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April 2008

Yikes, garlic mustard!


   Garlic mustard is an invasive species that chokes out beneficial native plants and spreads faster than kennel cough.

   It has a life cycle of five years, so this is a battle that needs to be fought annually until it is under control.

   And now is the season to fight this year's battle.

   If you are birding at the Celery Farm, know what garlic mustard looks like  and are feeling just a bit industrious, you could help the refuge big-time by taking a big plastic bag with you, uprooting a bag's worth, tying it off and leaving it at the kiosk.

  I have learned that just pulling the weed out of the ground and leaving it on the trail without bagging makes matters worse, because the plant will often go to seed anyway, and walkers track the seed all over the refuge.

    At some Midwest nature refuges, they ask that you wipe your feet on a boot scraper before you enter to reduce the spread of this and other invasives.

   Better to safe than sorry.


BIRDS: Duckling Rescue (video)

      The marsh warden of the Celery Farm coaxed a mallard mom and her 11 tiny ducklings out of the courtyard in the Church of the Epiphany in Allendale, N.J., on Sunday morning before services began.
   This has become a common problem -- a mallard laying her eggs in the courtyard of a church or school, without an all-important exit strategy.
    The courtyard nesting makes sense, though.
   The babies are safe from predators, and there's invariably a good Samaritan to help them out.
   In this case, for a minute or two, the Church of the Epiphany became the Church of the Good Shepherd.
   Coincidentally, the marsh warden was born on December 25.

CELERY FARM: Swallow fest


Before the Celery Farm turns into Warbler Ville for the next few weeks, I'd just like to put in a good word for the tree swallows.

   They are back in full force, putting on great aerial displays and being kind enough to perch a few feet from the Warden's Watch.

   More info on them here.

  In case you hadn't guessed, my friend Jerry Barrack took the photo above. I took the typical tree swallow shot below.



CELERY FARM: Calling all warblers


The flowers are here.

The place is beautiful and brimming with energy.

The help have done their cleaning and pruning. 

  A few ear
ly arrivals have trickled in and are munching on the hors d'euveres.

  The hosts are starting to pace.

  Where are the guests of honor?

  When is this warbler party going to start?

  (My guess is next Monday, after we're back to work or back to school, but I seldom seem to get it right.)