Monthly Archives: November 2018

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

My love of Thanksgiving always has much less to do with Pilgrims and pumpkin pie and much more to do with giving thanks and connecting to the many wild places we are fortunate enough to enjoy here close to home.

Growing up in the Meadowlands my 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.

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Warblers and More from Mill Creek Marsh

Blackpoll Warbler

As promised, here are some more fantastic photos taken by Joe Koscielny at this past Sunday’s Bergen County Audubon Society walk at Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus.

The next BCAS Meadowlands walk is Tuesday, Nov. 20, at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. The walk runs from 10 am to noon. For more information contact Don Torino at or 201-230-4983.

Palm Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

European Starlings

Northern Mockingbird


Don Torino’s Life In The Meadowlands: Butterfly Gardens Are Now For The Birds!

White-throated Sparrows

One of the first things I learned about restoring native butterfly habitat is that birds don’t read signs very well. Despite all the plaques proclaiming a garden to be for butterflies, Monarch way stations or even a pollinator garden our birds know a good thing when they see one. They utilize our native gardens just as much as our butterflies do whether they are in places like DeKorte Park or our very own backyard.

At a time of year when we think we are putting our butterfly gardens to bed and focusing our attentions elsewhere migratory birds are taking over our gardens occupied only a few weeks ago by Swallowtails, skippers and Monarchs.

The nectar in our butterfly gardens for the most is long gone now. Our butterflies now prepare their life cycle for the far off coming Spring. Now the fall browns, reds and golds substitute the brilliant colors of the summer. But make no mistake: those hues of the fall butterfly garden signal survival to many migratory birds that will now depend on them through the coming hard winter.

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