Monthly Archives: April 2010

Don’t Forget: Laurel Hill Walk on Sunday


     The Laurel Hill Walk on Sunday at 10 a.m. promises to be nifty — we checked out the Common Ravens' nest on Friday, and it appears to be a full house.
    We are unsure how many nestlings there are, but there have been reports of at least three.
   The nest is so crowded that one of the parents sits on the ledge outside the nest. We'll have spotting scopes on Sunday so everyone will get great views.
   Details on the walk follow — be sure to rsvp.

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Observatory: May Schedule

    The William D. McDowell Observatory in  DeKorte Park begins a new month of programming next Monday night with free public programs at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. — weather permitting, of course. Note the later starting times.
   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. 
Pictured at left is the observatory's state-of-the-art telescope with 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 May schedule, click here.

Flyway Gallery for May

  Blue heron 003
 The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s Flyway Gallery will host an exhibit featuring watercolors of herons, eagles, foxes and other wildlife during May.
   The show, “The Wildlife Art of James Fiorentino,” is on display from Sunday (May 2) through Friday, June 4.
   Fiorentino’s wildlife paintings, which include portraits of Black Bears, Mountain Lions and Peregrine Falcons, are known for their exquisite detail and realism. 
   A reception for the artist is scheduled for Sunday, May 16, from noon to 3 p.m. More information and a painting of Bald Eagles follows.
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Forster’s Fest


     The elevated boardwalk next to Meadowlands Environment Center at DeKorte Park has become a huge hangout for Forster's Terns.
   At least two dozen were hanging out there this morning.
   They are also zipping around the Shorebird Pool and splashing into the water to catch fish — quite successfully, as you can see below.


DeKorte’s Shorebird Pool: Bird Central


  There's a great air show going on above the Shorebird Pool (outside the Meadowlands Environment Center) in DeKorte Park these days.  It's open to the public, free of charge.
   On Wednesday afternoon we had close-up views of Forster's Terns (above and left), Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows and Ospreys.
   If you want to see some lightning-fast birds, try following some of these guys as they whisk around the tidal impoundment.
  At least the Forster's Terns make enough noise for your eyes to catch up with them.
   When you photograph these terns (and the photo isn't a total blur), you begin to appreciate how aerodynamic (and awesome) they are.
    The Ospreys, on the other hand, love to hover above the water. almost in slow motion sometimes. We had two Ospreys fishing at once on Wednesday afternoon.


New Barn Owl Boxes


     NJMC Naturalists Mike Newhouse and Brett Bragin took delivery last week of two new big Barn Owl boxes, donated by Scott Gunther and Wild Birds Unlimited of Paramus.
     "We certainly have Barn Owls in the Meadowlands, and we'll put these to good use," says Newhouse.
    We had several Barn Owl sightings earlier this year, including the low-profile pair at left. (Thanks, Scott and Wild Birds Unlimited of Paramus!)

Ospreys Galore

Osprey on ValleyBrook

    Just about anywhere you look in the Meadowlands these days, it seems like you see an Osprey or two — from the Kearny Marsh to Carlstadt and beyond.
   The NJMC's Angelo Urato took this shot of an Osprey with a meal on a utility pole on Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst. Ospreys are seen daily along this road. (Thanks, Angelo!)

Update on Bald Eagle With Transmitter

The saga of the Overpeck Preserve Bald Eagle with the transmitter has turned into a real mystery.  We checked with Fish and Wildlife Departments in Virginia, Maryland, New York, Maine and Quebec, but came up empty.
Leurck    After we posted Alice Leurck's photo above on this blog, a reader suggested we checked to see if the eagle's legs were banded, because Bald Eagle banders in various states use different color bands.
   Alice checked her photos and, sure enough, we were able to make out the bands in one of the shots. The left leg had a red/black band, and the right leg had a silver band.
   We also sent the photos to the folks at the Center for Conservation Biology, and are waiting to hear from them. (Thank you to everyone has offered their help in solving this little mystery!)