Mike Girone: Disposal Road Raptor Report

IMG_1326Mike Girone writes:

Ron Shields and I were out and about in the Meadowlands Friday afternoon & early evening. Kearny & Mill Creek Marshes were both quiet.

Disposal Road saved the day, delivering some awesome late-day action (in addition to the possible immature Little Blue Heron in the retention pond earlier in the afternoon).

More info and pix follow. (We’ll post another Peregrine/Kestrel encounter tomorrow.)


It started with a juvenile Northern Harrier hunting along the top of the landfill that spans the north side of Disposal Rd. Suddenly, American Kestrels came from everywhere to dive-bomb the larger raptor (we counted up to 5 at one time!).

After the Kestrels started to disperse, a trio of juvenile Peregrine Falcons appeared from the north! One drove out the Harrier, and all 3 flew mostly together for at least 10 minutes (no aggression, just typical juvenile playfulness & mock-combat).

One of the juveniles was banded (black-over-green band, with the federal band possibly being silver. Perhaps the NY MetLife Peregrine ID’d a few weeks back?).

The other 2 Peregrines had no bands. They drifted east and out of sight. We went to the Shorebird Pool, but didn’t re-sight them (but did see 4 or 5 Great Egrets fly in from the west).

Upon returning to Disposal, we stumbled upon a female Kestrel with a good-sized bird in her talons. She flew from the side of the road, up the landfill to the top of one of the black pipe sets to dine.

Numerous American Kestrels were seen either eating or hunting along the length of the landfill. Several birders had joined us, and we counted at least 7, possibly 8, Kestrels in view at once!

Also had a low flyover by a Great Blue Heron, and we heard a Ring-necked Pheasant earlier in the afternoon.




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