Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’

Exploring New Jersey’s Amphibian Migrations

Wednesday, March 27th, 2024

by Leah Wells, Wildlife Biologist

Wood Frogs

 On rainy spring evenings, have you ever encountered large numbers of salamanders and frogs crossing the road? Do you ever wonder where they came from and where they are going? New Jersey’s forests are home to a group of amphibians that breed in small, temporary wetlands called vernal pools. Within northern New Jersey, this group includes wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and Jefferson salamanders. 

These salamanders are elusive, often concealed under foliage, moss, or in burrows created by small creatures.  They belong to the Ambystomatidae family, earning the nickname “mole salamander” due to their subterranean tendencies. Feeding primarily at night on various invertebrates like earthworms and insects, they, along with wood frogs, play crucial roles in forest ecosystems as vital links in the food chain and are indicators of ecosystem health. Emerging from winter hibernation during rainy nights in late winter and early spring, they embark on journeys to vernal pools for mating and egg-laying, marking the onset of the amphibian migration. 

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Encouraging Development for Tiger Salamanders

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

By Christine Healy, Wildlife Biologist

Close up of an adult tiger salamander.

In today’s world, it’s pretty difficult to think of a species that scientists are not concerned about in the face of climate change. The reasons are many and diverse, but in a state where 42% of municipalities are considered “coastal”, it comes as no surprise that sea level rise (SLR) is a big threat here- both to people and wildlife. When the average person imagines which species are most likely to be impacted by SLR, it’s likely that beach nesters, including piping plovers, immediately come to mind. Afterall, they occupy the same environments that recreationalists are worried about losing. Valid point- but they are not the only ones. Eastern tiger salamanders, one of New Jersey’s rarest amphibians, also make the list. 

Like our other mole salamanders (spotted, blue-spotted, marbled, and Jefferson), Eastern tiger salamanders require access to temporary wetlands, called vernal pools, to successfully breed. The ephemeral nature of these water bodies is critical because it eliminates fish as potential egg predators and thus increases larval survival. While these salamanders spend much of the year in forested landscapes, adults return annually to their natal pools (in most cases) to reproduce. High fidelity to these sites can put these amphibians in danger if development occurs within their migration corridors or changes transpire within the pools themselves. 

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Highlights of a Recent Mammal Inventory

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

In the spring and summer of 2023, CWF set up over 100 field cameras in a variety of habitats along mammal travel paths at the Joint Base in Lakehurst. The study captured a glimpse of what wildlife does when they think no one is watching.

To start, here is an abbreviated species list of most of the wildlife captured on camera. We were not surprised to find that nearly 80% of our captures were of white-tailed deer! Unfortunately, no captures of black bears have been reported in the area in previous years. Check out some of the captures below!

  • White-tailed deer
  • Red fox
  • Grey fox
  • Coyote
  • Striped skunk
  • Opossum
  • Beaver
  • Groundhog
  • Eastern grey squirrel
  • American red squirrel
  • Southern flying squirrel
  • Raccoon
  • Eastern cottontail rabbit
  • Mice species
  • Domestic cat
  • Great blue heron
  • Wild Turkey
  • Owl species
  • Songbird species
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Nor’easter and Prey Shortage Impacts Nesting Ospreys in 2023

Friday, February 16th, 2024

by Ben Wurst / Senior Wildlife Biologist

A surfer and osprey at the beach on Long Beach Island. July 2023.

In coastal New Jersey, during spring and summer the recovery of ospreys is apparent. They grace the skies of most ocean front beaches from Sandy Hook to Cape May in search of prey. Their nests line our shorelines and can be found in a variety of nest structures. Today there are over 800 pairs of ospreys who nest all across New Jersey. Results from the 2023 nesting season illustrate how the osprey population continues to grow but with reduced reproductive success due to extremes in weather and reduced prey availability.

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“Jersey Girl”: 20 Years and Going Strong

Monday, February 5th, 2024

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

“Jersey Girl” (in rear) and mate 2024 photo by: Linda Oughton

One of my favorite things about working with the NJ Eagle Project is when we receive resighting’s of New Jersey banded eagles. Especially when that eagle is in a pair and nesting. One eagle that we’ve been following over the years, is fondly named “Jersey Girl” due to her NJ origins. She was reported to us in 2014 by Linda Oughton, who has been keeping track of her and her mate since 2010.

“Jersey Girl” showing bands; photo by Linda Oughton

Jersey Girl and her mate nest in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was one of three chicks banded May 10th 2004 at the Hopewell West, nest which is located in Cumberland County along the Cohansey River. She was banded with green band B-64. That means that this May “Jersey Girl” will be twenty years old!

Since 2010 the pair has successfully raised and fledged a total of 20 young eagles. The pair is not yet incubating this season and Linda reports that they usually start on Valentine’s Day. The pair is well loved by neighbors and people who walk along the Perkiomen Creek, where the pair often fishes.

It’s so wonderful to know that an eagle I helped band almost 20 years ago has survived and raised 20 chicks of her own.

“Jersey Girl’s” nest; photo taken from road by Linda Oughton.

Thank you to Linda Oughton for keeping us updated on Jersey Girl