Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge’

“For the Love of Wildlife” Photo Contest: First Place Winners

Monday, June 27th, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS, FRANCESCA BUCHALSKI AND BILL DALTON!

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Earlier in 2016, Conserve Wildlife Foundation launched the “For the Love of Wildlife” Photo Contest. Our photography contest was meant to showcase the love for and need to protect the endangered and threatened wildlife that call New Jersey home. We encouraged youth and adult photographers across the Garden State to submit photographs in the following categories:

  • New Jersey’s Rarest Residents: Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Wildlife Species Only
  • The Garden State: New Jersey Landscapes
  • Experiencing Nature: People Enjoying the Outdoors
  • Wild New Jersey: All Animals in the Garden State

We were blown away by the amount of submissions we received! Over 1,470 entries were counted! New Jersey wildlife photographers, CWF board members and staff poured over the entries to choose our winners. Today, we are thrilled to announce both first place winners.


First Place: Francesca Buchalski
Allentown, New Jersey
Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis on Lens

Praying Mantis on Lens, youth first place winner Francesca Buchalski

Francesca was so happy to have won our contest! She shared more about the image and her passion for photography with CWF: “I took that photo at the Cape May Meadow during last year’s fall hawk migration festival. My mom and I are avid birders, and we love going to the migrations in Cape May! We were bringing up the rear on a guided walk, and just as we started walking down the path through the reeds, I heard ‘Wows!’ and ‘Cools!’ up ahead. As we caught up, we saw that everyone was looking at a praying mantis perched on a man’s telephoto lens! I had my camera with me to photograph birds, but that was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed! I thought it was pretty interesting and ironic that the man couldn’t photograph the praying mantis, even though it was on his camera (he couldn’t stop laughing), and it posed there for a long time. It was a great way to start the walk!

 

“I’ve only been photographing wildlife for about 3 years, just for fun. I started off by taking pictures of the birds that came to our feeders, and now I bring my camera on all of my birding adventures. As for my favorite New Jersey species…that’s a tough one! I think I would have to go with the osprey; they’re so charismatic in their coloring, hunting habits, and cool ‘opposable’ talon. I also really enjoy how easy it is to observe them by boat; whenever I think about the wetlands or the back bays of New Jersey, I automatically think ‘osprey.’ They also have such a great comeback story, its almost impossible not to love them!

 

“A close second would be the horseshoe crab; I find it simply incredible that they have remained unchanged for millions of years, and that so many migrating shorebirds depend on them. And who can forget their incredible immune system and blue blood! I also love how you can learn about and help horseshoe crabs by participating in hands on counting, tagging, and flipping walks (my mom and I have done some of those, and they’re such great experiences!)

 

“New Jersey has such an amazing array of wildlife, and sadly, so many people miss it amid all of the big cities; big thanks to everyone at Conserve Wildlife [Foundation] for helping to promote New Jersey’s wildlife and keep them around for years to come!”


First Place: Bill Dalton
Interlaken, New Jersey
Black Skimmer

Sky Skimmer Bill Dalton

Sky Skimmer, adult first place winner Bill Dalton

Bill was so pleased to have won our contest. He said he is “truly honored to have [his] ‘Sky Skimmer’ photo selected as the grand prize winner from such a prestigious organization.”

 

Bill explained to CWF, “I once read that a photographer’s definition of luck is: Preparedness over opportunity = LUCK! That was certainly the case when I photographed the skimmers at Forsythe on a early spring morning. On a previous visit, I saw a mature peregrine falcon perched at sunrise not far from the observation tower. I returned a day or two later with the proper equipment for low light, high speed photography, with hopes to get early light shots of the peregrine. The falcon was there but I noticed 6 to 10 black skimmers feeding about 50 yards from my location. The light from the predawn sky and clouds reflected perfectly on the windless water’s surface. I took about 50 shots but one shot caught the skimmer in exactly the right position. The line between sky and water vanished! The camera should get all the credit, I just pushed a button! I’ve been a nature photographer (hobby) for decades. My first camera back in the 70’s was a Minolta SRT 101. Boy has photography come a long way since the days of only film!

 

“I love to kid people by telling them I’m an endangered species. By that, I mean, I was born and raised in Monmouth County. One of the most important goals in [CWF]’s mission statement is, ‘educating everyone who lives in New Jersey about our shared wild heritage and our shared responsibility to protect it.’ We’ve come a long way in accomplishing those goals but so much more has to be done.

 

“I must admit being a born and raised Jersey Shore boy that my favorite species is the osprey. I vividly remember back in the 1950’s asking my dad while driving down a shore road in Monmouth County, why the power company men were knocking down bird’s nests that were atop of the poles! Those nests were ospreys and the nests on the poles were considered a nuisance! Years later I am proud to have been partly responsible for one of the first osprey nesting programs in Monmouth County. I convinced the company I worked for to enter into an agreement with the NJDEP to relocate a nest from the Keansburg pier to our location in Union Beach. At that time ospreys were on the threatened and endangered species list.

 

“The transfer of the nest was successful and at that time (1987) it was the most northern osprey nest in Monmouth County. Now I see nests in dozens of locations throughout the county! The osprey is truly an example (along with many other species) on how educating the public about our wildlife heritage worked!

 

“My work has been wildly published over the years including leading magazines, books and educational publications. National Geographic has published my work several times, most recently in their book, ‘Sublime Nature: Photographs That Awe and Inspire.’ Once again, thanks to the judges and staff of the Foundation for this wonderful award.”


Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

“For the Love of Wildlife” Photo Contest: Second Place Winners

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS, KAYLEIGH YOUNG AND HOWIE WILLIAMS!

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Earlier in 2016, Conserve Wildlife Foundation launched the “For the Love of Wildlife” Photo Contest. Our photography contest was meant to showcase the love for and need to protect the endangered and threatened wildlife that call New Jersey home. We encouraged youth and adult photographers across the Garden State to submit photographs in the following categories:

  • New Jersey’s Rarest Residents: Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Wildlife Species Only
  • The Garden State: New Jersey Landscapes
  • Experiencing Nature: People Enjoying the Outdoors
  • Wild New Jersey: All Animals in the Garden State

We were blown away by the amount of submissions we received! Over 1,470 entries were counted! New Jersey wildlife photographers, CWF board members and staff poured over the entries to choose our winners. Today, we are thrilled to announce both second place winners.


Youth Photographer: Kayleigh Young
Cresskill, New Jersey
Golden-crowned kinglet

Youth second place winner Kayleigh Young.

Golden-crowned kinglet, youth second place winner Kayleigh Young.

Kayleigh was happy to share more about her image with us! She said, “after placing third in CWF’s 2015 Species on the Edge 2.0 Multimedia Contest, I was invited to join a birding trip on which I took this picture. I’ve always loved photographing wildlife, because I absolutely love nature, hiking, and the outdoors. I don’t think I can choose a single favorite species because I truly do love all animals; if I had to, I would say a fox maybe.”


Howie Williams: Adult Photographer
Oceanville, New Jersey
Mobbed Eagle

Mobbed eagle, adult second place winner Howie Williams.

Mobbed eagle, adult second place winner Howie Williams.

Howie Williams has been photographing nature, especially raptors, for over 8 years. Peregrine falcons are his favorite bird (because of their raw speed), followed by ospreys, and eagles are a close third. Howie was hooked on photography after watching an osprey family at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) several years ago. He watched the chicks grow from when they were two weeks old to their first flight!

 

Howie frequents Forsythe NWR, which is where his winning photograph was taken. A juvenile eagle was sitting on an osprey nest platform. Howie heard a screech and a yell, looked up and saw another juvenile eagle fly in and land on the platform too. He took the above photograph at that moment! Howie couldn’t get both eagles in the frame. In the original shot, you can see just the talons from the other eagle, but he cropped them out for the image he submitted for our contest.

 

Howie is retired and spends five days a week photographing raptors. He often posts his photographs in the “visitor post” section of our Facebook page. Howie told CWF, “what’s the point of taking pictures without sharing them with people? Where’s the fun in that?”

 


Stay tuned as we announce the second place winners of the “For the Love of Wildlife” Photo Contest over the next few days!

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Bald Eagles Make a Comeback

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Reflections on the Eagles of Atlantic County, New Jersey

by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

It’s always a wonderful sight to see a bald eagle soaring up in the sky or perched in a tree. Today, if you live in South Jersey, the chances of seeing an eagle are pretty good. When I first began working with the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project in 2000, there were 25 nesting eagle pairs in New Jersey. Today, the State Endangered and Nongame Species Program along with Conserve Wildlife Foundation are monitoring over 160 pairs throughout the state! Needless to say, the eagle population is doing very well due to the recovery efforts and the team of dedicated New Jersey Eagle Project volunteers and supporters.

 

Today, there are seven known nesting pairs of eagles in Atlantic County. The longest residing pair in Atlantic County is the Galloway pair. Since 1996, the pair has raised and fledged a total of 29 chicks. During that time, the pair has moved their nest twice and the adults in the pair have most likely changed. Though eagles do mate for life, when one in the pair is injured or killed another is waiting to take it’s place. Jack Connor is one of our dedicated eagle project volunteers and has been monitoring the Galloway pair since they were first discovered in 1996. He has an intimate knowledge of this pair since he is out monitoring them every week during the nesting season. He has experienced the joy of seeing a chick(s) in the nest and the thrill of getting to hold one of those chicks at a banding. But he’s also had disappointment when a nest fails, which can happen during incubation or after hatching. In 2009, the nest collapsed and the two chicks didn’t survive. He has witnessed the determination of these birds to come back year after year.

 

In 2014, the chick at the Galloway nest was outfitted with a transmitter. This allows us to follow his movements after leaving the nest. The bird named ‘Nacote’ has been to Canada and back. He is now in Atlantic County and was spotted at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in April. Eagles reach sexual maturity at five years of age, so he has a few more years until he’ll start nesting. To follow Nacote’s movements, visit our website.

 

Learn More:

 

Larissa Smith is the Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Researching Beach Nesting Birds at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
Conserve Wildlife Foundation Partners with National Wildlife Refuge to Collect Data on Beach Nesting Birds

Posted by: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

 

Piping Plover Nest

Piping Plover Nest

Did you know barrier island beach makes up approximately 2% of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge? This area is the most productive for beach nesting birds. The federally threatened piping plover and other species such as least tern, black skimmer, and a species of special concern, the American oystercatcher, nest on Holgate Beach. The refuge closes the Holgate unit from April 1st to September 1st every year to provide undisturbed nesting habitat for these important species.

 

Not only is it important to protect nesting habitat for the birds, but it is also important to provide education opportunities to the public. Each summer, the refuge relies on volunteers during the summer months to talk to the public about the beach closure and bird management, and answer any general questions about Forsythe Refuge.

 

This year, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey partnered with the refuge to assist in the collection of nesting data. “In the past, refuge staff has done all the beach nesting bird monitoring,” said Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig. “This year we are very excited to be working with our partners to monitor the population status of these birds. The work they are doing, combined with the data they collect, will improve our understanding of beach nesting birds on Forsythe Refuge.”

 

CWF Field Technician Jesse Amesbury tracking piping plovers at Holgate with his scope.

CWF Field Technician Jesse Amesbury tracking piping plovers at Holgate with his scope.

“Holgate provides highly suitable undisturbed natural habitat for at-risk beach nesting birds, especially piping plover – a rarity along the otherwise highly developed and recreated New Jersey Coast,” said Todd Pover, CWF Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager. “Maximizing productivity at this site is a high priority for regional and range-wide recovery efforts.”

 

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of sensitive wetlands, marshes, and coastal habitats along the New Jersey shore. It is one of the most important habitats for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds east of the Mississippi River.

Learn more:

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Beach Nesting Bird Project
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Photo from the Field: Lone peregrine falcon eyas

Thursday, June 18th, 2015
This week we visited the latest peregrine falcon nest in New Jersey. We were there to check for hatching. Here is what we found. A lone 17 day old male falcon. He is the youngest falcon in New Jersey. Click to view large. Photo by Ben Wurst.

This week we visited the latest peregrine falcon nest in New Jersey. We were there to check for hatching. Here is what we found. A lone 17 day old male falcon. He is the youngest falcon in New Jersey. Photo by Ben Wurst.

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