Jim Wright, who keeps this blog for the Meadowlaqnds Commission, also writes a twice-monthly column for the South Bergenite. His latest is on the Christmas BNird Count in the Meadowlands:
In a column earlier this month, I previewed the annual Christmas Bird Count, now an international event.
The N.J. Meadowlands Commission participated in the Lower Hudson portion of the count on Sunday, Dec. 15 — our chance to do a one-day census of the birds on a handful of commission properties that are closed to the public for safety or security reasons.
Although our day began just before dawn — and featured slushy roads, freezing toes and slippery footing — it’s hard to imagine a more amazing day in the field.
Our team of five, captained by NJMC naturalist Mike Newhouse, saw more than 60 species, including such rarities as a rough-legged hawk, a Wilson’s snipe in the snow, two orange-crowned warblers, a barn owl and a snowy owl.
The snowy owl and the rough-legged hawk are infrequent winter visitors from Canada, and the barn owl is seldom seen any time of year. All three are as beautiful as they are rare.
To get great looks at these three raptors and all those other beautiful birds on a December day in the Meadowlands is a testament to just how important the region is to wildlife in a tri-state area that often seems to be running out of elbow room.
Sometimes photos tell the story best. Here goes.