Marco Lips reports: "Off from work [on Friday], so that means another visit to DeKorte.
"It was absolutely wonderful to have the snow blowing in my face — a great day to be outdoors.
"The Harrier came closer and closer until it suddenly spotted me. It was interesting to see how it immediately changed course and increased its speed." (Thanks, Marco!)
The William D. McDowell Observatory in DeKorte Park begins a new month of programming next Monday night with free public programs at 8 and 9 p.m. — weather permitting, of course.
Dress for the weather; with the dome open, you are basically outside.
Each evening two major objects in the night sky will be viewed, plus one or two other celestial objects or events depending on the observing conditions.
The observatory's state-of-the-art telescope has a 20-inch mirror, housed beneath a retractable dome.
The telescope, one of the largest in the area, is equipped with cameras to record the stars and planets. Special filters block light pollution.
For detailed information and the complete March schedule, click here.
DeKorte Park is open, and some of the trails look pretty good for cross-
Birding was quite good after lunch along the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve and the Saw Mill Trail heading out toward the Turnpike.
Ducks are still big — many Canvasback, Ruddy, Bufflehead, Northern Pintail, occasional Shoveler and Gadwall. Got a glimpse of that lone female Goldeneye way out along the trail as she swam away.
Ducks were fairly cooperative especially a male Northern Pintail who flew by (below).
Did not see any Bald Eagles but did have a harrier hunting over the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve.
Greg Gard passed along these photos of the male Mandarin Duck at James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen. He took the photos earlier this week. (Thanks, Greg!)
Mandarin Ducks are native to Asia and non-native here – this guy is likely either a released bird or an escapee.
Sorry for the delay in posting this, but we had a few technical issues and other glitches. Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society reports:
"Our Super Bird Sunday walk had nearly three dozen participants — and several 'good' birds — including Hoodies, Bufflehead, Canvasbacks, Northern Harrier and Cooper's Hawk, to name a few.
"We had promised gift bags to the first person to see a bird named after an NFL team — Eagle, Falcon, Cardinal, Seahawk, etc. Alas, the raptors were on the thin side, so we gave out one gift bag to the first person to see a male cardinal (left), and another gift bag to the first person to see a female cardinal."
The gift bags included free two-hour eco-cruises on the Hackensack River later this year, limited-edition Peter Max Meadowlands posters and other goodies.
Part of the Meadowlands Commission's mission is to boost both the economy and the environment by pushing for renewable energy. To that end, the commission announced three initiatives yesterday at its monthly meeting.
Sure, this late February weather is a drag, snow is in the forecast (again), and the waterfowl and other birds of the Meadowlands have hunkered down, but we can't help but fell a touch of spring in the air. Judging from last year, there should be a lot going on here real soon.
We also have three nature events next month.
On Friday, on the heels of reports of Dolphin sightings on the Hackensack River, we set out in a small outboard boat to repair a water-quality monitor by Kearny Point.
Although we did not see any Dolphins, we did see a dozen Black-crowned Night Herons (across the river from the Laurel Hill Boat Launch), Common Mergansers and Great Cormorants.
On Monday, we got the monitor up and running again. The solar-powered monitor measures six different sets of water data, including dissolved oxygen, and then sends the information by modem to the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute.
Click here — Download 2009DOupdate — for last year's encouraging 1-page report on dissolved oxygen trends in the river. Dissolved oxygen levels are increasing, which is good for the entire food chain.
Click here for the very informative MERI Web site.
Click "Continue reading…" immediately below for a photo of a Dolphin who visited the Meadowlands last year.