We saw this fragrant but invasive species at Skeetkill Creek Marsh on our Mother's Day Walk. What is it?
Nearly 400 folks turned out for River Barge Park Day on Saturday, which celebrated the opening of the Meadowlands Commission's latest park — a 5.5-acre riverside park in Carlstadt.
The day featured free guided tours of the park, free pontoon boat rides, free birding with experts, and free kayak lessions.
We also saw nearly 40 species of birds throughout the day (full list to be posted later this week, schedule willing).
(Thanks to all who participated!)
The group had 30 species, including Dunlin, some Cedar Waxwings (above) and an Indigo Bunting.
We are posting the full list of birds seen on the walk — think of it as a sneak preview for this weekend. (Thanks for the list, Mke!)
Here's the 2012 checklist for the prize-winning Meadowlands Marsh Hawks team.
They saw 139 species in less than 24 hours in Bergen County — but couldn't get a Black-capped Chicadee.
(Thanks to team members Mike Newhouse, Chris Takacs and Mike Wolfe!)
A few years back, my wife Elaine and I noticed how many of the Praying Mantis egg casings we spotted during the winter in Mill Creek Marsh were either gone or destroyed by the following spring, therefore producing very little in the form of new population.
Many of these sacs were either lying on the ground, completely exposed to any predator or poorly hanging on to excessively thin stems of invasive vines, again not properly protected from the harsh elements.
Upon careful study and research of how the Praying Mantis reproduction usually succeeds, Elaine had a much better idea of how to raise the odds of survival.
This past winter, when we found disturbed egg casings (above), Elaine attached them to bamboo skewers and secured them onto branches, using higher gauge string.
All have survived the winter beautifully.
As an extra precaution in the event no others in the marsh area survived, we kept one of the casings in a jar. When the babies hatched, Elaine took a couple of photos and immediately took the jar with the babies over to Mill Creek Marsh, where she released them in a safe spot.
(Thanks, Elaine and Mickey!)
The link is here.
Don Torino, who leads many of our walks with Bergen County Audubon, writes about the recent butterfly invasion and the public's apparent disconnect with nature in his latest post on the wildnewjersey.tv blog.
Don writes that at a local nursery "there was a strange thing happening. No one seemed to notice these butterflies. There were no second glances, no comments, no smiles, no recognition at all. I suddenly felt lonely. I wanted everyone to enjoy this experience with me. After all, this didn't happen every day. So to the embarrassment of my wife. I said in a loud voice, 'Look at all the butterflies!' Still nothing. Nobody even lifted their heads to acknowledge the fluttering jewels that were everywhere I looked."
The link is here.