Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘saltmarsh’

Video from the Field: Osprey Platform Install

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
Ensuring Osprey Platforms Remain Resilient

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

On a brisk November morning, a couple dedicated NJ Osprey Project volunteers joined myself and CWF Biologist Larissa Smith to install an osprey platform on the coastal saltmarsh of New Jersey. The new platform was installed to replace a very old and unstable platform that fell this summer. The new structure is more than twice the size of the old one and will give the nesting pair, who return in the spring, a much more resilient nest site. As you can see from the video above, it takes a bit of strength to raise up a 16′ tall wood nest platform. We decided to slow it down when WCC Volunteer, Wayne R. gives it a final push. (more…)

Documenting the presence of plastics in osprey nests

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
The threats are real and these photos should alarm you!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

U.S. Coast Guard assists NJ Fish & Wildlife with recovering an entangled osprey on a channel marker in Cape May Harbor, Summer 2018. photo by Kathy Clark/ENSP

As I work to finalize data from this summer’s osprey surveys, I wanted to look back and highlight an important observation: more plastic is being found and recovered from active osprey nests. I guess it’s no surprise when you hear that “18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions.(more…)

A break in the weather

Friday, February 21st, 2014
Great Bay Blvd. Osprey Platform Install

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

We took advantage of the break in cold/wet weather along the southeast coast of New Jersey and installed a new nesting platform for ospreys this week. The new platform was installed for a pair that previously nested on sensitive equipment used by the Rutgers University Marine Field Station on Great Bay Blvd. in Little Egg Harbor. The equipment was located on a short cluster of pilings near the boardwalk to the Station. It failed to produce young in 2013. More than likely it was predated by raccoon, the main ground predator of osprey young.

A large number of volunteers showed up to help out. The actual install was quite easy considering it could be accessed by the land via Great Bay Blvd. The platform was placed along a tidal creek so that biologists can easily access the nest for future surveys. Rutgers staff will install deterrents on the old nest so birds can’t nest there when they return in late March. You can see the location of the nest on Osprey Watch or drive out on GBB to see it in person.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came out to help!


Osprey Cam reveals winter scenery

Friday, February 7th, 2014
Polar vortex, peregrines, and lots of snow geese

The extreme cold weather in January brought some really neat winter scenery to the coastal saltmarsh. One of the most productive ecosystems in the world is almost totally desolate in the middle of winter. There are still a few signs of life though, which have been captured by our Osprey Cam, including top tiers predators, peregrine falcons, and herbivores, snow geese. There’s no doubt that each plays a role in the ecosystem. The snow geese eat any kind of vegetation that they can find and they consume any part of the plant, seeds, stems, leaves, tubers, and roots.  The osprey cam showed them sticking there heads underground to forage on the rhizoidial roots of saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).  Here’s an interesting fact from Cornell University’s All About Birds website: “Food passes through the Snow Goose’s digestive tract in only an hour or two, generating 6 to 15 droppings per hour. The defecation rate is highest when a goose is grubbing for rhizomes, because such food is very high in fiber and the goose inevitably swallows mud.” Their droppings will no doubt help to fertilize the marsh in the spring!

Ice floe.

Ice floe.

A few adult peregrine falcons have been perching on the platform.

A few adult peregrine falcons have been perching on the platform.

Snow and geese.

Snow and geese.

More snow geese...

More snow geese…

Snow geese have been foraging all around the osprey nest.

YUM! Roots and tubers!

Snow goose

Got a napkin?

Looks like the arctic...

Looks like the arctic…

6" of fresh snow.

6″ of fresh snow.