Tomorrow (April 16): BCAS Walk at Losen Slote Creek Park!

Don’t miss the Bergen County Audubon Society Meadowlands walk tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16, from 10 am to noon at Losen Slote Creek Park and the Mehrhof Pond Wildlife Observation Area, both in Little Ferry.

Losen Slote is a rare remaining parcel of woodlands in the Meadowlands and the Observation Area offers great views of Mehrhof Pond. For more information contact Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.

A Tribute to Pete Bacinski

As previously posted, longtime Meadowlands birder Pete Bacinski passed away last night. Pete was a Lyndhurst native well-known for his great work with the NJ Audubon Society. Chris Takacs of the Bergen County Audubon Society sent in the following:

Last night a pillar of the birding community died, Pete Bacinski. 
Pete was a local guy, raised in Lyndhurst. He went to Jefferson School, Lyndhurst HS and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He spent many years birding the Meadowlands as a teenager and older when it was all dumps.

He directed the Sandy Hook Bird Observatory for NJ Audubon, Owl Haven Nature Center and the All Things Birds Program. He led Eco-Tours across North America and had a weekly column on birding in the Star-Ledger for 14 years. He was part of the first World Series of Birding winning team with Roger Tory Peterson, Bill Boyle, Pete Dunne and David Sibley. He was the leader of the original Meadowlands Birding Festival while he was with NJ Audubon. 


Pete was a tremendous birder, naturalist, teacher… a wealth of information. Everyone liked him and he liked everyone. He’s done presentations for Bergen County Audubon that were amazing. He had so much to share. He’ll always be remembered by me for his greeting “Hello my friend”. The birding community is mourning his loss and will really miss this larger than life man. I believe so will the birds he loved. All the birds sing a bit softer and mournful today for Pete.

Chris Takacs, BCAS

Tribute to Pete Bacinski

As previously posted, longtime Meadowlands birder Pete Bacinski passed away last night. Pete was a Lyndhurst native well-known for his great work with the NJ Audubon Society. Chris Takacs of the Bergen County Audubon Society sent in the following:

Last night a pillar of the birding community died, Pete Bacinski. 
Pete was a local guy, raised in Lyndhurst. He went to Jefferson School, Lyndhurst HS and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He spent many years birding the Meadowlands as a teenager and older when it was all dumps.

He directed the Sandy Hook Bird Observatory for NJ Audubon, Owl Haven Nature Center and the All Things Birds Program. He led Eco-Tours across North America and had a weekly column on birding in the Star-Ledger for 14 years. He was part of the first World Series of Birding winning team with Roger Tory Peterson, Bill Boyle, Pete Dunne and David Sibley. He was the leader of the original Meadowlands Birding Festival while he was with NJ Audubon. 


Pete was a tremendous birder, naturalist, teacher… a wealth of information. Everyone liked him and he liked everyone. He’s done presentations for Bergen County Audubon that were amazing. He had so much to share. He’ll always be remembered by me for his greeting “Hello my friend”. The birding community is mourning his loss and will really miss this larger than life man. I believe so will the birds he loved. All the birds sing a bit softer and mournful today for Pete.

Chris Takacs, BCAS

Sad News

Sad news to report via Jim Wright’s Celery Farm and Beyond blog. Pete Bacinski, well-known for his work with NJ Audubon for more than  25 years and his incredible inaugural World Series of Birding count, passed away last night. Pete was a Lyndhurst native and long-time Meadowlands birder. Pete’s favorite bird, the Cedar Waxwing, is pictured above. Read more on the Celery Farm and Beyond blog 

The Gatherer

Check out this Tree Swallow gathering material for its nest and a host of other wonderful photos taken at DeKorte this week by Dave McClure. Thanks Dave!

Barn Swallows
Northern Shoveler
Common Grackles
Brown-headed Cowbird

Great Egret
Great Egret

Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: My Birding Apologies

A while back  a friend very excitingly sent a photo around of a Meadowlands bird that he later realized he misidentified. He felt very badly about his slipup and saw a need to apologize for it. I explained to him that there was really no need since every birder makes mistakes, only nowadays our blunders make it all over list serves, twitter, websites and Facebook just to name a few.

A wise old birder once told me that the only difference between an experienced birder and a beginner is that the expert has misidentified more birds. But my friend’s apology got me thinking. I often wonder what If I had to apologize for every bird I misidentified? What If I had to make amends for every warbler I spotted darting through the trees I was wrong about? Since I attended Catholic school growing up and got pretty use to making confessions over the years and I also retained my deep sense of guilt I thought I would just say my act of contrition now and say I am sorry for all my past, present and future birding bungles.

American Kestrel

Mourning Dove

First I should say I am sorry for all the Mourning Doves I thought were American Kestrels, in fact I probably will continue to make this mistake because I really enjoy watching Kestrels and I want to make every Dove into a Falcon. A few times I even wrongly ID’d a Kestrel as a Mourning dove. I have not decided if I need to apologize for that one.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Shrike

 I better say I am very sorry for making Northern Mockingbirds I would very much like to make into Northern Shrikes. I know Shrikes are a rarity, especially here in the Meadowlands. But If I keep thinking all the Mockingbirds are Shrikes sooner or later I am bound to be right. And now let’s see, I am not sure how many  Red-tailed hawks I thought were Rough-legged Hawks. I think Red-tails just impersonate them to throw me off, but I guess I am sorry for all those mess-ups too.

I also confess to thinking a floating bleach bottle was a Common Merganser; funny how they look the same, especially in winter. A few weeks ago I thought a stick with white paint stuck in the mud was a Black-crowned Night Heron, but when I looked in the scope it wasn’t to be, so I am sorry about that one too.

A while back we had a group misidentification. Someone looking though a spotting scope swore they had a Great Horned Owl. Two more of us expert birders looked and agreed. Yes!  A Great Horned. But a few hours later when the Owl didn’t move a feather and began to change colors we realized it was just a shadow made by the leaves in the tree. We looked in Sibley’s to see if there was a new species of Leaf Owl but no such luck, so I better say I apologize for that one also.

 I better just send out a blanket apology now for all the shorebirds in the past, present and future I have and will misidentify. They are pretty tough. I better add some of the fall warblers also and for good measure just add the spring ones to my list also. And I will save a lot of time later if I mention the Sparrows. I am sure I will mistake a Song for a Savannah somewhere along the line at the very least.

Birding above all else should be fun. If we can’t make mistakes then how can we learn? Why would they make field guides that only point out more of our mistakes if birders didn’t screw up on a regular basis?

Let’s go out into the fields and woods and enjoy ourselves. We can figure out our mistakes later, and by the way no need to apologize, I am Ok with it.

BCAS Walk at Losen Slote Creek Park on Tuesday (April 16)!


Don’t miss the next Bergen County Audubon Society Meadowlands walk, this coming Tuesday, April 16, from 10 am to noon at Losen Slote Creek Park and the Mehrhof Pond Wildlife Observation Area, both in Little Ferry.

Losen Slote is a rare remaining parcel of woodlands in the Meadowlands and the Observation Area offers great views of Mehrhof Pond. For more information contact Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.



Awesome Harrier Walk!

More than 60 people enjoyed a Bergen County Audubon Society walk through Harrier Meadow on a beautiful spring day yesterday and were treated to Ravens, Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and Yellow Legs, among other birds.

Don’t miss the next BCAS Meadowlands walk, on Tuesday, April 16 from 10 am to noon at Losen Slote Creek Park and the Mehrhof Pond Wildlife Observation Area, both in Little Ferry.

Losen Slote is a rare remaining parcel of woodlands in the Meadowlands and the Observation Area offers great views of Mehrhof Pond. For more information contact Don Torino at greatauk4@gmail.com or 201-230-4983.