There’s still time to experience the Hackensack River and its marshes up close on a New Jersey Meadowlands Commission pontoon boat cruise or canoe tour.
The leisurely journeys run through September and offer participants a chance to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Meadowlands as experienced NJMC guides discuss the region’s human and environmental history and point out the birds and other wildlife that inhabit the area along the way.
Pontoon boat cruises last about two hours. Suggested donation is $15 per person. Canoe tours last approximately three hours; cost is $15.Registration is required for all tours; call 201-460-4640 to register.
Remaining Pontoon Boat Schedule
(All trips depart from River Barge Park off Outwater Lane in Carlstadt)
Sept. 8, 9, 13, 22 and 23 departing at 5 p.m.
Remaining Canoe Tour Schedule
Tour of Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Area, Lyndhurst.
Saturday, Sept. 18. 8:30 a.m. Departs from Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus.
When Photographer Marco Lips sent us these two Osprey images from last weekend, we realized that his uniquely Meadowlands photography exhibit was almost at its end — a very fast two months. As we share these two photos, we'd like to remind everyone that the free gallery show closes on Friday. Link to the original post on the exhibition is here. Link to Marco's website is here.
September's exhibition begins next week. More on that soon.
UPDATE: We saw the Am. Avocet on our lunch hour Tuesday — 12:15. It was in the back of the North Pool, along the distant shoreline just to the right of a power-line tower. A Peregrine was strafing the Short-billed Dowitchers and other shorebirds. Also had three Ospreys fishing at once. Did not see a Sora or Least Bittern today.
Julie McCall reports: "The Am. Avocet is still present as of Monday evening. It was still there when I left the Marsh Discovery Trail after around 4:30 p.m. I have a small .jpg (above) with an excerpt of the DeKorte trail map with the location pointed out in case people want to see if the bird is still there Tuesday.
"I also had a very nearby Sora near the beginning of the trail, and it didn't notice me (or maybe it just didn't care) so I got to watch it for a while and take some bad photos.
"Otherwise, mostly the usual suspects. There seemed to be 2 Short-billed Dowitchers in with some Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and possibly a White-rumped Sandpiper. 2 Peregrines together, 2 Northern Harriers, (both of these on Disposal Road.) 1 Common Yellowthroat, which lured me to the Sora." (Thanks, Julie!")
More on American Avocets here.
Scroll down for the other avocet posts and pix.
Ron Shields reports: "I have sighted individual Sora at the Kearny Marsh on Saturday and Sunday. Attached are images taken Saturday evening in low light conditions. In addition, with water levels extremely low at the marsh, Peregrine Falcons have been targeting resting shorebirds on a daily basis."
Dennis Cheeseman photographed this vireo eating its lunch by the Kingsland Overlook Trail last week. He thought it might be a Philadelphia Vireo, but we thought Warbling Vireo.
One reader wondered (briefly) if it might be a Red-eyed Vireo. What do you think?
Mike Girone reports: "I was watching the American Avocet from the east-facing promenade on Marsh Discovery Trail late [Saturday] afternoon, when it took off with a small flock of sandpipers around 3:55 p.m.
"The avocet landed in deeper water about halfway between the promenade and the eastern end of the shorebird pool, while the sandpipers continued past Transco Trail.
"Shortly afterward, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon appeared from the tops of the Phragmites near the small bird blind, dropped to within a foot or 2 of the water and went straight for the Avocet. The Avocet ducked under the water as the falcon passed within inches of it. The Peregrine buzzed it several more times, but the Avocet stayed in the water, and just kept ducking the falcon's talons as it drifted east. The Peregrine broke off after a few minutes and headed west along Transco Trail.
"What was likely the same Peregrine was spotted again about a half hour later around the entrance to Marsh Discovery Trail attacking (unsuccessfully) sandpipers in the western edge of the pool, across from the guard gate. I didn't get a good enough look at its legs to see if it was banded.
For an earlier post (20 months ago) on a Peregrine strafing a Snowy Owl near DeKorte, click here.
The Meadowlands Commission would like to thank the more than 100 people who participated in our second annual Kevin Karlson Day on Saturday. It was a great event — from the 8:30 a.m. bird walk to the 3 p.m. photography workshop.
We got some nice media coverage, too, beginning with Kevin's guest appearance on the New York Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough on Friday evening. The Record had some nice photos of the event ( View here), and NY1 did a real nice report on the event (link is here).
Kevin had a great handout on Birding by Impression. You can download it here and here.
Kevin and his fellow ace photographer Lloyd also had a handout at the photography workshop. You can download them here and here and here and here. Semipalmated Plover photo from Saturday, below, is by Stephanie Seymour. (Thanks to all!)
The NJMC's Gary Tomaro and Bob Sagro got this shot of a Bald Eagle at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny earlier this month. They have seen up to four at a time. (Thanks, guys!)
Rob Fanning reports that the American Avocet continues in the farthest Shorebird Pool impoundment this morning. He also has seen an American Kestrel, plus a Peregrine Falcon that has been divebombing shorebirds. We also have a report of a Sora and a Pectoral Sandpiper in the Shorebird Pool. A Least Bittern has been seen three of the last four evenings around 6 p.m.
We have gotten some nifty images and video of the avocet. We are posting them here, with an eye to posting a report on Kevin Karlson Day tomorrow — and some pix of an immature Peregrine Falcon strafing the avocet.
Pic by Jeff Nicol is above. Pic by Marc Schoenholz is below. Video by Ray Duffy is here. (Thanks, Rob, Jeff, Marc and Ray!)
We will give a full report of our terrific Kevin Karlson Day as time allows, but the bird o' the day was an American Avocet, all the way out the Marsh Discovery Trail to the last promenade, and then to the left. Let's hope it stays.
To everyone who attended this great free event, thank you for participating. What a great group of folks. A special thanks to Bergen County Audubon Society for all their help! Kevin Karlson and Lloyd Spitalnik weren't exactly chopper liver either. More to come, including better photos of the avocet than these.