NOLA Trip: The Insectarium

New Orleans is a great place, but I don't think of it as a family-oriented town. That's why it was great to visit National Audubon's Insectarium on the edge of the Garden District.

The place offers a great overview of the insect world, with lots of live examples, including a captivating butterfly room.

They even offer free food -- insect delicacies like mealworm cookies and seasoned crickets.

One bite and you'll be itching for more.



Bear(s) Pull Down Feeders in Allendale

Two friends on the north end of town had feeders pulled down recently -- one on Saturday night and another on Sunday night.

The one on Sunday night must have been carrying a tape measure, just to show how big he was.  (A big thank you to Ken Wiegand for the photo above!)

I understand that local police have since issued alerts.

In December 2017, I wrote a column about bears and feeders. Here's the beginning.

If you think that you needn’t worry about bears at your bird feeders — or in your backyard — because it’s December, think again. 

As Allendale residents (including me) have been reminded in recent days, these large mammals love to dine at bird feeders.

And they are willing to bend an iron-pipe feeder pole or mangle the feeder to get to their meal.

The full column is here.

For more information on what to do if you see a bear in your yard, go here:

A brief  Allendale bear video is below. 

A (Snowy) Walk Around the CF

I was the first two-legged mammal to walk around the Celery Farm this morning after the snow.

The trails are getting slushy already, so best wear muck boots or Wellies.

I loved the contrast of autumn leaves and snow.

A selection of photos of Celery Farm landmarks this morning follows.



Keep an Eye Out for Winter Grosbeaks

P1170693(1) (1)No sooner did Judy Cinquina tell Fyke email list folks to keep a lookout for Evening Grosbeaks than Stephanie Seymour saw (and photographed) one of these unusual birds in her yard.

Not sure if the recent snow will have an effect on their whereabouts but worth looking.

Update: Stephanie saw the grosbeak again today.

(Thanks, Judy and Stephanie!)

Speaking of State Line Hawk Watch ...

JWright Stateline lookout
Just came across the first column I did about State Line Hawk Watch -- back in 2010, when it was starting up again for 10 weekends in the fall. Lots of neat info about the hawk watch's history:

By Jim Wright

     Here it is, not even Labor Day, and the raptor migration season is already upon us. The big news this season: For the first time in several years, the State Line Hawk Watch in Alpine – the only major hawk watch in Bergen County -- will be manned with hawk counters for the next 10 weekends.
   These volunteers from local nature centers and Audubon Societies. will not only keep a running tally of the various migrating birds of prey but also help casual bird-watchers to identify these magnificent raptors, who in some cases are migrating thousands of miles.

Continue reading "Speaking of State Line Hawk Watch ..." »

Fell House Updates


If you've driven by the historic Fell House of late, you may have noticed the beautiful American flags on the lawn.

They are part of a new project to honor veterans and loved ones several times each year -- this was a bit of trial run.

Will let you know how you can get involved once the project is officially launched. Will also be a fund-raiser for the Fell House. As you may know, the Celery Farm was once part of Founding Father John Fell's estate,  which was then in the boondocks and part of Paramus.

By the way: Antiques Appraisal at the Fell House for tonight (Nov. 17) has been postponed. No new date has been set.

My Column: Amazing Autumn at State Line

Soehnlein 2016-09-18 (1) Bald Eagle SLL(1)My  new column for The Record is about the record-setting raptor counts at State Line Lookout, featuring photos by Karl Soehnlein and an interview with him.

Here's the opening:

Every autumn, I write about the joys of visiting our local hawk watches. For me, the quantity of raptors is secondary to the camaraderie, the great looks at individual raptors, and the sights of the season.

But this fall, the totals from the region’s top hawk watch in Alpine were so noteworthy I thought I’d pass them along.

State Line’s annual fall raptor count officially ended yesterday, but by the end of October the 16 volunteer counters and other observers had already tallied new records for five species: 954 Ospreys, 339 Bald Eagles, 506 Cooper’s Hawks, 680 American Kestrels and 121 Merlins.

The link is here.
Soehnlein 2016-10-21 (1) Merlin SLL