Monthly Archives: April 2011


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Ron Shields took these pheasant shots in the past week. He writes:

"Here's some images of the mister and missus that have been squawking it up on the Erie Landfill this past week.

"The male was especially vocal [Sunday]!"
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Bird Report 042311: DeKorte Park

John Workman reports: 
Spent part of early Saturday afternoon at DeKorte Park (Lyndhurst).   Tide was high;  ground and roads soggy from the rain and flooding;  sky overcast with drizzle continuing.   
Highlights included: 
— a single Spotted Sandpiper slurping from a huge puddle;
— six rambunctious and noisy Forster's Terns, one of whom had a half-frozen crayfish in its bill; 
— a Common Moorhen (in the Kingsland Impoundment, which is across from the first parking lot right after the security booth).   Bird easily visible from the walkway's blue metal benches.  It was standing at the edge of the phrag islands:  a dark breeding adult with a zig-zag streak of white lightning on its flank, and a bill-shield as bright and orange as the Highway Department's signs.  It would swim awkwardly back and forth between the islands, freaking out one of the drake Northern Shovelers.   
— 4 Eastern Pheasants, with two very vocal males.  
— 4 "Stilted Fuzz-balls" (Killdeer juveniles) not far from the AmVets memorial. 
—  A big, all-female flock of Red-winged Blackbirds;  continually making the same "konk, konk, konk" location calls, which together (and from a distance) sounded a bit like a marimba band practicing in the landfill.
(Thanks, John!)

Bird Report 042311: Laurel Hill

Ray Duffy reports:

I took a walk around Laurel Hill Saturday afternoon.

 - I had a male Clapper Rail calling in the phragmites behind the Xchange.  I got a brief look at him on the edge of the vegetation but it was calling quite loudly.

– One of the Osprey flew in to the park and picked up stuff for the nest by the train bridge.

– I was watching the raven nest, and I saw at least 3 young in the nest.  I'll keep watching, hopefully there are more.

I also had my first of season for the Meadowlands chipping sparrow.

Thanks, Ray!

Yellow Warbler, Osprey!

DSC_1390 crop(2)-1 Laura Frazer took this nifty shot yesterday. She writes: "I spotted the Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and the Osprey (with dinner) about an hour before sunset yesterday.

"The warblers were at the intersection of the Transco Trail in the trees, and the osprey was on a pole just outside the entrance to the park." (Thanks, Laura!)
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A Great Earth Day Walk!


We can't think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to show more than 70 people the natural wonders of DeKorte Park — a square-mile treasure that was once slated to be a landfill.

Once again partnering with the Bergen County Audubon Society, the Meadowlands Commission was tickled by the turnout — boosted by the folks at Structure Tone and their kids.

The young naturalists were tickled to be outside with room to roam, and curious to ask questions like: "Why do they call that bird a Killdeer?" (We forgot, and remembered after it was too late.)

Early next week, we will post a list of all the birds we saw, and maybe even ID the snake that a few of the kids found.

(Thanks to all who participated!)

Jersey City Peregrine Cam: Eggs!

Jcp-birdpic2 The N.J. DEP's Peregrine Falcon cam is up and running on a Jersey City roodtop, with at least three eggs being incubated and hatchlings expected in early May.

According to the DEP, there are 25 nests statewide — up from zero in the entire eastern half of the country in 1964.

How's that for an Earth Day message?

Link to the webcam here.

(Image of the Peregrine is from the DEP website. Thanks, DEP!)

South Bergenite column: Of Ospreys and Earth Day

Jim Wright, who keeps this blog for the Meadowlands Commission, writes a nature column for the first and third Thursdays of every month in the South Bergenite.

Here's his latest:

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!