A Few Cool Yard Sightings

Came across some cool mushrooms and  some recently dug up Canada Goose eggs in the yard the other day. (I call the dug-up eggs "the Little Big Horn effect.")

The new batch of Snapping Turtle eggs  reminded me of the young Snapping Turtles I see in the spring -- could the snappers lay the eggs in the fall, and they hatch in the spring?


River Story Night: Next Sunday

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Bergen SWAN's Hackensack River Story Night is this Sunday, and I am pleased to be a part of it..

The fund-raising event will feature live music, a dance recital, story telling, a walk to the river, native plants, refreshments, and a silent auction - all in celebration of the Hackensack River Watershed.

I'll be telling a short and true story about a forgotten but resilient creek in the Meadowlands. Other story tellers include George Carter, Oradell Borough Historian; Jean Epiphan, Rutgers U. Ecologist; Cynthia Forster, Bergen County Cultural & Historic Affairs; and Don Torino, Bergen County Audubon Society.

Poetry readers include Agnes Adler, author-artist-scupltor; David Epstein,  Land Conservancy of NJ; and Ken Hoffman, Emerson naturalist-historian.
Get your tickets now. More info is here.

Viewing Hawks from High Mountain

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Last year, a little tree work was done near the summit of High Mountain in an effort to restore the historic views to the east, which includes much of North Jersey, New York City, the GWB and the Verrazano.

One of the first things I saw a Peregrine fly across the opening that day.

Stiles Thomas, a lover of hawk watches, suggested that as a one-day experiment, I do a hawk count  from the summit, and thought that Sept. 16, traditionally the biggest flight of Broad-wings in these parts, would be the day to do it.

Long story short: Seven fellow birders and I gave the plan a try yesterday. The majority of us birded for over two hours, from 11 a.m. to a bit past 1 p.m. We got great views of young local Redtails, vultures and the panorama of land  and sky before us, but the raptor migration wasn't great -- 5 Sharpies, 6 Osprey, 6 Broad-wings, 6 migrating Red-tails, 2 Kestrels and two accipiters that were too high and far away to call.

Also saw many Eastern Tailed-blues, a couple of Monarchs, a Painted/American Lady, a Spicebush Swallowtail and a Black Swallowtail.

We touched base with three established hawk watches during that time, and they seemed to be doing better than us. (Great for them!)

Bottom line: as a hawk watch, High Mountain's summit is too hard to get to (45-minute hike  each way, with no restrooms anywhere nearby) for the numbers of raptors you'll likely see.

But for a great walk in the woods with some good birding and butterflies along the way, "Hawks on High," as I've dubbed it, was fun. We may try again next year.

(Below, a partial group shot, the new kiosk by the Red Trail at William Paterson U. in Wayne, and some of the birders scanning the skies for raptors.)





Cool Meadowlands Article

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The Record's Scott Fallon wrote a nifty front-page story today about the Meadowlands' environmental comeback in advance of the big birding festival there this weekend.

Someone should write a book about that recovery. Oh, that's right. I did. : -)

The story is here.

The festival is Saturday. Scroll down for a flier.

Hawk Migration -- Local Lookout Wind Info

JW Broadwinged hawk at stateline lookout
Tom Nicastri writes:

With migration in full swing, it is handy to know which way the wind is blowing.

This site provides detailed wind information and predictions.

Predictions are up to eight days in advance.

I have tried to find wind speed and direction for the areas of the three major local lookouts.

Wind speed and direction for Stateline Lookout area (Lamont-Doherty) is here.

Wind speed and direction for Montclair Lookout area is here.

Wind speed and direction for Mount Peter area is here.