Over the past couple of winters, the Meadowlands has attracted some great rare birds.
Two years ago, From late December into February, we had two Snowy Owls (including the one on the right).
Last year, a Northern Shrike visited the Disposal Road area from mid-December to Saint Patrick's Day.
And both winters we had at least one Rough-legged Hawk.
Taking a page from birder Mike Hiotis' playbook, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission is offering two free pontoon boat rides during the 2011 season for the first birder to find a Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike or Rough-legged Hawk in the 30.4-square-mile Meadowlands District in the coming weeks.
The only ground rule, courtesy of Mike, is that the bird must be seen "for more than one day with multiple observers." Of course, if you can share a photo of your find, you will receive all sorts of fame and recognition.
E-mail the NJMC's Jim Wright here.
Pix of the Disposal Road Shrike and one of the Meadowlands' wintering Rough-legged Hawks follow.