Monthly Archives: November 2015

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: A Meadowlands Thanksgiving


My Love of Thanksgiving has much less to do with Pilgrims and much more to do with giving thanks to the many wild places we are fortunate enough to enjoy here in New Jersey. For me Thanksgiving always started out spending a few hours in the morning enjoying nature before sitting down to dinner.

Our family tradition began many years ago when my brother and I would wander the Meadowlands enjoying the crisp fall morning air and looking out for the richness of wildlife that our Meadowlands held out for us to admire. There were memorable Thanksgivings past when we were lucky enough to see a Barred Owl in the lowland forests that still are part of the Meadowlands and the many remarkable Red-tailed Hawks, despite being a common sight that always had special meaning for the both of us.

Only after feeling we had taken in our share of nature did we sense that it was really Thanksgiving.

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Losen Slote Walk Recap


losen slote nov 15 (2)It doesn’t get much better than good birding with great people. That was the feeling on the BCAS’ guided walk at Losen Slote Creek Park in Little Ferry on Tuesday.  It was an especially good day for viewing raptors. Northern Harrier, Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned and Coopers Hawks were among those spotted. Some non-raptors were on hand as well, including the beautiful Goldfinch above photographed by Alice Leurck.

The next BCAS Meadowlands Nature Walk is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6 along Disposal Road in Lyndhurst .

Scott Weidensaul Talk A Huge Success

Some 100 birding enthusiasts came to the Meadowlands Environment Center this past Friday evening for an excellent, engaging talk by renowned birding expert and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Scott Weidensaul. His talk focused on the the plight of migratory birds and how our everyday choices, from what we plant in our gardens to the kind of coffee we buy, can help reverse their decline.

“Scott’s insight on bird migration is incredible,” said Don Torino, President of the Bergen County Audubon Society, which hosted the talk. “He gave us ways we could all help migratory birds in terms that everyone could understand for such a complex problem. His teaching along with his kindness and patience with everyone that was lucky enough to attend will not be forgotten.”

Scott even enthralled non-birders. A comment posted to the blog soon after the talk read:

“Just attended talk by Scott Weidensaul, and it was great! I am not a birder, but my husband is, so I went to keep him company. I was so impressed with Scott’s breadth of knowledge and how fascinating he made the miracles of what these migratory birds do come alive! Also fascinating is how integral our landscapes are to these birds–including our own backyard wild flowers and support of bird-friendly coffee! And the value of the forests in Canada and the Amazon! Awesome! Thanks!”

Thanks to all who came out, and to Scott, who made the nearly 3-hour treck from his home in Pennsylvania for the event, which was sponsored by Birds & Beans: The Good Coffee.



Losen Slote Creek Park Walk This Tuesday, Nov. 17

BCAS is leading a guided walk of Losen Slote Creek Park in Little Ferry on Tuesday Nov. 17 from 10 am to noon. We’ll look for sparrows, late fall migrants and other birds of interest.

For more on Losen Slote, check out Don Torino’s column below

The Sweetgums, White Oaks and Sassafras trees are turning the crimsons, golds and yellows of fall. The ferns still stand at attention on the forest floor as they did in the ancient woodlands of the past. A Hairy Woodpecker suddenly clings to a tree right over your head and a Red-Tailed Hawk watches your every move from its noble perch. You are in Losen Slote Park in Little Ferry, one of the last stands of hardwood lowland forest in the Meadowlands and one of the most beautiful and unique places in the Meadowlands, especially in fall.

The Losen Slote (Dutch word for winding Creek) is a 22-acre hidden gem in an otherwise congested part of Bergen County, a unique lowland forest habitat where you are transformed to another time where the Muskrat, Box Turtle and Red Fox still roam. Where the Wood Duck and Hooded Mergansers are framed by the surrounding Gray Birch trees now full of goldfinch and eagerly await Pine Siskins and Redpolls of winter. This is where the Fox Sparrows and Carolina Wrens spend many of their autumn days and the Coopers and Sharp-shinned hawks and even the Barred Owl hunt like they have for thousands of years.

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Scott Weidensaul Talk at MEC Tonight!

Scott Weidensaul, a nature author from Schuylkill County, handles a barred owl at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Albany Township. 2/11/03 Photo by Bill Uhrich

Don’t forget renowned birder and author Scott Weidensaul’s free talk tonight at the Meadowlands Environment Center at 7:30.  Weidensaul’s talk on the plight of migratory birds is titled, “Birds, Beans and Conservation: Simple Ways to Save Migratory Birds.”

Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books, including the Pulitzer Prize-finalist about migratory birds, “Living on the Wind.” Weidensaul’s newest book: “The Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean,” will be available for purchase, and Scott will sign books after the event. This program is sponsored by Birds & Beans: The Good Coffee, and hosted by the Bergen County Audubon Society. For more information, email or call 201-230-4983.

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: The Mighty “Magic” Oak Tree

All birders have their very own “Magic Tree” A tree that, no matter what, always seems to miraculously ensure multiple bird species anytime you guide a pair of binoculars in its direction. There could be many kinds of magic trees but most of the time the species of magic tree is the mighty oak.

In actuality, there is nothing mystical about the oak and the many bird species that are attracted to it. In fact, oaks are perhaps the most important wildlife tree we have in our forest.

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