Another Day, Another Baby Turtle

_MG_5376I found this young (native) Painted Turtle in my driveway yesterday afternoon after nearly stepping on him.

Celery Farm Marsh Warden Mike Limatola carried the youngster to the stream/ditch behind my house and set the little guy free.

Again, a coin magically appeared next to the turtle. I'm just guessing, but I'd say this young turtle was roughly the size of a quarter, give or take a penny.

I did not realize he had a pocket big enough. _MG_5388


A Legendary Birder from Teaneck

My latest column is about Frank Gill, an ornithologist who has achieved some amazing accomplishments over his incredible career.

Gill, who is speaking at Bergen County Audubon Society's 75th anniversary dinner tonight, is originally from Teaneck, and he turnds 75 this year as well. THe BCAS is one of the reasons he became a birder.

A link to the column is here.

The photo above is a recent photo of Frank. The one below is one of a young Frank at the Greenbrook Sanctuary more than 60 years ago.

Frank Bennington Gill 073


Friday's Fyke Talk

September 23, 2016 - 8 PM Allendale Borough Hall, 500 W. Crescent Ave., Allendale

Donald "Doc" Bayne: Reading the Woods

What is living in the woods? How do you know what is there or what is not there? You just need to know what to look for! Come and learn the tell-tale signs of the forest so that next time you hike, you will know what lurks in the woods you are walking in.

Calendars will be on sale. The talk is free. The public is welcome.

Monday Morning Mystery Answered -- Sort of

On Monday, I asked what kind of feather this is.

I had found the tiny feather on a walk around the Celery Farm last week, amid reports of Black-and-white Warbler sightings. I immediately thought: Black-and-white Warbler.

Upon further review, and consulting some on-line feather guides, I concluded that it belonged to a Downy Woodpecker or possibly a Hairy Woodpecker.

Can't say for sure, but I have decided to go with Downy Woodpecker because, all things being equal, there are a lot more Downys around than Hairys.

Congrats to Ginny Chukka for agreeing with me, and to Barbara Dilger and Marianne Herrmann for taking the road less traveled.


World's Fast-growing Snapping Turtle at CF

Just finished two loops around the Celery Farm, on the lookout for marauding Snapping Turtles.

Lo and behold, I saw a tiny guy between No-Name Culvert and Kickypoo Corner on my first loop. I noticed a quarter next to him, which gave me a good sense of his  size.

On the next lap, there was the Snapping Turtle again, headed in the same direction, except that he had grown enormously and traveled more than a quarter-mile.

That is the same quarter, as you can see, which leads me to conclude  that it must be the same turtle. 

(If anyone has a better theory, please let me know.)

P.S. I left the turtle off with a warning both times -- keep your darned quarter to yourself.

That's just how I roll.


Franklin Clove Walk Is Wait-listed

JW TNC High Mountain Clove-IMG_1719-001Due to popular demand, October 29's Franklin Clove Walk has filled up quickly.  I am now starting a waiting list in case any participants cancel.

Here's the info:

Saturday, Oct, 29, 10 a.m.  Franklin Clove Walk, Wayne/Franklin Lakes -- In memory of wonderful local historian Jim Longo, Fyke's Jim Wright is leading a free walk to High Mountain's historic Franklin Clove, a ravine where Lenape Native Americans wintered more than 300 years ago. Jim W. will talk a little about the history and geology of this amazing spot -- including nearby ancient rock shelters and Buttermilk Falls.  (You need to have excellent balance and sturdy hiking shoes to participate; the trail is rocky and footing can be difficult.)  Because of parking limitations, the walk is limited to 15 people, and RSVPs are required.  Carpooling will be a must. E-mail Jim W, at for more details and parking location. Raindate is Sunday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.

High Mountain: Stalking the Wild Turducken

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 8.02.43 AMHave you hiked to the summit of High Mountain in Wayne? If so, have you spotted any Wild Turduckens?

Photos would be greatly appreciated, since sightings have been scattered and unreliable. (Just email them to me in care of this blog.)

I just wrote a story about the strange birds for Autumn Years Magazine, and I will be speaking about them in my upcoming talks about High Mountain.

The link to my article is here. (Warning: includes a recipe.)

I will post a list of upcoming talks soon.

DeKorte Tagged-Monarch Update

Marie Longo of Bergen County Audubon Society writes:

We tagged that Monarch on August 26 at DeKorte.  We are surprised he is still in the area.  

Could be 2 reasons why, plenty of nectar sources and plenty of females to mate with!

You can read more in Don Torino's next column for the Meadowblog later this week -- will post a link when it is a available.

(Thanks, Marie!)

Reserve a Spot Now: Franklin Clove Walk

JW TNC High Mountain Clove-IMG_1719-001I am leading a free guided walk to historic Franklin Clove on Saturday, Oct. 29 for the Fyke Nature Association. (I am also doing a free talk about the clove and summit of High Mountain at the Fyke meeting on Friday night, Oct. 28.)IMG_0972

It's an amazing place, filled with great history and geology lessons. Prehistoric humans lived there in rock shelters thousands of years ago. The Lenape wintered here in the late 1600s.

And the clove itself is a narrow ravine made of basalt. We'll also visit a nearby waterfall.

Note: It is  a short walk -- well under two miles total -- but you will have to climb over a fallen tree trunk or two (see photo at right) and deal with some very rocky trails. Folks with balance issues may find it challenging.

Due to the nature if the walk (narrow trails) and a lack of parking, the walk is limited to the first 16 folks who register, and there are very few spots remaining. We may be able to fit more folks if we car pool. You must rsvp.

Details  on talk and walk follow.

Continue reading "Reserve a Spot Now: Franklin Clove Walk" »