Daily Archives: February 27, 2014

In Memory of Mark Becker

Becker-headshot-optWe are saddened to report that Mark Becker, a longtime conservationist who worked tirelessly to protect open space in the Hackensack River watershed, died yesterday in a multi-vehicle crash on the New York Thruway.

Mark was brilliant, selfless and dedicated to making our region a better place.

Mark was appointed to the Meadowlands Conservation Trust (MCT) Board of Trustees as a founding member in 2000 and was the vice chairman of that board at the time of his tragic death.

The MCT biography of Mark is here.

The Record story about his death is here.

Sometimes Better Way-Late than Never

Orange Bishop-001Somehow, we overlooked this e-mail until yesterday afternoon — just two years and three months late. Steve Buckingham writes:

I saw something a little out of the ordinary at Mill Creek Marsh this morning and thought I’d share it with you. Feel free to post to the Meadowlands blog if you think it is noteworthy.

No doubt it must be an escaped pet, but the bird guides indicate there are established wild colonies in the LA and Phoenix areas, kind of like the West Coast version of the Monk Parakeets.

Now we know what a red-winged blackbird/Baltimore oriole hybrid would look like.

(Thanks, Steve! Did anybody else ever see this bird?)

More DeKorte Snowy Owl Pix

_45A9307enfuseMuhammad Faizan reports that at DeKorte Park last Sunday …

Snowy Owl invasion continues. She decided that it’s time to fly again. Light was a little better this time and she followed most of the known patterns (if you know what I mean) except for sitting on a tree this time.  Chased two ducks in flight …
(Thanks, Faizan!)  We will look for Snowies on the free guided walk this Sunday at DeKorte Park.


Banded Northern Harrier along Disposal Road

untitled (1 of 1)-72Ray Gilbert passed along these photos he took yesterday afternoon of a banded juvenile Marsh Hawk along Disposal Road.  If you have any info that might be helpful in finding out more about the bird based on band color, etc., let us know.  (Thanks, Ray!)

Our South Bergenite Column: Surviving Winter!


With weather conditions so snowy and nasty for humans this winter, a lot of folks have been wondering how difficult the past few months have been for our avian neighbors — and which spring arrivals to look forward to in the coming weeks.

For the answers, I thought I’d turn to my go-to guy for all things avian, New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) naturalist Mike Newhouse.

According to Mike, we shouldn’t worry too much about our feathered friends during snowy winters.

“Birds tend to know what to do with conditions like this,” says Mike. “If they need to move south to find food they will. Some of the local populations might struggle a little, but they usually find a way through these tough times – thanks in part to people with filled birdfeeders.”

If you haven’t seen as many birds in their normal locations this winter, he says, it’s because they tend to move around a lot in search of food and cover.

The bad weather has had its silver lining. It has brought some nifty visitors from the north as well. Continue reading