Monthly Archives: October 2015

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: The American Kestrel, a Species in Decline

kestrel jill 2

The decline of a species is a very insidious affair. Their departure almost seems to go unnoticed until it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It feels as if when no one is watching you wake up one day and realize you no longer see the bird you once loved as often as you have in the past. Then you begin to look around and wonder why, and ask what could have happened ?

In reality, of course, the deterioration of a species of wildlife does not happen overnight and usually has multiple causes, but the warning signs are always there waiting to be found. The American Kestrel is one of those species that holds a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, while it once graced the skies of the Meadowlands, it has now sadly seen a dramatic decline in a very short time.

Continue reading

Photos from Tuesday’s Laurel Hill Walk

Above are some photos from this Tuesday’s Nature Walk at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. Thanks to Joe Koscielny for the great shots!

This Morning’s Laurel Hill Walk

peregrine don

laurel hill group

Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society (BCAS) sent in a photo of a rather proud looking Peregrine Falcon, the highlight of this morning’s walk at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. “Great people and great weather made it a great morning, and this Peregrine Falcon made the day,” Don writes.

Don’t miss the next free guided walk on Sunday, Nov. 1, at Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus from 10 am to noon. For more information email Don at or give him a call at 201-230-4983.

A Tribute to Aunt Rose

Mickey Raine sent in the following, lovely tribute to his wife Elaine’s Aunt Rose:

067 V Sunrise 001bf RchrdDKorte Park Mdwlnds NJ NYC n Freedom Tower Vw 101915 OK FLICKRI had driven over to DeKorte Park very early this morning, hoping to capture some pre-sunrise and sunrise hour scenes.  We had just learned about the passing of Elaine’s Aunt Rose in San Jose, California, and I, too, felt her to be a truly special lady–an infinitely devoted mother, grandmother, wife and sister.

Rose Ichishita (Aunt Rose)

Rose Ichishita (Aunt Rose)

She always seemed to be of great spirits, in spite of her personal conditions, much like our dear friend Tricia, who had just passed away.  Elaine had just had one of her long and fun chats with Rose no more than two weeks ago.

This may sound corny, but sunset and sunrise landscape viewings can be deep solace for the soul, while also, quite inspirational.

Continue reading

Reminder: BCAS Nature Walk at Laurel Hill Park Tomorrow!

Northern Harrier Credit NJSEA

Join the Bergen County Audubon Society tomorrow, Oct. 20, for their Third-Tuesday-of-the-Month  Meadowlands Nature Walk. The free walk is at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus from 10 am to noon. Keep an eye out for migrating raptors, shorebirds and other birds of interest, like the Northern Harrier shown in this post. The walk meets at the main parking lot by the ball fields. For more information, email or call 201-230-4983.

Don Torino Bonus Column: Eternal Optimism

Common Yellowthroat Credit: Fred Nisenholz

Common Yellowthroat Credit: Fred Nisenholz

We’re very happy to have a bonus second column today from our friend Don Torino at the Bergen Audubon Society. It’s a very heartfelt piece about the everyday challenges of being an environmentalist and the small things that keep us going. Enjoy!

They say to be a conservationist one must forever be an eternal optimist. Anyone that pronounces themselves an environmentalist knows all too well that, to carry on the day-to-day conflicts and struggles that at times seem to be overwhelming, we must have faith that in one way or another we can change the world for the better.

I am sure that somewhere deep in my heart, between the frustrations, public indifference and exhaustion, that is what must be driving all of us to continue. Nevertheless there are those times the undying hopefulness begins to fade and even dwindle into the defeats of the day .

Continue reading

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: A Sweet Tree for Meadowlands Wildlife



(Note: We will be posting a bonus column from Don around 2 p.m. today!)

A few winters back birders from all over New Jersey and some neighboring states descended   upon Losen Slote Creek Park in Little Ferry to see if they could get a look at Redpolls and White-winged Crossbills that were generous enough to stop over and give us local folks a thrill. As a multitude of binoculars gazed skyward I could hear a nice young lady cry out, “There they are on the itchy balls!” I couldn’t help but laugh . I hadn’t heard the tree referred to by that name for a very, very long time . The tree that she was so happily denoting was, of course, a Liquidambar styraciflua – the Sweetgum tree.

Continue reading