Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Chris Takacs Wins “Big Year” at Losen Slote Creek Park”

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Losen Slote Creek Park in Little Ferry is one of the last stands of hardwood lowland forest in the Meadowlands District and the very last that is accessible to the general public. The park is a 22-acre magical hidden gem in an otherwise congested part of Bergen County, where birders can see migrants such as Hooded and Blackburnian Warblers, where Wood and Swainsons Thrush have the run of the forest floor, and Bald Eagles soar over this unique and distinctive nature preserve.

In order to document as well as celebrate the incredible diversity of the bird life that thrives at Losen Slote, Bergen County Audubon Society sponsored a “Big Year” Competition in 2015 . A Big Year goes from January 1 to December 31. During that time birders compete to see how many species can be seen in that given year. This first ever “Big Year at Losen Slote Creek” was won by Chris Takacs of Lyndhurst with 83 species of birds!

Chris has been one of the top birders at the Meadowlands for many years and is still amazed by the species of birds that visit Losen Slote. “The bird that surprised me most was a Canada Warbler, which I just don’t see real often in the area, but I was also surprised to see Common Redpolls there. These birds were feeding in the birches. The group of birches there is one of the largest in the southern Bergen County area.”

The list of birds compiled over the year by Chris is a testament to a diverse healthy habitat that is crucial to many threatened as well as endangered species.

Chris’ list of birds are as diverse as the Losen Slote Habitat. Wood Ducks, Osprey, Warblers and woodpeckers show how the rare forest and field habitat make Losen Slote a critical wildlife preserve among the vast numbers of people and concrete.

“I’d love to see the trails be kept up better” Chris told me “The new trail markings there are great. Vandalism needs to be controlled better including the misuse of the park by dirt bikes and ATVs. The park gets wet in the spring and some trail work to allow easier walking in the wet areas would be great. This park offers lots of opportunity to see a wide variety of species.”

In honor of Chris’ hard work and dedication to Losen Slote, Bergen County Audubon Society will be funding a future conservation project that will benefit the wildlife at Losen Slote Creek Park.

For directions to Losen Slote Creek Park click here.

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