Pair of Pro Dog-walkers Invade the Preserve

IMG_4512Although huge signs clearly state that no pets are allowed in the Celery Farm, Patty and I happened upon two professional dog walkers with 10 dogs heading into the preserve yesterday. At least one of the dogs was off a leash.

The walkers played dumb until I said I would call the police.  Then they left, in two cars with NY plates.

Two decades ago, Stiles Thomas led the fight to get pets banned from the preserve. The dogs flushed birds and disrupted nesting ground birds, and dog poop and discarded bags of dog poop were everywhere -- some tossed into the multiflora rosebushes. Volunteers had to clean up.

If you see these guys in the Celery Farm, call the Allendale police. No nature preserves in N.J. allow pets...



Team Tackles Lake Appert Improvements!

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A big thank you to Kevin Watson, Neil MacLennan, Ken Wiegand and Patty Finn for tackling some much-needed repairs and other challenges on Lake Appert.

The first trio cleaned out all the Wood Duck boxes, put in new wood chips and repaired or replaced three Wood Duck boxes damaged by people on the ice this winter. One box was broken, with empty plastic bottles inside. Our handy trio replaced one box and cobbled together fixes for the others.

(Click images below to enlarge. The bottom two are a "before and after" of the stick pile. (In the first picture, it's a stick, singular.)

Patty and I rejuvenated the stick pile by the Warden's Watch, where birds and turtles warm themselves in summer.

The day had started with single-digit temperatures but warmed up nicely for the work session. Thank you, sunshine!

And a big thank you, Kevin, Neil, Ken and Patty!






Fyke's Next Free Zoom Talk--Friday!

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Those who attended Ed Kanze's program at the Fyke Nature Association's October 2019 meeting thoroughly enjoyed his presentation.
We're pleased that this noted naturalist, author, and lecturer will again be presenting to Fyke on Friday, January 28, at 8 pm.
This time he'll be doing so on Zoom from his Adirondack home in Bloomingdale, N.Y. Be sure to join and virtually meet the local frogs and salamanders.
We ask that you register in advance by clicking the link below, you will receive an email with your own link to join the meeting:
As always, Fyke programs are free and open to all.

Another Dead Allendale Raptor

Sorry to say that Allendale resident Kevin Henry found a dead accipiter by the Acme Shopping Center at the corner of DeMercurio Drive and Orchard Street yesterday.

I will spare you the photos.

There was no visible sign of trauma, so Deputy Marsh Warden Gaby Schmitt is taking it to The Raptor Trust in Millington, where it will be sent for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

A big thank you to Kevin for telling me, and another thank you to Gaby and The Raptor Trust.

Please: If you find an injured or dead raptor or raven, please let me know and I will try to help.

Thank you.




Dumped Road Salt Removed from Parking Lot

A big thank you to Borough Administrator Ron Kistner and the Allendale DPW for removing those five large recycling bins of rock salt that had been inadvertently dumped in the Celery Farm parking lot on the afternoon before Christmas -- likely by a county salt-spreading truck.

Ace birder Julie McCall and I shoveled the salt into the bins before it got washed into the Allendale Brook.

An article in The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month explains why salt is so bad for local waterways and Lake Appert.

You can read it here:

Thanks, DPW!





Phrags Cut in Front of Pirie Platform

Last week, Gaby Schmitt, Kevin Watson and I used cordless hedge trimmers to cut the Phragmites  in front of the Pirie-Mayhood Tower at the Celery Far,

The invasive reeds had grown so tall that they impeded the view of much of Lake Appert. (Before and after shots above.)

It's a never-ending war against invasives, with many battles on other fronts awaiting.

Monday Mystery Answered

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On Monday I posted:

As you may know, I am a big Screech Owl fan, and I'm aware that what many Europeans call screech owls are usually another species altogether.

The etching above is Albrecht Durer's "Screech Owl," done in the early 16th Century.

Any idea what owl it actually is?

A couple of folks answered correctly. Yes, it is a Tawny Owl.

Diane L. wrote: "Favor Tawny Owl over Ural. They are related and both have dark eyes, but Tawny is more frequent than Ural in Germany (Durer was from Nuremberg)."

Dorcas M, wrote: "That surely was a Tawny Owl Durer so wonderfully painted."

More on Tawny Owls here:

Thanks, Diane and Dorcas!