Bald Eagle at the Celery Farm as of 9:15 a.m.

DSCN9798After a walk around the Celery Farm, I noticed something white on the stick pile by the Warden's Watch. As I rounded the corner at the Spillway, I saw motion -- a huge white tail -- and knew what I just missed. An adult Bald Eagle.

I finally located the bird perched in the distance to the left of the Warden's Watch. (Hence the bad photo.) 

It was there when I left at 9:15 a.m.

My Latest Column: Birding in Cuba!

My latest column for The Record is about my trip to Cuba last month as part of a bird survey with the Caribbean Conservation Trust.

I did the basic eight-night trip, and saw more than 120 species, including such Cuban endemics as the Bee Hummingbird (the smallest bird in the world), Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.05.30 AMthe Cuban Pygmy Owl and the Cuban Tody (right).

That's the Bay of Pigs above -- spent two days in the nearby Zapata Swamp, the largest wetlands in the Caribbean.

A link to the column is here.

You can learn more about the Caribbean Conservation Trust here

Gary Markowski, founder and executive director of the CCT, has been leading conservation-related trips to Cuba for two decades.

You can read his thoughts on Fidel Castro's passing here.

A link to my free on-line Cuba ebook (with awesome page-turning software, complete with sound effects) is here.

Below, a Cuban Bare-legged Owl.


Now That's a Red-Tail Photo...

IMG_4864  11-26-16 WM
Bob Leafe writes:

Another juvenile red-tailed hawk has discovered my building. This one is overlooking Union St in Hackensack from my roof (and was first visible from my kitchen).

On Saturday,I had to sneak out onto the roof and hide behind something to get this shot from about 25-30 feet away.

(Thanks, Bob!)

A post featuring more of Bob Leafe's amazing Red-tail pix (and a link to a "Bird Watcher" column I wrote about Bob) is here.

Fell House Holiday Open House!

This Sunday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the historic John Fell House is hosting a free holiday open house featuring cider and treats for all, crafts for the kids and a surprise appearance by local legend Stiles Thomas.
Many of the rooms in the classic house will be decorated for the season.
At 2 p.m., Thomas, the Marsh Warden Emeritus of the Celery Farm, will read "The Night Before Christmas" aloud in his native tongue, English (which he prefers since that's the only language he's ever bothered to learn).
Ginny Jones will translate the poem into German for any guests from the Motherland, including Herr Santa Claus and possibly Herr Rudolph.
Other highlights and activities include: 
Story time with Allendale Mayor Liz White at noon.
Entertainment by Kids With A Voice at 12:30 p.m. DSCN9187
Santa will also appear in the afternoon to hear your holiday wishes and grievances.
The Fell House, home to founding father John Fell, is at 475 Franklin Turnpike in Allendale.
The Celery Farm was once part of Fell's colonial estate and known as Fell's Meadows.

The Madcap Advertisements of Stiles Thomas

Everyone knows Stiles Thomas as ace birder, hawk-watch founder and Celery Farm Marsh Warden Emeritus, but how many know he also had his own insurance agency (In the Flat-Iron Building in center city Allendale), which featured one of the most celebrated advertising campaign's in Allendale history (or so he says.)

Under the assumption that everyone likes a good laugh (or groan), I am showcasing the ads here. (Sometimes you have to read closely.)

The ad in which Stiles claims to be an "insurance and celery broker" is from 1981, the year that Stiles, Mayor Fitz Patrick  and their allies saved the Celery Farm.

Near the end are a couple of ads that reflect Stiles' concern for raptors.

The very last one  of the bunch is the very first ad, and Stiles played it straight....


Continue reading "The Madcap Advertisements of Stiles Thomas" »

A Late Autumn High Mountain Walk

Thought I'd do a different hike at High Mountain this morning -- going from Scioto Drive through Franklin Clove and along the Yellow Trail all the way to the JVC headquarters -- about a half-hour each way.

Highlights included a quiet Red Fox (seen only), a loud Common Raven(seen and heard), and my High Mountain nemesis bird, the Pileated Woodpecker (heard only).

I am doing some research on High Mountain hydrology, and always thrilled to come across a little mountain stream, as well one of the Buttermilk Falls with water flowing.

  • IMG_1757
  • IMG_1722
  • IMG_1745
  • IMG_1762