Conserve Wildlife Blog

September 15th, 2017

Tracks in the Sand: A Piping Plover Love Affair

by: Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Piping plover tracks in the sand.

Anyone who has monitored or closely followed piping plovers knows these (pictured) tracks well. They have to. Most wildlife leaves behind distinct clues that reveal their presence, but if you are tracking the well camouflaged piping plover, the best, and sometimes only, clue you have are these ephemeral tracks in the sand.

Finding these tracks, especially the first ones of the breeding season in early spring, makes my heart stir, even after 20+ years of searching for piping plovers. They shout, “I’m here, now find me”. These particular tracks happen to be a late season find, sighted just this past week, special in a different way as they were unexpected and may be my last glimpse of them here in New Jersey this year as most piping plovers have now migrated south for the winter. I followed the tracks like I always do and soon enough I spotted three pale beauties resting absolutely still on a nearby sand hummock.

This blog doesn’t contain any earth-shattering conservation message. It is just about my own love affair with piping plovers. I am lucky to have found that magical something in nature that moves me. I hope each of you has your own version, whether it be a delicate monarch butterfly improbably fluttering thousands of miles in the wind towards its wintering grounds in Mexico or a powerful bison lumbering across a grasslands vista out west. One of the main reasons my colleagues and I are engaged in conservation work is so everyone has the opportunity to experience and be inspired by wildlife in its natural habitats.

Piping plovers will not provide a cure for cancer, they will not boost our economy, and they certainly will not be the key to uniting us politically. They will bring a smile to your face, they will evoke wonder, and they may just make your day. Sometimes that is enough.

September 2nd, 2017

Continuing To Track NJ Eagles

by: CWF biologist Larissa Smith

We keep track of all re-sightings we receive of NJ (green) banded eagles. This information is important as it lets us know where eagles raised in NJ go after leaving the nest and eventually where they end up nesting. In 2017 we have had NJ banded birds sighted in NJ as well as PA and VT.

On April 15, 2017 Mary Dunham photographed NJ banded D/18 near Lake Como in Belmar, NJ.  The female was banded in March 2011 at the Manasquan Reservoir, Monmouth County. She was with another smaller adult, assumed to be a male. While Mary  watched a third adult eagle came into the area and the pair chased it away. This is an indicator that D/18 was paired up and perhaps was nesting in the area.

D/18 @ Mary Dunham

In August we received a report that D/18 was sighted once again. This time she was up near the NY- Canada border. We don’t know much about the movements of nesting eagles so we can only speculate why she made such a big move north. Perhaps she went north with a recent fledgling or maybe she was kicked out of the pair by an intruder eagle and headed north?

D/40@ Reid Hoffer

In March we were contacted by Reid Hoffer who monitors an eagle nest along a reservoir in Rockland County NY.  He was able to get a photo of a green band, D/40, she was banded May 2011 at Newton Reservoir in Sussex County. Mr. Hoffer reports that unfortunately the pair did not produce any offspring this year.

D/40 & mate at nest in NY@Reid Hoffer

 

 

 

 

 

 


Telemetry

We are also currently tracking three NJ eagle with transmitters attached.  The New Jersey Bald Eagle Tracking project shows the movements of all three of these birds as well as their history.

Two of the transmittered birds  fledged from Merrill Creek Reservoir in Warren County, NJ. Harmony 2, has spent the last four years in a 100-mile swath of western Connecticut and Massachusetts. She fledged in 2012 making her a 5th year bird and breeding age. We suspect she’ll nest in the same area next season.  Haliae fledged in 2013 and has spent the past three years mostly around the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Perhaps she’ll stay in that area to nest? So two birds from the same nest, but one has settled to the north and one to the south.

Nacote, a male from the Galloway nest in Atlantic County, has stayed more “local” to his home area. He’s spent the last three seasons in Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties. He favors the CMC landfill and local sand pits where other eagles are known to roost and feed.

All this information helps us to locate roost and foraging areas and protect them.  It’s also fascinating to know where NJ eagles go after leaving their nest area, especially when they begin nesting. Why do some head north, others south and yet others stay near their “home” range? We don’t know, and that’s ok, it’s what makes them wild!


To learn more:

August 31st, 2017

Osprey 78/D: A Second Chance

“Chump” is rescued, rehabbed, and released

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Chump, what are you doing down there? Photo by Northside Jim.

On Sunday, August 30 I woke and checked my email early that morning. I had an urgent message from Deb Traster, who lives adjacent to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF). She said that something was not right with one of the young ospreys that fledged from a nearby nesting platform where I banded three nestlings with red bands on July 7. One was on the ground and could not take off. Fearing the worst (entanglement), she checked it out and sought help. After getting in touch with me, I reached out to my buddy, Northside Jim to see if he could get there that morning. Read the rest of this entry »

August 30th, 2017

Grassland birds of New Jersey

Part I: The Importance of Grassland Habitat

By Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

In this blog series, my goal is to examine the importance of grassland habitat in our state, introduce CWF’s new habitat restoration project, and highlight many of the species of grassland birds our project aims to benefit. So, first I’ll start off with a little background information about grasslands and why we need to preserve, restore and create more of this critical habitat. Read the rest of this entry »

August 29th, 2017

Helping wildlife at home

Create a wildflower meadow to attract butterflies, bees and birds

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Annual wildflowers provide a big “bang for your buck” in backyard habitats.

Providing habitat for wildlife in your own backyard can be a very rewarding experience for your entire family. My kids love to help prep the soil and broadcast seeds, while my wife loves cutting some flowers that are produced. Beneficial habitat can be as simple as choosing to plant native instead of non-native plants in your yard. If you want to go all out, then consider replacing part of your lawn with a wildflower meadow. Colorful wildflowers add aesthetic beauty to your yard while providing food for pollinators and songbirds. Read the rest of this entry »

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