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February 2008

January 2008

Ace returns (w/short video)



   I was happy to see Ace back home when I checked the box Wednesday morning.
   But when he moved away, he revealed a little surprise. (Video is less than 15 seconds, with titles, but it's just good to see the little dude again. Clicking on images also gives a slightly larger view.)

   In the late afternoon, Ace was gone, and so was part of the meal.


   In the evening, the meal was gone completely, and Ace got his clean-plate-club ribbon. Ace did not come back today, but he is clearly in the area. He may just be protecting his turf nearby.


Meadowlands bird study


   I have a story in today's Record about bird populations in the Meadowlands, with a surprise or two.

    More than 60 percent of the state's endangered or threatened bird species are in the Meadowlands at some point during the year -- a reminder of how valuable these essentially urban wetlands are.

  Amazing area, to say the least. Saw more than 100 canvasbacks there yesterday, and a few typically skittish hooded mergansers -- plus two long-eared owls.

   The long-eared owls, alas, were unphotographable.

    The Meadowlands Commission commissioned the NJ Audubon study so that they have baseline data for marsh restoration. The idea is to restore marshes in a way that will increase bird diversity and populations.

Hg1 Hg2

Pesticides and gypsy moths


A bit of a controversy may be brewing over whether the state should use Dimilin, a pesticide that many environmentalists find dangerous, to combat the state's current gypsy moth infestation.
   Although several other states use Dimilin successfully, some people are concerned about unintended consequences.
   I did a story for The Record today that touches on the situation.  There are no plans to use Dimilin in our region.

Suspended in ice


   One of the neat things about the ice on Lake Appert is that you can see objects suspended in the ice -- a fish or two, a leaf.

   For some reason, as you look at these fragments of the natural world suspended in the ice, you feel they are suspended in time as well, like insects in amber.

   The orange shapes deeper down are, no doubt, those legendary carp that appear every so often in the bill of a heron or the talons of an osprey.



Great blue on ice (w/Youtube video)


   I shot this on Sunday, when dozens of skaters were on Lake Appert at the Celery Farm.
   The great blue heron was in a small part  of the lake  that is roped off but not far from the point, where he can be seen in the early morning some days.
  The great blue seemed oblivious to all the noise around him, and didn't seem too concerned about people.
   Fortunately, no one seemed to bother him.
   You can hear hockey players slapping a puck around in the background.
   I just love the way he walks on the ice.
   I should be as graceful on my skates.