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October 2021

My Talk about The Clove Is On YouTube

If you missed my recent Fyke Nature Association talk about the Clove at High Mountain, you can catch it on YouTube here:

To visit the Clove, the best place to park is at the circle on Indian Trail Drive in Franklin Lakes.  (Type "595 Indian Trail Drive Walk" into Google Maps.)

Walk into the preserve about a third of a mile. At the T, make a left to go to Buttermilk Falls and to the right to the Clove. Wear shoes with ankle support and bring a walking stick, water and a cellphone in case you get lost.





More about 'The Beast'

The Beast Jwright
Kathy Clark of New Jersey's Threatened and Endangered Species Program (ENSP) contacted me after seeing my column on the celebrated female Peregrine whose name shall not be uttered (or so sayeth some):

You probably know this, but the photographs over the years were good enough to get a band number:  1807-67480.
She was banded at Cape May Raptor Banding Project's station in Sept. 2015, as a hatching-year bird (aka, hatched in spring 2015). 
It's great that she is banded and identifiable, but we don't know her exact origin. 
Most peregrines are banded as nestlings with known origin, and we can connect the later encounters with that origin. 
But this is still a great story of a trackable bird, and it is likely that she fledged from a nest in NJ or NY.
(Thanks, Kathy!)

Mystery Answered, With Recipe

On Monday I wrote:

Here's an easy one, at least the first half of the mystery.

Saw this along Franklin Turnpike near the Celery Farm. What is it?

What birds go crazy for it?

Why was it important back in the day?

Diane Louie answered correctly and  concisely:

"Pokeweed. Songbirds like Mockingbird, Catbird and Cardinal like the berries, but all parts of the mature plant are poisonous to humans. If carefully cooked, the plant can be eaten. The berries were used to make dye and ink." (Thanks, Diane!)

Incidentally, I had heard a couple of times that pokeweed ink was used for the Declaration on Independence.

Not so, says the Brooklyn Botanical Garden:

"Native to the East Coast, pokeweed is one of the few urban weedy plants that was not brought here from Europe or Asia. The name “poke” most likely comes from the Algonquian word pokan, meaning bloody.

"The dark magenta juice from the berries has proven to be an effective writing ink as well as fabric dye. Some sources claim that pokeweed ink was used to write for the Declaration of Independence, but according to the National Archives, it was actually written with iron gall ink."

A recipe for pokeweed ink is here:

Mysteries solved.