Jim Wright, who keeps this blog for the Meadowlands Commission, writes a twice-monthly nature blog for the South Bergenite. His latest is on the upcoming 114th annual Christmas Bird Count. You can read it here:
This Sunday, I will awaken long before dawn so I can join a few fellow bird-watchers as they roam the wilds of Kearny, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Rutherford, East Rutherford and Carlstadt to see how many birds we can find in a span of roughly 12 hours.
Folks who would rather be shopping at a mall or watching the NFL in their den may find this a dreadful way to spend a December Sunday, but there are few places I’d rather be than touring the Meadowlands in search of birds both rare and common.
This will be my fifth Christmas Bird Count (CBC) with New Jersey Meadowlands Commission naturalist Mike Newhouse in the past six years. We have found that it’s a great way to visit our favorite parks and natural areas as well as a former landfill or two — which can be great spots to see winter migrants not found elsewhere in the region.
Our “target” birds include rough-legged hawks, short-eared owls, snow buntings and horned larks, but most of all we’ll be looking for a snowy owl. There have been a couple of brief sightings of this charismatic bird in the Meadowlands already this season, and we have never seen one on a count here. Continue reading