The Fell House Garden -- Thank you!

IMG-8929 Big thank to Kathy Vorhis and the Allendale Garden Club for making the garden near the entranee to the Fell House grounds look so beautiful!

Founding Father John Fell is buried in the same cemetery in Coldenham, N.Y., as the first female botanist in America, Jane Colden, and he would no doubt be pleased how great the place looks these days with its beautiful garden, recent new roof and new coat of paint.

Nature Quote of the Day

I found the above quote in a foreword to a book I bought recently.

The book is "The Wissahickon," published by the Garden Club of Philadelphia.

It was written in 1922, and thanks to a mind-set that accompanied that quote, the Wissahickon remains a treasure today.

Protecting nature is a lot like brushing your teeth. It's not something to be done occasionally,  when the spirit moves. It requires constant vigilance.

Help ID This Pigeon at the CF

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Traci Woods writes:

I was at the Celery Farm on Friday around 2:30, and saw 3-4 blue-banded pigeons sitting in a tree across from the spillway.

Are these lost pigeons or pigeons that were released?  Was concerned whether or not they could survive in the wild.
I think these are likely racing pigeons. If anyone has a photo with the band numbers, we might be able to see where they're from.
Rock Pigeons are scarce at the Celery Farm. Not sure if it is countable on eBird, though.
According to an earlier post, racing pigeons have been seen at the CF on at least three other occasions over the years-- by Marsh Warden Stiles Thomas, Ace Birder Rob Fanning, and Seymour Drakes.

Typically, they stop at Lake Appert for water (and to get their bearings or catch their breath).

(Thanks, Traci!)

A Quick High Mountain Hike

Did a quick hike to the summit of High Mountain and Franklin Clove on Thursday.

Great views of Northern New Jersey with Manhattan in the distance, as always.

The Buttermilk Falls I visited by the Clove was flowing nicely, although the heavy rains have re-routed the stream beneath it and cut a new trough through the basalt fragments.


NJ Botanical Garden in Ringwood

Went to visit the terrific NJ Botanical Garden and nearby attractions with my friend Skeets this week.

Bergen County Audubon's butterfly garden looked great, and quite a few butterflies (especially Eastern Tiger Swallowtails) were flitting around.

To see what I think of as organized nature, the NJBG is a great place, and closer by than you might think.


My Birding Column: The Egg and I

JW turkey vulture
My birding column for The Record is a change of pace, since it involves something I found in my front yard, and why we birders (and human beings) tend to get things wrong, even when they are obvious.

   Here's the beginning:

  I am sharing the following true story to:

  A.) Embarrass myself

  B.) Offer an instructive tale.

  C.) Both of the above.

  D.) None of the above.

 The answer, as you’ll see, is “B,” though “A” certainly applies. Here goes.

 The story began early last month, when my wife and I saw turkey vultures and black vultures hanging out on a barn across the street from our home in Allendale.

   We thought that was great. Vultures -- nature’s garbage disposal system -- are cool and unusual. And they are so ugly (by most human standards) that they’re always fun to watch.

  What’s more, we suspected the vultures might be entering the barn up by the rafters, and we commented that it would be most excellent if a pair nested there.

   Fast forward two weeks. One afternoon, I looked in our front yard and found a giant egg-shaped object in the mulch. ...

A photo of the egg alongside a replica Bald Eagle eagle egg is below.

A link when is here. If you have another theory as to what kind of egg it is, let me know.


Kay Center III: Eastern Box Turtle

TNC KAY 080418 Eastern Box Turtle_MG_9516
After a nature photography event at The Nature Conservancy's Kay Center headquarters in Chester, NJ, on Saturday, I wandered the many trails along the edge of fields and through woods.

I was happily surprised to encounter an Eastern Box Turtle on one of the paths. If I see one of these a year, I consider myself lucky.  They are seen rarely at the Celery Farm.

I took a few photos and went on my way, a happy man ...

In New Jersey, they are a species of special concern.

More on Eastern Box Turtles, from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, here.


Last Call for 2019 Calendar Photos

C+2Carol Flanagan, who quarterbacks the wonderful Celery Farm calendar every year, writes:

Photos taken at the Celery Farm by Fyke members are being accepted now for the 2019 Celery Farm calendar.

There is a limit of 10 photos per person. The photos should be landscape format.  Non-cropped photos work best with the software used for the calendar.

Please send your photos as an e-mail attachment to carolflana AT aol DOT com by August 15.
Thank you in advance for your support of Fyke Nature Association!