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April 2019

May 2019

The 'Picnic Table Effect' at the CF

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For the past week or so, I've been a tad obsessed with getting a photo of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectaring at the flowering Red Buckeye tree in Green Way Meadow.IMG_9945

First I noticed the tree (hard to miss and beautiful to behold).  Then I noticed a male hummingbird perched on a snag tree about 10 yards away.

All I had to do was wait --  and wait and wait.

While I waited, I tried to keep my eyes on the tree, because the little hummingbird  was a fast worker. You'd think he'd hang out at the tree for long stretches, since it has so many blooms, but not so.

And since the hummingbird sometimes would not appear for 45  minutes at a pop, if he appeared at all, my eyes wandered.

That's where a one-man "Patagonia Picnic Table Effect" came in.

While I waited for the hummingbird, my eyes wandered.

And I started seeing all sorts of birds that I would have missed had I merely passed by._MG_0037

A House Wren entering a nearby nest box. A pair of amorous Tree Swallows.  Baltimore Orioles flying to and fro across the meadow. A perched Red-shoulder.

A friend started watching with me, and we ended up seeing an Indigo Bunting.

Sometimes it' s best to just hang in one place and watch.

You may not get the photo you wanted, but you may get a little surprise or two.

House Sparrow Advice Sorely Needed

Bully the English SparrowA reader writes:

I am a life-long bird lover (when I lived in a more "rural" part of Bergen County I used to buy bird seed by the 50 lb bag) and animal advocate.

I still remember years ago on new year's day when I looked out my dining room window; there were two evening grosbeaks on the small roof just outside. It is a wonderful memory.

However, I have a real dilemma, a problem that grows bigger with each passing year.

Continue reading "House Sparrow Advice Sorely Needed" »

John Fell Arrested!!

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Third-graders from Hillside got a front-row seat to the arrest of John Fell by those dastardly Loyalists this morning at the historic Fell House on Franklin Turnpike.

The students were terrific, as were Heard's Brigade.

The students also got a tour of the house, quite a few history lessons, and a Pledge of Allegiance with Allendale Mayor Ari Bernstein, who also arranged for the great weather.

A big thank you to Fell Housers Susanne Lovisolo, Patty Finn, Mike Limatola and Peg Haviland!


Free eBook!

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Here's more information about "The Best of The Bird Watcher," a collection of 50 of my favorite columns in The Record and Herald News over the past decade.

The e-book offers columns on memorable birds -- from American Woodcock to backyard beauties. It also features great places -- from the Meadowlands and Garret Mountain to Doodletown and Olana.

The Best of The Bird Watcher" includes the expertise of many of the great birders I've interviewed over the past 10 years. And it includes photos by some of my favorite local nature photographers.

It's available as a free online e-book, complete with page-turning software, a search function that doubles as an index), and a Table of Contents that takes you to a column with one click.

The Best of The Bird Watcher" also features a foreword by Bergen County Audubon President Don Torino and a design by graphic artist Mimi Sabatino.

You can view the entire e-book here.

And you can download a pdf to view on an iPad or other mobile device here: Download Best of the Bird Watcher Jim Wright

When you download it, just choose "Save PDF to Books" on iPads, for example.


Watch Out For Turtles on Franklin Tpke.

IMG_0065Now's the time that Snapping Turtles really get active -- they'll start digging up the yard, laying eggs, and crossing Franklin Turnpike more and more often between now and the end of May.

This guy was crossing the trail near the Limatola bench yesterday.

Saw me, turned around and headed in the other direction. I get that a lot.

For more info on what to do if you encounter a Snapping Turtle in the road, here's a post I did on the subject earlier in the year.