Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Photos from the Field

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Grounded: Resurgence of natural osprey nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A ground nest with three young. photo by Ben Wurst

It’s not very common to see ospreys, a large predatory bird, nest on the ground. Despite the rarity of these sightings, it has become more common and acts as a glimpse into the past (and future), before humans dominated the landscape. Today, more and more ospreys are building nests on the ground and snags over water.

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Second Chances: Osprey Nestlings Fostered

Monday, July 6th, 2020

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager


Summer is here. As we reach the peak of the osprey nesting season in New Jersey, we conduct surveys to monitor their overall nest success and health of the state wide population. These surveys are conducted by specially trained volunteers who devote much time to ensure ospreys have a future in New Jersey. These surveys have been conducted every year since the early 1970s and are crucial to track any possible downturn in a colony, watershed or region of the state. Ospreys are a very important indicator of the health of the environment in which they live. This is especially important in coastal areas where they support a booming shore economy that is built around clean water and abundant marine/estuarine ecosystems.

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Photo From The Field

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Terrapin hatchlings and 3000 tons of sand.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

If lucky, I might cross paths with this terrapin in another decade (if it’s a female) and she overcomes the odds and returns to nest here as an adult.

While out inspecting our newly created terrapin habitat enhancement site in Little Egg Harbor, I found several terrapin hatchlings who were traversing the 36″ high pile of sand. I was expecting to see some hatchlings, since many arise from the protection of nest cavities on warm spring days in April, but not on top of our enhancement site. The moment I spotted one of these half dollar sized turtles, I looked into the distance and saw another.

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Ospreys Continue to Thrive in New Jersey

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Results from 2019 Osprey Nest Surveys highlight another productive year.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest in a snag on Barnegat Bay. July 2019.

Surveys of osprey nests in New Jersey have occurred annually for the past forty five years. They are conducted to help determine the overall size and health of the population. The first aerial survey over Barnegat Bay counted only five active nests. Ten years earlier there had been over 50. The combined effects of DDT and habitat loss had taken their toll. No osprey nests were productive and the population at risk of being extirpated from the state.

“In 1974 there were only five active osprey nests on Barnegat Bay. Today there are approximately one hundred and fifty.”

After ospreys were listed as endangered an innovative effort to transplant viable eggs from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay began. In addition, to help replace natural nest sites that were lost to development, man-made nest platforms were designed and installed away from human disturbance. Slowly osprey pairs became productive thanks to the die hard effort of State biologists like Pete McLain, Kathy Clark and many volunteers and partners. It’s encouraging for us to look back to see how far we’ve come in the statewide recovery of ospreys in New Jersey.

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Giving Back to Great Bay Terrapins

Monday, November 25th, 2019

CWF partners with NJ Fish & Wildlife to enhance habitat for terrapins in Little Egg Harbor

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A female terrapin nesting along Great Bay Blvd.

Northern diamondback terrapins are a coast hugging, saltmarsh living, shellfish eating, aquatic turtle. Their ultimate survival depends on the ability of adult females to safely access nesting areas during summer months. Since 2010 CWF has worked to document and reduce roadkills of terrapins on roads in southern Ocean and northern Atlantic Counties. 

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