Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mill Creek Marsh Coot & More

american coot









Dennis Cheeseman photographed this coot earlier this week at Mill Creek Marsh. (Thanks, Dennis.)

Jill Homcy also reports:

Just wanted to let you know I stopped at Mill Creek Marsh on the way home Wednesday night and there were a lot of birds. Lots of Green Winged Teal,  Northern Shovelers, greater/lesser yellowlegs and various terns/gulls etc. No herons or egrets. But there was an American Coot there.

Also saw some neat looking juvenile male Red-winged Blackbirds.  (Thanks, Jill.)

Meadowlands Halloween Flotsam

DSCN2755As Liberty Valance pointed out in e-mail, The New York Times on-line had an interesting feature on “The Peculiar Beauty of Flotsam” from a spot along Newtown Creek in New York. She  added: “I have some great photos of the trash from the Marsh…as do all of us…”

Actually, what some of us have are semi-disturbing-looking dolls that just seemed perfect to post for Halloween.

What especially came to mind was all the strange objects we found on our post-Sandy cleanups last November and December — since donated to the Bergen County Audubon Society. (Thanks again to all who participated in those cleanups!)

Part of the nature of the Meadowlands is you never know what you’ll find along the shore.  Just see below.

Happy Halloween!

The link to The N.Y. Times story is here.

We Need Your Big Year Totals

DSCN9973Get out your binoculars — and send us your Meadowlands Big Year totals as of Oct. 31.

The goal is to see as many different bird species as possible in the 14 towns of the Meadowlands District over the course of 2013 — and also to have fun birding.

To ensure a level playing field, all birds must be seen in areas open to the public, or on guided walks or banding events in such places as Harrier Meadow or the back of the Kingsland Landfill.

Due to scheduling hurdles, we will post the results in mid-November.


Mike Girone Peregrine Report


Mike Girone reports:

An update on Peregrine activity along DeKorte’s Saw Mill Creek trail from the last few outings.

An unbanded juvenile male falcon seems to have laid claim to the trail, and has been present the last few times I checked the area out (October 14, 18 & 26). Could also be the same falcon from the dramatic duck attack back on October 5.

On October 14 (Columbus Day), his activity along the trail included chasing down an Osprey with a freshly caught fish. Upon return to the trail, he perched low enough on a tower to offer outstanding close-up viewing. He took off a little while later, briefly hunting over the 1-E landfill before heading east towards the Turnpike.

October 18 featured lots of flying action from this young hunter. A number of hunting attempts were seen, starting near the Carillon and ending up at the south end of Saw Mill Creek trail, across from the 1-E landfill. Each of the hunting forays flushed large numbers of ducks and gulls, but resulted in no captures.

His hunting continued well past sunset, with the falcon only visible in the strip of fading twilight just above the horizon. A spectacular moonrise capped off the eventful day.


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Disposal Road Report

nisenholz 4Fred Nisenholz reports:

It was a raptor kind of day at DeKorte and Disposal Road on Sunday: 3 American Kestrels, 3 Northern Harriers, 1 Merlin, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Osprey, and 1 Peregrine Falcon.

(Thanks, Fred!)

Rare Bird: Prothonotary Warbler Banded Today

DSCN8295Mike Newhouse and his awesome band of bird-banders had their “bird of the year” this morning — a Prothonotary Warbler. We were on hand to take photos. These birds are even more beautiful up-close, if that is possible.

The bird, typically found to the south and near wooded marshes, is a first reported in the Meadowlands District to our knowledge — and certainly the first that Mike and his team have banded.  (Thanks, Mike!)

More on Prothonotary Warblers here.

To learn more on how the bird got its name, click here.

NFL Week 8: Falcon vs. Ravens

IMG_7938There was considerable action in this National Falcon League matchup at Laurel Hill on Friday, pitting an under-sized American Kestrel against a pair of Common Ravens.

We saw the Kestrel first, flying about 30 feet off the ground near the river — playing a zone defense, no doubt.

Moments later, the Ravens appeared high above the cliffs of Laurel Hill. They were clearly the home team and on the offense as they brought a stick to their long-time nesting site.

Seemingly from out of nowhere, a Kestrel blitzed the Ravens — repeatedly.

Although our view was basically the distant bleachers and the sky was mostly overcast, we did take a few photos to document the contest.

One Raven landed near the nest; the one carrying the stick dropped it while under attack and retreated to the cliffs as well.

The American Kestrel eventually flew to the sidelines to catch its breath and get its moment on the spotlight before flying away.

The Ravens went into some apparent courtship flight soon after, which included one flying upside down, and they even did a flyover of the local Old Glory before they left.

Final Score:  Falcon, 2; Ravens, 0.  (But Ravens did receive quite a few style points.)

(Entire sequence follows, if you have the patience.)   :- )

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