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Tomorrow, Friday, April 22, is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, and to mark the occasion, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission is presenting a special free two-hour guided walk at DeKorte Park. The walk starts at 10 a.m., and families are welcome.
Now is a great time to visit DeKorte – for several reasons. First of all, a lot of great spring visitors and season-long guests are here, including Ospreys, Tree Swallows and shorebirds.
Another big reason to visit to DeKorte is just to walk our beautiful grounds. After that long hard winter, seeing all those beautiful daffodils, forsythia and other bloomers is a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon.
A third and increasingly popular reason to visit DeKorte Park is to photograph those birds and blooms. DeKorte is a great place to put your digital camera to use.
On a lunch hour last week, something amazing happened, and it drove home just how popular DeKorte Park has become with nature lovers and photographers alike.
I was heading out the Transco Trail, camera in hand, when I saw an Osprey hovering over the water as it hunted for a fish to eat for lunch. As the fish hawk flew closer, I realized that a long row of tall reeds obscured my view.
I raced past the reeds as the osprey went into its dive, and I began taking pictures just after the bird hit the water, as it flapped its powerful wings to lift itself – and its meal, a large perch – from the water.
I kept photographing, but I wasn’t in the right spot to take any more shots of the bird as it flew farther away.
When I got back to the office and downloaded my images, I got an e-mail from Dennis Cheeseman, another photographer. He had also photographed the same Osprey catching the same perch. Amazingly, he had taken photos of the bird as it went into its dive and hit the water.
Later that afternoon, I got an e-mail from yet another photographer, Paula Dias, who had witnessed the same Osprey fish buffet, and who had taken some nice shots of the bird as it flew away with its instant sushi.
As recently as 10 years ago, seeing an Osprey catch a fish anywhere in North Jersey was a rare and wonderful event. Nowadays, three photographers in DeKorte Park on a weekday lunch hour capture that moment for everyone to see.
You can see the entire sequence in the YouTube video “Osprey Lunch” here.
Or you can try to see an osprey fishing on tomorrow’s free walk, which meets outside the Environment Center in DeKorte. Hope to see you there!