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April 2008

ENVIRONMENT: Repairing the land

I have not been able to walk around the Celery Farm, watch Mrs. Ace and her five screech-owl eggs, or work on the blog as much as I would like because of stories I have been doing for The Record.
  Today, The Record has my story on the state's plans to clean up thousands of polluted properties.
   Yesterday, I had a story about concerns over pharmaceutical chemicals in our drinking water.
   But before you get too bummed out, I have a story that could run on the environmental page on Friday about how honeybees in North Jersey are doing much better this year.
   Colony collapse disorder still seems to be a problem in other parts of the country, but honeybees around here have their old buzz back.

RED FOXES: I think I goofed


Over the weekend, I staked out a red fox den a couple of times in hopes of seeing five young foxes. I kept what I thought was a decent distance, and  managed to get a short video and a few images of two or three of the youngsters -- both times I saw them was when I arrived, and that was it.
   When the marsh warden returned from Florida, I told him what had happened. He said that people should not hang out by the fox den, as foxes are easily stressed.
   I checked with a DEP contact this evening, and she concurred, and added that it was important that young foxes not get habituated to humans.
   I also checked with a naturalist friend, who also concurred -- and said that red foxes will secretly move their young if they are threatened.
   Bottom line: I hope I did not mess up the foxes. I was guilty of assuming that what I was doing was OK, instead of researching it first.  My apologies.
   I did a video of what I saw, but now it isn't nearly as enjoyable. I may post it someday, with a cautionary note, but not in the near future.

UPDATE: Glossy ibis


The glossy ibis was seen from the Warden's Watch by Fred Weber, whose year list for the Celery Farm is already more than 90 birds.
   The bird was seen in bright sunlight on the left-hand side in the back.
   A spotting scope is essential for a good look.
   For Jerry Barrack's great photo of the ibis, click here.

CAM: Quacker Tracker (w/video)



Last fall, I had a contest to name a videocam that I had installed in a wood-duck box.
  Over the winter, a squirrel ate through the wire, and I replaced the cam just as the female owl moved in to the nesting box next door.
  Just before then, a female wood duck looked into the wood-duck box a few times but did not move in.
  I did a little video (above) the other night just to show you the image quality of the Quacker Tracker.
  Here's what happened last spring, and why we needed a camera in the box. 
  Click "Continue reading" for more.

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