Monthly Archives: August 2015

Summer Eagles

Ron Shields was kind enough to grace us with a series of spectacular eagle shots from throughout the summer. Ron writes: “This summer several eagles graced the Kearny Marsh with their presence, including this immature bird.

“I would like to think that the pictured eagle is a first year bird and possibly from the new nest at Kearny Point. Being a Hudson County resident, that would be simply terrific! The eagle was often found on the stumps of old cedar trees in the middle of the marsh. His flight was often impeded by attacks from red winged blackbirds and territorial ospreys.”

 

Enjoy Music By The Riverside Tonight!

guitar-flute

Friday, Aug. 7, 7:30 – 9 pm
River Barge Park, Carlstadt

Tonight’s weather forcast shows low 80’s, the perfect evening to bring your lawn chair or stroll the pier while listening to the sweet jazz sounds of guitarist Rick Pressler and sax player Steve Kaplan at River Barge Park.

Reminder, the park can get a little chilly in the evenings, so a light sweater might go a long way.    Register here.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Both the Birds and the Birders Are True Treasures of the Meadowlands

IMG_2929By Don Torino, Guest Columnist

 As Howard Carter slowly opened the ancient tomb of King Tutankhamen his partner Lord Carnarvon could no longer stand the suspense and impatiently asked “Can you see anything?”

Carter replied “Yes, wonderful things.”

That is exactly what I found when I opened the Blue Book of Birding history in the Meadowlands, many wonderful things about the many years of birding in the Meadowlands .

Brian Aberback, who maintains the Meadowlands Nature blog, asked me a while back if I would want to take a look at an old blue binder that was labeled “HMDC BIRD LISTING.” Of course I couldn’t resist taking a look at this one inch thick Meadowlands birding bible. When I got home I anxiously flipped the many pages attempting to search out rare bird sightings and perhaps compare the birds of the Meadowlands past to the birds we have today.

It didn’t take long to see some great bird sightings like a Golden Eagle at Kearny Marsh in’86, a Hudsonian Godwit and a Ruff along Kingsland Creek in ’72 , a Marbled Godwit in’71, and another with a possible broken wing along Transco trail in ’98 . I couldn’t wait to turn to the next page to see reports like Northern Bobwhite Quail at the Lyndhurst preserve in ’98 and even a Sandhill Crane the same year.

It was a bit overwhelming to try and absorb all the places, the dates, and the birds but there was also something else very special in the blue book of birding history : the birders themselves.

Across the page in small print were the names of the many birders over the many years who reported their sightings, now documented and acknowledged in a small book I felt honored to hold . There were two legends of the Meadowlands whose sightings dated back to the early ‘70’s. Don Smith and Richard Kane birded the Meadowlands when everyone else wrote it off . Both these men documented these many species in the hopes that one day our Meadowlands would be preserved and protected.

Some old friends names also appeared. Nilda Ugarte, who I became friends with long after her age prevented her from walking the trails of the Meadowlands, had many bird reports through the years. Other old friends no longer with us like Lynn Pierson still making her presence known. I was very proud to see Bergen County Audubon Society well represented by Dave Hall, Ken Witkowski, and Joan Clark, with some BCAS reports that went back to the early ‘80’s

Good friend Rob Fanning documented many important bird sightings over the years as did Kevin Karlson. There are even reports by Boy Scout troop #548 from Moonachie, a group called the Echo Lake Nature Club, and the Saturday Morning Bird group, among many others.

Seeing all the names of folks that birded the Meadowlands over the many years was touching. We know the Meadowlands will always be about the birds, but sometimes we forget it is also very much about the birders, the people whose passion and love of the Meadowlands drove them to cherish it, protect it , and ultimately help preserve it.

That very same passion and commitment to observe, document, and enjoy the many birds of the Meadowlands continues today , maybe no longer placed in this little blue book but positioned in more modern high- tech places, but always well-maintained in the hearts of all who love the birds of the Meadowlands .

More on this book in future columns .

 

Special Birding By Boat Trip Thursday Aug. 18

NJMC Pontoon Boat on Hackensack RiverIn place of a Second-Tuesday walk, this month the NJSEA and BCAS are hosting their yearly Birding By Boat trip on Tuesday, Aug. 18, from 10 am to noon. We’ll go out on NJSEA Pontoon Boats on the Hackensack River, providing participants with a unique, up-close vantage point from which to see peregrine falcons, ospreys, northern harriers, and various egrets and herons.

Note: Photographers welcome, but no tripods. There is limited seating for the boat rides and you must pre-register and pre-pay ($15 per person). Reserve your seat now by calling 201-460-4640.  The trip departs promptly from River Barge Park in Carlstadt. See you out on the water!

River Barge Park Walk Recap

IMG_0083More than 30 visitors enjoyed a very nice, leisurely stroll around River Barge Park during Sunday morning’s First-Sunday-of-the-Month walk with the BCAS. We saw some great birds including Great Black-backed Gulls  and Double-crested Cormarants from the Park’s promendade while taking in a cool breeze off the Hackensack River, as well as egrets and sandpipers. The group then moved to the edge of the Richard P. Kane Natural Area near the education pavilion where we spied a Peregrine Falcon in the distance. Shots above courtesy of Joe Koscielny.

Don’t forget: the Second-Tuesday walk isn’t actually a walk at all – it’s our yearly Birding By Boat trip. We’ll go out on NJSEA Pontoon Boats on the Hackensack River. The river provides a unique, up-close vantage point from which to see peregrine falcons, ospreys, northern harriers, and various egrets and herons. Note: Photographers welcome, but no tripods. There is limited seating for the boat rides and you must pre-register and pre-pay ($15 per person). Reserve your seat now by calling 201-460-4661. See you out on the water!

American Avocet In Our Midst!

The American Avocet made a rare appearance in the Meadowlands yesterday. The wader usually doesn’t journey to New Jersey often, and when it does, the Avocet primarily stops in the southern portion of the State. Michael Britt first spotted this great looking bird Saturday in the Hudson County section of the Saw Mill Mudflats. It eventually flew to the Marsh Discovery Trail in DeKorte Park, where numerous birders reported it in the neighborhood of the Common Gallinule. In the afternoon the Avocet could be seen from the Transco Trail by the boat launch and the weather station. Chris Takacs’ photos are taken from the boat launch.