Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2022’

Stormy Spring Impacts Osprey Productivity

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest with hatchlings on May 16, 2022. One of many nests that eventually failed to produce young this year.

Whenever we look at how ospreys are faring, weather is always taken into account. When we summarize and report on the results of our summer osprey nesting surveys, we also look at the local climate. Being situated along the Atlantic coast, our weather is influenced by the ocean. As aerial predators of fish, ospreys are reliant on favorable water conditions to forage.

Preliminary results of the 2022 New Jersey Osprey Project Census show that the osprey population was not as productive this year as they have been over the past ~20 years. This was largely due to a low pressure system (nor’easter) that stalled off the coast in early May — when the majority of pairs were incubating eggs. The strong onshore winds caused moderate coastal flooding, windy conditions, increased wave action and water turbidity, which made it more difficult for ospreys to find and catch prey in coastal waters. Males do 100% of the foraging from the onset of egg laying until young begin to fledge, so when they are unable to provide food, females must abandon their nests and eggs to forage for themselves. The nor’easter in May appears to have affected the outcome of many coastal nests and in some cases, complete colonies. Of course there are many other causes for nest failure but this year weather played a major role.

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Photo from the Field: Another Successful Year for Great Bay Terrapin Garden

Tuesday, September 27th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A northern diamondback terrapin hatchling in saltmarsh habitat.
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Photo from the Field: Failed

Monday, June 27th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An empty osprey nest on a sandbar located on Barnegat Bay.

In the coming weeks CWF staff, NJDEP Biologists, and a handful of dedicated volunteers will descend onto the coastal saltmarshes of New Jersey to conduct a census of nesting ospreys. The last census was conducted in 2017 when 668 nesting pairs was recorded. They will survey remote areas of back bays by boat. Nests are surveyed in a variety of methods, with ladders being the traditional method, which allow for closer inspection of nests and banding of young for future tracking. Other nests are surveyed from a distance using optics or cameras with telephoto lenses, a mirror, smartphone or GoPro on an extension pole and a sUAS (when operated by a FAA licensed unmanned pilot). The goal is to recorded the total number of nesting pairs throughout the State.

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Photos from the Field: Giving LBIF’s Terrapins a Boost!

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Over the past several years, I have worked with LBIF to help guide their efforts to provide habitat for wildlife on their property in Loveladies. We have always wanted to establish another, larger “turtle garden” for nesting female N. diamondback terrapins, since they are a common visitor during summer months. This spring we received a small grant from the Garden Club of Long Beach Island to establish a new turtle garden at LBIF. Late last month we ordered 15 tons of mason sand from a local supplier, which provides excellent nesting habitat, with small grain size and little organic matter. Myself and Jeff Ruemeli, who is the new Director of Sciences at LBIF, worked to install coir logs to hold the sand before spreading it out by hand. I followed up with planting around 30 seaside goldenrod plants at the site to help stabilize sand and provide foraging habitat for pollinators.

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Three healthy peregrine falcon eyases in Elizabeth!

Saturday, May 7th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Another season of growth and new life is here! As many species are beginning their annual life cycle to reproduce, some peregrine falcon pairs already have young. The eyases (young falcons) at the Union County Falcon Cam are a prime example. They are now a little over a week old and have been examined and treated for a pigeon borne disease, called trichomoniasis, which adult falcons can transfer to their young. If young falcons would get trich., then they could perish. Kathy Clark, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist, UC staff and colleague Cathy Malok, w/ The Raptor Trust visited the site to ensure the survival of this brood.

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