Tag Archives: Meadowlands Commission

DeKorte Finery — with labels

Bleeding hearts
   This spring, when you visit DeKorte Park, you can enjoy the plantings even more.
   If you'Bleeding hearts signre not a flora fanatic, you may often see a plant or bud that you have trouble identifying. No more.
    The Meadowlands Commission has been busy creating signs to go with the plants, so in most cases you'll be able to stop guessing. Those beautiful flowers above, are Bleeding Hearts, as the nearby sign explains.
  The idea is to make the park as enjoyable — and educational — as we can.
   Click "Continue reading…"  to see more plants in their finery.

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Record article on Ravens and a new Osprey nest

OSPREY NEST Near Swing Bridge Tower 006-1
                                                                           NJMC photo by Angelo Urato
    As Environmental Jim O'Neill of The Record writes in today's editions, there appears to be a very good chance of a successful Osprey nest in Kearny this spring — the first in recent memory, and only the second along the lower Hackensack in decades. The other is in Jersey City near the PSE&G plant.

     The Record's story, which also goes into fascinating detail about the Common Ravens of Laurel Hill in Secaucus, is here.  It's an excellent read.

Scenes along the Hackensack — await you!

    We took this photo of Double-Crested Cormorants — and many more images — during one of our first Ecotourism pontoon boat trips of the season this week.
   Click here to view information on how to join us on one of our inexpensive two-hour tours of the Hackensack River, Mill Creek Marsh and the Saw Mill Creek Wildlife Management Area.
   Click "Continue reading …" to see more photos from this weekday cruise — including a Peregrine Falcon, two nifty bridges, an Osprey, Harmon Cove and a Great Egret.

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Robin Mom in DeKorte

Robin mom


One thing about American Robins — they don't seem to mind making their nests in the middle of things. 
   This robin built her nest atop a light fixture above the entrance to the Meadowlands Environment Center, and don't seem to mind all the visitors walking back and forth under their apartment.
   She and Pops have been feeding their young — we've seen at least two — like clockwork.

    More on America Robins here.

  The Meadowlands is looking more and more like an avian maternity ward. Stay tuned for some nifty news.

Heron-counting volunteers wanted!


Kate Ruskin of New Jersey Audubon writes:

    Citizen scientists are needed for heron surveys [and you can take a training session right here in the Meadowlands]!

     The New Jersey Audubon Society (NJAS) is recruiting volunteers for wading bird surveys coordinated through its Citizen Science program.

   The study, now in its second year, will run from May until October in the
Hackensack Meadowlands, Raritan Bay, and surrounding watersheds.  

     Volunteers  are asked to commit to two surveys per month over the course of the study period and one pre-season training workshop.

     Click "Continue reading" to learn more.

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DeKorte Park is in its spring finery

Kingsland overlook
   If you are looking  for a great place for a spring walk, look no farther than DeKorte Park, which isIMG_3263 just starting to burst with blooms.
  Above is the start of the Kingsland Overlook Trail just inside the main gate, including the forsythias.

    On the left is a close-up of crocuses one of the many gardens that are coming to life.

   (Almost forgot — there are plenty of great birds arrriving as well!)
   The trails at DeKorte are open from dawn to dusk. The observatory is open to the public from 8 to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

   Click "Continue reading …" for more photos.

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Tree Swallows Are Back — and Nest Boxes Are Going Up

IMG_3125  The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission has begun its annual nesting box program for tree swallows this week, and the beautiful iridescent-blue birds are grabbing up the boxes as soon as they are placed along the edge of wetlands.

   In some instances (see photo at right), Tree swallow box the birds have flown into the nesting boxes while the boxes were still on the boat.

     Tree swallows are a popular bird for many people, not just for their iridescent beauty and graceful speed, but also because they love to eat insects.  It has been estimated that a family of tree swallows can eat hundreds upon hundreds of midges, mosquitoes and other insects in a day. 

     With the help of local scout troops, families and other groups, the Meadowlands Commission has erected some 250 nesting boxes in marshes throughout the 30.4-square-mile district.

    Last year, Meadowlands Commission naturalists used GPS devices to help keep track of tree-swallow activity in all of the nesting boxes.

COMING SOON: Tree Swallow Video

   Click here to read Bergen Record Environmental Writer Jim O'Neill's nifty story today about the Tree Swallow Project.

   "Continue reading…" for more info and pics.


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The Coots of Kearny

    We did this very short (34-second) video for tonight’s talk at the Kearny Library. We made the video a week or two ago at the Gunnell Oval. The water segment was videoed at the nearby Kearny Marsh.
   We don’t see American Coots out of water too often, but there they were — walking around  by the ballfield, acting almost like chickens.
  These red-eyed little birds are often mistaken for ducks, but as you might see from the video, their feet are not webbed.
    If you scroll down the blog to this week’s Tuesday Teaser, you can see what a coot’s foot looks like and click on a link for more info about these odd birds.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 021809: Gethsemane Cemetery

     Gethsemane Little Ferry b     The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the topic is Gethsemane Cemetery in Little Ferry.

   Gethsemane Cemetery is located on an acre on a sandy hill just off Route 46 and Liberty Street.  The photo above is a view of the cemetery's entrance on Summit Place.

  Gethsemane Little Ferry a It was set aside in 1860 as a burial ground for African-American residents of nearby Hackensack. The last burial took place in 1924.

    The site was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 "because of the significant role it played in the enactment of New Jersey’s early civil rights legislation, as well as containing evidence of West African burial customs," according to the Bergen County  Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

    The county has been doing a major restoration of the cemetery, and it is currently closed to the public. Self-guided tours will be available when the work is completed.

    According to the agency, "Fewer than 50 gravestones remain, but the burials of more than  500 people have been documented. Gethsemane Little Ferry d

    "They include Elizabeth Sutliff Dulfer who was born a slave  in  the late 1700s, freed in 1822, and died in 1880. She was one of the area's wealthiest businesswomen and landholders. [Dulfer owned clay beds that supplied clay to potteries from Philadelphia to Boston. Her clay company along the Hackensack River was said to be the second-largest in the nation.]

   "Two Civil War veterans, Peter Billings and Silas M. Carpenter, were also buried here."

     More on the cemetery here.

    Click "Continue reading …" to learn more about the cemetery's role in early civil-rights legislation.

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  The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the focus is on the Underground Railroad in Jersey City.  Mapnj

      Runaway slaves from the South took were several routes through New Jersey before and during the Civil War, but those escape routes all had one thing in common: They converged at Jersey City.

  By one estimate, as many as 70,000 runaway slaves escaped through Jersey City.

    If you click on the map on the right (from the state of New Jersey's Web site), you can see the major New Jersey stops on the Underground Railroad.

   More on Jersey City's role in the Underground Railroad here.

    More about New Jersey's role here.

   For a glimpse of slavery in late 18th Century Bergen County, click here.

   And in honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday tomorrow, here is a link to information on the Emancipation Proclamation.