Monthly Archives: February 2014

Starting Next Week: Marsh Memories

Mosquito 1900  Dike Sepia

As part of the Meadowlands Commission’s 40th anniversary five years ago, my colleague Brian Aberback spearheaded an Oral History Project.

The project featured interviews with many folks who grew up in the Meadowlands or were witness to a part of its long and checkered history. They were kind enough to share their memories with us.

First up next Tuesday: Richard P. Kane (for whom the Richard P. Kane Natural Area is named).

Regina Geoghan: On the Joys of Winter

Regina Geoghan, a regular contributor to this blog, just wrote a delightful column for about the joys of winter (with photos from DeKorte Park).

Here’s a sample:

Like many people, my pulse rate speeds up and my survival instinct kicks into first gear with each new prediction of snow and warnings of hazardous conditions and potential power failures.

Trips to the gas station to fill the tank and the supermarket for bottled water, non-perishable food items and flashlight batteries ensue.

But truthfully, for me, the pulse rate and butterfly flutter in my stomach are mostly due to my inner winter child dancing up and down and hoping against hope for the perfect snow day.

The link is here.

Black History: Rutherford ‘Red Tail’


The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the focus is a Tuskegee Airman from Rutherford. This series of four posts originally ran in 2009. That’s the great thing about history — it never gets old.

Calvin J. Spann, who grew up in Rutherford,  served with the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

From 1943 to 1946, 1st Lt. Spann served in the U.S. Army Air Force, 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Squadron, as part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen — the first-ever group of black Army pilots.

Spann was among an elite group of Tuskegee Airmen who escorted B-17 bombers and reconnaissance  planes over Nazi Germany during World War. Spann flew 26 combat missions.

In a phone interview yesterday from his home in Texas, Spann said: “My growing up in Rutherford inspired me to be a Tuskegee Airman. Planes from Teterboro Airport took off right over my house.

“I was able to do everything any young man in high school did, and when I got into the Air Corps and they said they didn’t think I could learn to fly, I thought that was preposterous. I’d been doing everything everyone else was doing all my life, and it really stuck with me. That was my experience growing up in Rutherford.”

Continue reading

More Recent Bird Sightings

Rob Fanning reports: “Had a drake RB Merganser at DeKorte today and the Canvasback flock is up to 19. Had a pair of Ring-necked Ducks, too.”

NJMC naturalist emeritus Don Smith reports that over the weekend from River Barge Park he saw Ring-necked Duck, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Male Common Goldeneye, Buffleheads and Hooded Mergansers and a very early Tree Swallow.  He also had 50 Common Mergs by Laurel Hill.

(Thanks, Rob and Don!)

More about the Limited MEC Access on Weekends

P1080747As was posted on this blog last week, the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park will have limited access on weekends beginning this Saturday, March 1.

As always, the park itself will remain open from dawn to dusk, and a park attendant will be on site and available.

We did not reach the MEC decision lightly, and we appreciate your feedback.

Long-term damage from Hurricane Sandy has drastically reduced park attendance on weekends, with most of the Marsh Discovery Trail closed for repairs and access to the Environment Center’s Marshview Pavilion greatly reduced.

The Environment Center will be open on weekends for regularly scheduled walks and programs. It will also be open on weekdays to accommodate visitors and the more than 15,000 schoolchildren that visit DeKorte Park each year.

We will reassess the MEC weekend closings in the coming months. We are happy to report that long-term repairs for the Marsh Discovery Trail are slated to begin later this year.

In the meantime, we ask that you plan accordingly (we do not consider portable toilets to be a viable solution).  Thank you for your patience.

Pix from 2 Good Recent Bird Sightings

Great cormorant
Dennis Cheeseman photographed a Great Cormorant at Losen Slote Park in Little Ferry this morning (above), and Ray Duffy managed to get a shot of those distant White-winged Scoters (below)he saw this weekend off Mill Creek Point. (Note: White-winged Scoters are on the Birds of the Meadowlands checklist, and considered rare.)

(Thanks, Dennis and Ray!)

What’s Being Seen: DeKorte & Disposal

DSCN9666Thinking of visiting DeKorte Park or nearby Disposal Road this weekend?

To see what’s being reported at DeKorte on eBird Hotspot Explorer, click here.

To see what’s being reported along Disposal Road on eBird Hotspot Explorer, click here.

Note: As of Friday, part of Disposal Road near DeKorte Park had a very deep puddle covering the entire roadway. You may want to park in DeKorte and walk down the Transco Trail or take the Schuyler Road entrance to Disposal Road.