Monthly Archives: March 2011

New Tree Swallow Boxes at Skeetkill

IMG_0939-3 A pair of volunteers from Bergen County Audubon put up 32 brand-new Tree Swallow nesting boxes at Skeetkill Creek Marsh in Ridgefield last Thursday — just in time for a new batch of tenants.

Commented Don Torino, "I had mud in my pockets by the end of the day, but it was great fun."

We saw our first Tree Swallows of the year in the Meadowlands last Tuesday at DeKorte.

More on the Meadowlands Tree Swallow nesting box projects here.

Today’s Walk: Ospreys, Raven and More

We celebrated the first day of Spring in style with a Laurel Hill walk that featured our first of the year Ospreys, plus at least one Common Raven (which flew onto its nest), Great Egret and Great Cormorant. We had a nice turnout of roughly 20 enthusiastic birders.

Full list later this week.

Bird Update 031811: Horned Grebe Plus

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We saw the Horned Grebe again today (as of 1:20 p.m.) in DeKorte's Teal Pool — best viewed from the end of the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve peninsula at the moment, but it tends to gravitate toward the far shore as the tide goes out… We are guessing low tide will be around 6 or so. We have had some strong wind gusts, so be prepared.

Also present: Ruddies, No. Pintails, Canvasbacks, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, No. Shovelers and Black Duck and either a Ring-necked or a scaup, far out.

Also heard a report of a flock of Am. Wigeon at Mill Creek Marsh.

Photo above from Ron shields is from yesterday afternoon, with a Ruddy keeping the Grebe company. You can get an idea how small this bird is. Breeding plumage appears to be coming in. (Thanks, Ron!)

First Great Egret of the Year

_MVB6847-01 We have been remiss for not posting this sooner.

Marco Lips photographed this Meadowlands-first-of-the-year Great Egret on Sunday, March 13, by Mehrhof Pond in Little Ferry.

Two years ago, we did a similar post — about a Great Egret who arrived on March 12.

Link is here.

(Thanks, Marco!)



South Bergenite: All About Ravens


Jim Wright, who maintains this blog, write a twice-monthly nature column for The South Bergenite. Here's his latest: 

After a long, wet and brutal winter, now’s a good time to get outdoors and look for an uncommon bird with a deceptive name – the so-called common raven.

The best place to see these huge black birds in the Meadowlands is in Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, not far from the Secaucus Junction Train Station. A pair has been nesting there each spring for several years.

When I did a scouting trip last week for the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s free nature walk at Laurel Hill this Sunday, I saw one of the ravens perched next to the nest — a very encouraging sign.

Typically, common ravens in the Northeast lay several eggs in late March and early April, with an incubation of 20 to 25 days.  After the young ravens are a few weeks old, you might see a little head peering out from the nest if you are lucky.

The young typically leave the nest five to seven weeks after they hatch, but they often stay close to the nest, so the raven show at Laurel Hill should be good for the next three months at least.

Sunday’s walk, co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society, will include some high-powered telescopes known as spotting scopes so that walk participants can get some excellent looks at the ravens.

The ravens also can be seen sometimes flying near DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst and other Meadowlands locales.

The change of the season will bring other changes to the bird population as well. The great cormorants that have been perching on the nearby Hackensack River Swing Bridge are moving on, and the slightly smaller double-crested cormorants will be arriving in large numbers.

Other popular Meadowlands birds — including the red-winged blackbird and the killdeer, have arrived already this spring. Ospreys, great egrets and tree swallows should start arriving any day now. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of these wonderful birds on our walk this Sunday.

The special two-hour walk begins at 10 a.m. in the big parking lot by the Laurel Hill ball fields, which provides nice views of the ravens’ nest.  If you are unsure of how to get to Laurel Hill, you can meet up with one of the walk’s leaders at the first parking lot in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst at 9:20 a.m. and follow them.

The walk is run by the N.J. Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society. Check for last-minute weather updates. You will have to sign a standard liability release for this event. To rsvp, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at or 201-636-4022.

Want to improve your birding skills? The NJMC and the BCAS are offering free two-hour “Birding for Beginners” classes on Sundays April 3, April 10 and April 17 at 1 p.m. in the Meadowlands Environment Center. Check for details.


Horned Grebe Update

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Ron Shields saw the Horned Grebe again this afternoon in Teal Pool out toward the Saw Mill Creek Trail. It was hanging out with a few Ruddies.

Chris Takacs had it, too. Others checked but came up empty — but the bird is still around. (Thanks, Ron, Chris!)

Will check again tomorrow. Lots of other ducks around — Canvasback, GW Teal, No. Pintail, No. Shoveler, Common Merg, Bufflehead and Black Duck.