Get out your binoculars!
It's official: The Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society are sponsoring another Meadowlands Big Year, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The rules are simple, even if the prizes aren't nailed down yet.
The goal is to see as many different bird species as possible in the 14 towns of the Meadowlands District over the course of 2012 — and also to have fun birding.
The idea is to promote birding in the Meadowlands, and to give area birders a competition that does not require as much travel (and gasoline consumption) as, say, a New Jersey Big Year.
To make this as fair as possible, we will have two divisions: Meadowlands residents and non-Meadowlands residents.
More details follow.
Tony Gregorio got a shot of the distant Great Horned owl seen by several people on Sunday's free guided walk.
The raptor was seen briefly from Disposal Road, on the Erie Landfill, mid-morning. (Thanks, Tony!)
Most of the Virginia Opossums we see in the Meadowlands are, alas, road kills (though we like to think they are only pretending to be road kills).
Chris Takacs took this shot of an opossum by the base of the closed Kingsland Landfill on Disposal Road — an increasingly popular place for mammals of all sorts, with or without prehensile tails.
More on opossums, North America's only marsupial, here.
The above photo is of a fire siren in Ridgefield, which has been taken over for housing by the local Monk Parakeet colony.
We have not been present when the siren has sounded, so perhaps it has been decommissioned.
By the way, recent visits to the colony around 9 a.m. have been mostly unsuccessful. The guy who operates a coffee truck across the street says that the birds leave in the morning and come back around lunch.
Congrats to Mary Kostus for correctly identifying this as a Monk Parakeet nest.