Monthly Archives: June 2015

Early Sign of Experiment’s Success?

Spotted Sandpiper Nest June 2015 DonSmithJust one month after the Port Authority of NY/NJ established two experimental plots in a marsh in Carlstadt, this Spotted Sandpiper nest was observed in the one of them.

The two plots were cleared, subtlely graded, planted, and fenced for study. The experiment aims to determine the marsh’s suitability for freshwater wooded wetland mitigation. The property is owned by the Meadowlands Conservation Trust.

Painted Turtles Basking in Carlstadt

Painted Turtles Don Smith Carlstadt Painted Turtle Don Smith CarlstadtPainted turtles are not uncommon in woodland pools, rivers, wet meadows, bogs, and slow-moving streams from Maine to Alabama. They are less common in brackish water. This pair was photographed in a brackish marsh in Carlstadt. Painted turtles spend their lives in a small area – most won’t travel more than 100 meters as long as living conditions are favorable. They feed on aquatic insects, snails, small fish, and carrion, though their diet is also about 50% vegetation. When in water, they usually remain submerged. They bask on hummocks, logs, rocks – or tires, if they’re in the meadowlands. They may gather in large groups.

Natural History of the Meadowlands Talk

natural-historyFREE. Monday, June 29, 1 – 2:30 pm
Meadowlands Environment Center

Natural Resources Specialist Brett Bragin will discuss how the Meadowlands was formed 20,000 years ago during the last ice age, and how nature and humanity have since impacted the region. Bragin will also lecture on the remarkable comeback of fish and other wildlife in the Meadowlands. Register here

Solstice Event CANCELLED

solar eclipseThe Summer Solstice event scheduled for tomorrow, June 21st, at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, has been cancelled.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for tonight at  8 pm through tomorrow at 8 pm. There is 90% chance of heavy rain overnight and through the morning.

For the safety of all involved, this free event has been cancelled.

Detroit Flower House

Flower House was open to the public for one weekend last October. Then the property was ‘deconstructed’  to create a sustainable flower farm. Visitors explored a house filled with floral carpets, leafy walls and ceilings dripping with vines.

The brainchild of Detroit-based florist Lisa Waud, it was one of many projects to grapple with the challenge of revitalizing a struggling city while respecting its complex history.

“When the visitors are gone and the flowers have wilted, the materials will be the first to make up the composting system at the future flower farm,” Waud writes. “While it may seem wasteful to have used them for a brief, artful weekend, the flowers will have been a part of a story being recounted, told and written. Just like the materials in the structures, the flowers will live on as something new and beautiful.”

Read more – and see more photos – here.

Local Landmark as Symbol of Infrastructure Decay

PulaskiSkyway_1970s_JC LibraryWe’re usually excited to see a local landmark in the national media. But for those of us who know and love the Pulaski Skyway, it is sad to see it held up as a model of infrastructure decline. The American Public Radio show Marketplace, aired a story earlier this week about the sorry state of American highways in general, and the Pulaski Skyway in particular.

It should be said that the skyway is probably best loved by those of us who admire its dramatic presence in the landscape from a distance, rather than by the 70,000 who travel on it daily.

Read the Marketplace story and listen to the broadcast here.

Live Raptors Draw Crowd

Streeter-GoldenEagle-wingspan smlgc

Bill Streeter with Golden Eagle.

About seventy-five people were on hand for yesterday’s presentation by Bill Streeter, Director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center. Bill has over thirty years of experience working with raptors. His Center rehabilitates injured birds of prey for re-release to the wild. Birds whose injuries prevent them from surviving in the wild become permanent residents at the Center and part of its education program.

Both entertaining and informative, Bill introduced the audience to six live raptors: American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Long-eared Owl, Saw-whet Owl and a majestic Golden Eagle. Participants got close-up looks as Bill circulated through the audience with each bird.

More Natural Pools









Natural swimming ponds rely on plants, rather than chemicals, to filter the water. The plant regeneration area is usually kept separate from the swimming area. Even if you already have a swimming pool, you can enjoy the benefits of a chemical-free pond using the structure you already have with a few design changes. Read a recent Inhabitat article here. See a past Meadowblog post here.

Peregrines and More at Laurel Hill Park


Diamondback terrapin. Photo NJSEA

A small group of nature-lovers had a great visit at Laurel Hill yesterday morning, with Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society leading the way. Don got the scope on the peregrine nest, which sits in a nook high up the rock face above the ball fields. We had a good look at two juveniles and a less-good look at two adults hanging around the nest.

We then checked on the Osprey nest near the RR tracks. An adult posed majestically on the nest while two little heads bobbled at its side. The adult fly off to hunt and soon returned with fish in its talons. We watched it eat while perched on a utility tower. We presume there was some left for the chicks.

Foraging for mulberries. Photo: LCameron/NJSEA

Foraging for mulberries. Photo: LCameron/NJSEA

We also saw cormorants, barn swallows, song sparrows, and a lone mallard through the haze.

An unexpected treat was a diamondback terrapin who was striding purposefully the grass. What beautiful markings!

We picked yummy mulberries along the way. And though we bemoaned the extent of the Japanese honeysuckle, we still enjoyed its fragrance and drops of sweet nectar.