MinkFest 2019 @ the CF!

IMG_9536 (1)So I'm walking down the east path along the Allendale Brook, and there's a photographer with a portable Hubble for a lens just ahead, texting on her cellphone. 

As I pass her, I cannot believe my eyes. A mink is scampering toward us. I move out of the way, and the photographer drops her cellphone so she can take a photo.

The mink hops into the brook, swims to the other side and then hops along the bank in full view. I am certain the photographer got some great shots, and I am happy though I wish I had brought my camera.

I have never gotten so good a look at a mink because they usually are headed in the opposite direction. I never noticed how much shorter their front legs are.

I keep walking and return home 45 minutes later. No mink.

I decide to walk to the Warden's Watch.  Coming down the path near my house  is the mink again. It gives me a wide berth and continues to frolic. I wish I brought my camera.

I return from the Warden's Watch and there by my bridge is the mink.

I go inside, get my camera, and take the photo above through my window.

All I can think of is that this is a young mink, oblivious to humans.

There have been a lot of mink sightings at the CF of late, so keep your eyes peeled.



My Column: Readers on Why They Love Birds

Bluejay at my window 050108 eye2 (1)Last month, at the onset of spring, I wrote about the joys of watching birds and gave several reasons why I’ve found the pastime so rewarding.

 At the column’s end, I asked readers why they love birds. I have been getting replies ever since. With spring migration really picking up, now is a perfect time to share some of their responses.

Even better. the column features four photos by Barbara Dilger, including the one above.  (Thanks, Barbara!)

The link is here.

Birding with Stiles Thomas

Made a quick trip up to see Stiles and Lillian Thomas in Newburyport, Mass., and was lucky to go birding with Stiles at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on nearby Plum Island.

Among the highlights (besides being with Stiles) were Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Pied-billed Grebe and Hermit Thrush. We had 37 species on Monday morning.

(Not sure Stiles wanted to have his photo taken, but he was wearing a State Line Hawk Watch cap, so I couldn't resist.

He said to be sure to say hi to everybody.


'Star Wars'-themed Stepping Up for the CF

Since this year's annual Stepping Up fund-raiser at the Celery Farm falls of May 4, we thought we'd add some "Star Wars" excitement for this May the Fourth (Be With You) event.

Anyone who sees a Millennium Falcon or Porg (above), for example, wins a prize. (A big thank you to Carol Flanagan for crocheting the Porg!)

To  sign up for a time slot or to register your team, contact the incomparable Gaby Schmitt at: gaby413@aol.com.
To make a donation or to pledge a per-species amount, please see the pledge form on page 8 of the Summer Newsletter (available for your reading pleasure at: fykenature.org)
Many of you know that Stepping Up is The Celery Farm's Big Day, as well as our fund-raiser that will support the Celery Farm Pollinators this year.
As a special bonus, this year's date will coincide with Global Big Day, https://ebird.org/news/global-big-day-4-may-2019. And the aforementioned Star Wars Day, "May The Fourth Be With You!", https://www.starwars.com/may-the-4th.

Continue reading "'Star Wars'-themed Stepping Up for the CF" »

Remembering Pete Bacinski

Cheeseman cedar waxwing-001I just heard that Pete Bacinski, legendary birder and all-around good guy, died last night of a cardiac event.

He'll probably be best remembered as one of the all-stars in the first World Series of Birding and for all the other work he did for NJ Audubon, but I'll always think of him as the soft-spoken, easy-going guy who made friends easily and just happened to be an incredible expert on birds and other aspects of nature.

Pete, who was Fyke's guest speaker in September 2017, was born and raised in the Meadowlands and returned when he could.

"I grew up in Lyndhurst," he once wrote,  "and cut my teeth on birds and natural history in the New Jersey Meadowlands."

The last I saw of him was at Brig last June --  birding, as usual.

Pete, who always looked a tad disheveled, wanted to start a campaign to name the Cedar Waxwing "America's most beautiful bird." 

He wrote: "Never a feather out of place. The quintessence of avian sartorial splendor."

That was Pete --  always thinking of birds. A great guy.


Nipsy the Goose Is on Point

IMG_1848Just a word of caution for folks venturing the end of the Warden's Watch: Last I checked, a Canada Goose was incubating at least one egg.

When I blithely walked there to check Lake Appert, I got a big-league hiss. Last spring when I similarly paid no attention, she bit me in the knee. Hence the nickname "Nipsy."

Still bitter, or just mad at myself? You decide.