Monthly Archives: June 2013

All About the Rare Meadowlands Treehog


A follower of this blog writes:

Do woodchucks have longish tails and do they climb trees? I saw something that looked like a woodchuck in a tree on Chubb Ave. eating berries.

I didn't know they could climb trees. This young tree was slanting a bit and that may have helped it get up. When I stopped to get a better look it climbed down and ran away.

This blog follower clearly hasn't heard of the famous Meadowlands Treehog…

A link is here.

See a Nesting Terrapin? Let Us Know!

We saw another Diamondback Terrapin crossing Disposal Road today — so please drive extra carefully to protect these species of special concern.

If you know of any specific locations where terrapins have laid eggs this spring, please e-mail NJMC staffer Adam Osborn at so we can protect their nesting sites.

Updated Big Year Totals through May

DSCN9973Now that NJMC Natuiralist Mike Newhouse is back from vaaction, we have all the known participants' tallies as of May 31  in the Meadowlands Big Year for 2013.

Congrats to all for competing. We hope you are having fun near to home, and seeing lots of great birds.

Keep in mind that some birders are in the Meadowlands all the time, and others get here occasionally, so their birdage may differ drastically.

If you're name's not on the list, please e-mail Jim Wright at jim.wright (at) It's still not too late! Sign up now!

Here is the leader board as of May 31:

1. Chris Takacs: 177, (2012 reigning champion, ineligible for prizes
             in 2013 as a result, lives in district)
2. Mike Newhouse 172 (NJMC, setting a target number for competitors.)
3. Ray Duffy, 163 (in district)
4. Jackie DeMarco, 151 (out of district)
5. Mike Wolfe,  139 species (out of district)
6. Dennis Cheeseman, 132 (out of district)
7. Jim Wright,  124  (NJMC staff, ineligible for prizes)
8. Mike Turso 114 (out of district)
9. Oliver Stringham, 110  (in district)
10.  Roy Woodford 108 (out of district)
11. Julie McCall, 105 (in district)
12. Rob Fanning 101  (out of district)

Last month's totals and a link to last year's through-May totals follow.

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More about that Polyphemus Moth!

Courtesy of Nick Vos-Wein of Ramapo College and the Meadowlands Environment Center, we bring you a couple of photos of the Polyphemus moth after its release earlier this week.

Nick had found the moth's cocoon on a Gray Birch in DeKorte Park earlier this year, and released the moth after it hatched. We think it hunkered down in a grassy section of the park so it could wait for dusk. (Thanks, Nick!)

Yesterday's post on this moth — and this year's Moth Night at DeKorte — can be found here.

You can tell male Polyphemus moths from females by the males' feathery antennae. An outside photo of the moth's awesome antennae follows.

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Jersey City Peregrine Falcon News

Mike Girone writes: "Thought you would like to see this. One chick was banded at the Jersey City nest last Wednesday morning (June 5th).

This chick actually did not hatch at this nest. It was fostered in from a nest in southern NJ last month, when the lone hatchling at Jersey City developed serious problems.

To read more, check out the web cam's Nestbox News here

Link to my gallery of the banding on Flickr is here. The Jersey City pair sure has quality real estate on the waterfront! (Thanks, Mike!)

Polyphemus Moth in the Meadowlands

We were fortunate to get a quick look at a male Polyphemus Moth at DeKorte Park's Science Center, thanks to Nick Vos-Wein of Ramapo College (which operates the Science Center). Nick had found the moth's cocoon on a Gray Birch in DeKorte earlier this spring.

This silk moth has a wingspan of 6+ inches, lives just a few days (without eating), mates and dies. The moth IMG_9989-001was released on Tuesday, when it was ready to fly.

Much like the clear-winged moths, the Polyphemus has a clear panel on each wing (close-up on right).

The moth is named for Polyphemus, a Cyclops of Greek mythology and "The Odyssey". More on the Polyphemus moth here and here.

The moth's appearance is a great reminder that the Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society are once again part of National Moth Week this summer. We will be hosting a Moth Night featuring NMW's amazing crew and light set-ups at DeKorte Park on Tuesday, July 22, at 8:30 p.m.

Tomorrow: A couple of photos of the Polyphemus after it was released.

More Polyphemus moth photos — including closeups of the wings, wing panels and antennae — follow.  (Thanks, Nick!)

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Warbling Vireo @ DeKorte Park

Roy Woodford writes:

There's been a Warbling Vireo singing like crazy in the back parking lot of DeKorte.

It took me a week (maybe more) … but I finally managed to get a half-way decent shot.  

He doesn't come down from the tree tops often — and when he does, he doesn't sit still for long.

Note: On Sunday, Rick Wright reported a Warbling Vireo in DeKorte Prak and by Disposal Road: he also reported hearing a Dickcissel near Disposal Road behind the Eternal Flame.

(Thanks, Roy and Rick!)

Tuesday Teaser 061113

Saw this tree on Edith Wallace's guided nature walk at DeKorte Park on DSCN9575Sunday but not sure we caught the ID.

Does anybody know what it is?  

The tree, with the low branch pictured above, is on the right near the beginning of the Kingsland Overlook Trail.

Photo of hopefully ample sample is included.