at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst.
   The film is the Emmy-nominated “Blue Vinyl,” a humorous look at the environmental truth about America’s favorite plastic. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. with refreshments and time for networking, the movie shows at 5 p.m., and at 6:30 director Judith Helfand will lead a discussion on the film. A nominal fee will be charged to benefit the NJ Chapter of the GBC. For more information, visit

Tuesday (September 22)
   Harrier Meadow Walk with Bergen County Audubon Society. This free event starts at Harrier Meadow  and runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Will include a bird-banding demonstration by NJMC naturalist Mike Newhouse.  To rsvp, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at or 201-636-4022. 

More about the Dekorte Wheatear

  IMG_8516The DeKorte Wheatear is the first record of this bird in the Meadowlands and Bergen County. It is the 21st state record overall.

   Another Wheatear was seen in Connecticut for a week recently, and Garret Mountain had oIMG_8598ne for six hours last year. The DeKorte Wheatear is an immature bird; the Connecticut Wheatear, we are told, was an adult.

   "Wheatear" is derived from either the Scottish, Norse or Old English phrase "white arse," which the bird displays in flight and occasionally when bobbing  (left), which it likes to do now and again. 

   The bird was first seen by Pat Clark of Montclair on Monday, who mentioned it Pete Bacinski of NJ Audubon's Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. He passed along the information, and New Jersey Meadowlands Commission staffers photographed what they thought was a likely candidate.  Wheatear takacs1

   The sighting was confirmed Tuesday Evening and posted immediately on this blog as well as the Jersey Birds e-mail alert list.

   A steady stream of birders has been visiting (and photographing) the Wheatear since 6:45 a.m. Wednesdat morning. Chris Takacs got this neat shot (above) of the Wheatear with its favorite meal. 

  The bird is likely from Greenland, northern Canada or Alaska, en route to its wintering grounds in Africa. It is also a frequent vistor to England.

  A very informative newspaper article from England is here.

   Alas, the bird could leave at any time.

DeKorte Update 6 p.m. Thursday

IMG_9114-1    Northern Wheatear still on Transco Trail.

  Had an amazing afternoon looking at awesome birds — including, on the Marsh Discovery Trail, a Least Bittern, three Soras, immature Glossy Ibis, all sorts of sandpipers, and a few Black-crowned Night Herons. (Did not see the Golden Plover, but others did see some Semi-Palmated Plovers.

   Fellow birders were telling us how many life birds they got this afternoon.

   Then there was the above view, a convocation of egrets and gulls not to be believed as the Sun started to set. It was like being the middle of a dream

DeKorte Update: 3:15 p.m. Thursday

IMG_8477     Northern Wheatear is still along the Transco Trail, usually on the right side, often along the rocks of the Saw Mill Impoundment. Little guy is chowing down on crickets.

   We are having a great Patagonia Picnic Table Effect. As more solid come down to see the Wheatear, we are getting more eyes on the impoundment just as water levels have been significant lowered.  

   As a result, we have seen Soras, a Golden Plover, an immature Glossy Ibis, Caspian Terns,  Pintails, etc. — in addition to more than 100 Snowy Egrets, more than 70 Great Egrets  (below)and other assorted birds.  IMG_8446 Sora and Ibis seen within the hour  — along with Black- and Yellow-crowned Night Herons and frequent Ospreys.

   If you are planning to go to DeKorte and want the status and most recent location of the Wheatear (if it is still there, fingers crossed) or the Golden Plover, call Jim Wright on his cellphone until 5 p.m.. 201-785-6604. Send Jim an e-mail here.  If you do go and walk along the embankment in search of the Wheatear, be careful — there are a lot of groundhog holes and bad footing.

   To see Ray Duffy's video of the DeKorte Wheatear, click here. (It's kind of cool — thanks, Ray.)

   For directions to the park, click on the “About Us” section of our Web site,

   Or download the pdf here…Download To DeKorte Park

The Wheatear Continues at DeKorte

     Wheatear2.njmc   The Wheatear was seen again Wednesday  from 6:55 a.m. through 8:45 a.m. along the Transco Trail. Several good looks  Wheatear njmc at this immature bird — and nice views of that flash of white in the trail when it flew. Very cooperative.

   We will look for it again at 8 a.m. today. If you are coming to see it, please park in the far parking lot near the administration building or observatory. There is a conference at DeKorte today and parking is limited.

 You can call Jim Wright until 11:30 a.m. today if you have questions — 201-785-6604.

  Ray Duffy will post a video later today, and we will link to that …

Meadowlands Photo Contest

 IMG_7457-1     Attention, Amateur Photographers: The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) is seeking entries for its 2009 amateur photography contest, “The Meadowlands: 40 Years of Progress,” as part of the Commission’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.
   Submissions should reflect the beauty of the Meadowlands as seen in its places, people and wildlife.

    Participants may submit up to three entries, in color or black and white. A committee of NJMC judges will select the three entries that best represent the beauty and progress of the Meadowlands District, and the winners will be announced at the Nov. 23 commission meeting. 
   Prizes are $300 for first-place, $150 for second-place and $75 for third-place. The winning photos, and other entries, will be displayed at the NJMC’s Flyway Gallery during December.

   Click "Continue reading…" for more information and official rules.

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