YB Cuckoo at Warden's Watch

Thanks to Julie McCall, was able to get this shot of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (a nemesis bird, no less!) at the Warden's Watch.

It was in the farthest clump of tall foliage to the left of the platform... Pretty far away.  This was with a 500mm zoom.

Never heard it make a sound.

(Thanks, Julie.)



Aggressive Red-winged Blackbird Update

The aggressive Red-winged Blackbird protecting a nest in the field by Phairs Pond has calmed down, and I don't think he will harass anyone.

I took down the caution tape.

That said,  another male Red-winged Blackbird might scold you as you walk down the Green Way Path...

I've read that Red-winged Blackbirds will only strafe from behind you... In case it ever comes up on Jeopardy.

Local Red-shoulder Nest Sites Since 2002

RS nest late May 2021_MG_3354
I realized recently that it has been approximately two decades since endangered Red-shouldered Hawks have nested in Allendale and nearby Ramsey, typically not far from Franklin Turnpike. RS nest sites 200202021

I figured that a nest location map was in order to see if any patterns have developed. (They have).

The blue markers denote sites. The one the Celery Farm was for 2002, and the nest failed.

It should be noted that the cluster of nest sites to the north were all 2010 or earlier. Since then, the Red-shoulders have been nesting closer and closer to downtown Allendale.

I don't know why this is, but I doubt that it is a good thing because of increased traffic and pets and other dangers that the downtown presents to raptors..

In some instances, I have tried to reconstruct the locations from notes. I can't swear the map is 100 percent accurate, but I believe it paints a pretty good overall picture

You can also see the map here:

View this photo

I also suspect there may have been other nests in Allendale since then...

If you have hosted a nest in the past two decades, please contact me at celeryfarm@gmail.com.

If you find a dead, injured or ill raptor, please contact me as well.

A decade ago, several of us Red-shouldered Hawk lovers put together a free eBook about Allendale's Red-shoulders. You can download it here:

Download Survival-compressed1(1)

Where Are All the Skippers and...?

Is it just me, or are there far fewer skippers (except Silver-spotted Skippers) in the region this year?

Have seen next to none in the Celery Farm or during Sunday's Butterfly Day in the Meadowlands.

As for fritillaries, nada. Ditto Viceroys. The skipper above was by the house... A Dun Skipper perhaps?

Comprehensive Celery Farm and Mt. Peter Birds Lists

Old hour on the tower picAs part of the Fyke Nature Association website upgrade, Tom Mitchell has compiled an Hour on the Tower list of bird sightings from 2016 to 2021 with the help of Charlie West and Darlene Lembo.

Tom Mitchell has included Rib Fanning's Celery Farm sightings from 1998 to 2008 and information on the Mount Peter Hawk Watch via Judy Cinquina as well -- with a link to the Hawk Count website's Mount Peter sit info, no less.

You can read about the Hour on the Tower and see the lists here.

You can read a "Bird Watcher" column I wrote about the Hour on the Tower here.


(Photo above from two decades ago by Jerry Barrack, from In the Presence of Nature, one of the Celery Farm books that Jerry and I did.)

Trail Closed: Aggressive Red-winged Blackbird

Dennis strafingAfter getting two more reports from Celery Farm regulars that they were strafed by the male ReIMG_1925d-winged Blackbird likely defending his young-- and getting strafed again myself -- I closed off the milkweed field by Phairs Pond.

Please keep your distance. Should only be for a few more days.

Then Dennis the Menace Jr. will leave us be. (See next post.)

More about aggressive Red-winged Blackbirds here.

Michael Sterling's photo of Dennis Jr. is at the top of this post. (Thanks, Michael!)



Feisty Red-winged Blackbird @ Phairs Pond?

When I was looking for butterflies yesterday by Phairs Pond, I could swear I was strafed by a male Red-winged Blackbird, who then flew from tree to tree, giving me the what-for.

When I worked for the Meadowlands Commission, a Red-winged Blackbird did the same thing to passersby on the Marsh Discovery Trail one summer.

We dubbed him Dennis Menace after Dennis Cheeseman, who first photographed him. It was roughly the same time of year.

I think Dennis Jr. might be at the Celery Farm.

More on Dennis the Menace Sr, here.