Quiet Morning at Stateline

Saw the DDT trifecta of raptors at Stateline today -- Peregrine, Bald Eagle and Osprey -- plus Common Ravens and a Palm Warbler (below) and a Black-throated Blue. 

Great to be outside with a very nice bunch of people despite dishwater skies. 

Highlight was two resident Peregrines perched in their usual tree. Quit a size difference between male and female.



Sparrow-palooza Update

Went to Crestwood Lake this a.m. to see if I could find the Clay-colored Sparrow again.

Incredibly, the area was filled with parked cars, but no one else was looking for the unusual sparrow.

I'm just guessing, but I think the others gave up and went to the Halloween poster contest at the nearby pavilion.

No Vesper Sparrows or Clay-coloreds.  Just a medley of Songs.

Sparrow-palooza at Crestwood Lake

Went to Crestwood Lake in hopes of seeing Pipits, Wilson's Snipe and Vesper Sparrow.

Thanks to Judy Cinquina, I saw the Vesper Sparrow and the Snipe -- and a Clay-colored Sparrow.

The Vesper and Clay-colored were life birds for me.  Distant views, but Judy had a great spotting scope.

Attached here are photos of Clay-colored, one cropped and another uncropped, using a 400mm lens. The latter gives you an idea how tough these little guys are to see.

Plus a distant snipe shot. (Thanks, Judy!)



American Wigeons @ the CF

IMG_5091These ducks created a tiny stir at the Celery Farm yesterday at lunchtime.

They were very far out, and one of the birders thought two of them might be Eurasian Wigeon drakes.

I went and got my spotting scope and everyone agreed they were indeed American Wigeons. 

I also brought my 400mm lens. Distant pic above is greatly cropped.

And yes, the dude on the left is a Gadwall. Green-winged Teal and a Wood Duck or two were also on the lake.  Complete list follows.

Continue reading "American Wigeons @ the CF" »

New Old Sleigh for the Fell House!


Upper Saddle River's Hopper-Goetschius House just donated this amazing 19th-century sleigh -- just in time for some cool holiday photos for whoever would like to climb aboard. 

Me, I'd wait till there's some snow (no hurry!).

As you can see, the sleigh is on rollers so we can wheel it out of the barn for holiday events. That's Patty Finn at the helm.

Santa has signed up for Dec. 24-25. 

Thank you, Hopper-Goetschius House!

CF Favorite Birds Update

IMG_5571In case you were wondering:

Haven't seen the released pheasants in a whie.

Meaty McMeat Goose continues.

And so does that Black-crowned Night Heron (who didn't mind having his photo taken with an iPhone).

I hear the Red-shoulders almost daily.

Heard a Barred Owl three nights ago.

No word on the snipe.

Meadowlands Birding Festival

Sorry -- thought I had posted this yesterday.

Saturday's Meadowlands Birding Festival was a terrific and well-attended event. Pretty cool for a festival had been on hiatus for several years. IMG-5492

DeKorte Park was beautiful as ever (gotta love that Manhattan skyline in the background), though I couldn't be sure that the bird below was a young Little Blue Heron. Needed to bring a camera with a telephoto.

Other pictures follow, including speaker Don Smith with an archival aerial image of the Meadowlnds and Giselle Smisko  with an awesome Red-shouldered Hawk. Sorry for not getting a pic of my co-speaker, Ron Shields,  who did a great job as well.

The Record's coverage of the festival is here.

The event was sponsored by Bergen Cunty Audubon Society and the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority. A shout-out to both.


Monday Morning Mystery 100917

This is the strangest Monday Morning Mystery ever, because it involves a poem -- one that seemed to appear out of nowhere in the Fell House Barn just before the recent Barn Sale.  

The poem is called "Day of the Turtle," by "the Marsh Poet," and we don't know if it is a well-known poem, or a well-known poet, but we couldn't find it online.

It could have been written about the Celery Farm

I think it's terrific poem and I wish I could credit its author.  Can anyone help?


Day of the Turtle

Two simple words—snapping turtle—
yet when I see it digging backwards
into the dark humid earth, the massive
armored shell just above the ground,
the leathery head lifted into the air,
I know this is no ordinary beast,
but something ancient, hugely fertile:
a mother full of mysterious eggs.

I wonder: What is time,
that fragile rhythm, that heartbeat
in the center of stones?
What happens to the days as leaf
by leaf they fill the calendar?
And how does the past tense mesh
with the active verbs of the present?

The wild rose opens its petals
to the wind, the marsh reed
sings a papery hymn
and the vast network of roots
pumps green life into the trees.

Soon the turtle will return to the mud,
leaving her children unattended
to begin their long journey home.
Soon I will return to the earth,
leaving behind these ragged shells.
                             -- The Marsh Poet