Take the challenge!

13 04 2015

New Jersey Conservation Foundation has launched an awesome new “Step Into Nature Challenge”, asking people to set a goal for themselves to get outside more in 2015. Hiking, biking, and species identification categories are available, plus a custom category to create your own goal! For more information and to register, visit http://njconservation.org/StepIntoNatureChallenge.htm


I am challenging myself to photograph 200 different species of native plants and animals in New Jersey this year! What’s your challenge going to be?


How to Be a Better Birder

10 04 2012

On Thursday, April 19th, NJ Audubon will host author, expert birder, and all-around good guy Derek Lovitch at Scherman Hoffman Sanctuary in Bernardsville.  Derek, who has worked in the past at Sandy Hook (Migration Watch) and Cape May (Hawk Watch), will be discussing his recently published book “How to Be a Better Birder”.  He will be joined by Scott Barnes for a one-hour bird walk around Scherman Hoffman at 4:30pm.  Then, at 7pm, Derek will hold a one-hour talk on his new book, which focuses on improved birding skills, including the use of geography, weather, and habitat in advanced birding.

Both the walk and presentation are free of charge, but there is limited seating.  Please register by calling NJA’s Scherman Hoffman Sanctuary at 908-766-6787 or email scherman-hoffman@njaudubon.org  Derek will also be signing first editions of his book!

Snow Goose

17 01 2012

This image of a Snow Goose was captured by Joseph Pescatore at Osborne Pond in Basking Ridge, NJ.  It was taken early in the morning on January 1st, 2012.  Happy New Year, indeed!

(c) 2012

Big Year for NJ birders

2 01 2012

2011 is in the books, and 2012 greets a handful of new records in New Jersey birding.  Tom Reed is the new champion of The Garden State, totaling a mind-boggling 362 species of birds during the 2011 calendar year.  Others also broke the old record, including Michael Fritz, who traded the lead with Reed throughout the latter part of the year and ended up with 359 species – an incredible feat.

Photo by Ellen & Tony (c) 2011

Eighteen birders broke the 300-bird barrier last year, and three (outside of Reed and Fritz) cracked 340.  The reasons for all the listing success can be speculated upon, but at least some of the credit can be given to a far-reaching network of information – birding email chains, text messaging services, and a community searching far and wide for rarities, sharing their findings in real time with other birders.

ebird.org is a great resource for both novice and experienced birders, helping to keep track of lists, report rarities, and map out trends over time and space.

Christmas Bird Counts

7 12 2011

For over 100 years, birders have taken part in annual Christmas Bird Counts.  These events help scientists gather information on what birds are spending the winter in certain regions.  This in turn can aid conservation efforts for species in peril, as a majority of North America’s birds need protection not only on their breeding grounds, but where they spend the colder months as well.

On Audubon’s page (click here) you can find all the information needed on the Christmas Bird Counts in your area – they run for almost a month, so finding a convenient time and date to participate shouldn’t be a major hurdle for any interested naturalists out there.

Tom Reed breaks NJ “Big Year” Record

28 09 2011





NJO contributor Tom Reed has now seen 343 different species of birds in the state of New Jersey since January 1st, 2011.  This is already 6 more than the previous record, set in 2002, but only 1 more than the number currently seen by another 2011 lister.  That means Tom has to keep searching for the next three months – the competition doesn’t end until the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

Tom and the author, Bill Lynch, birding in early January

Tom was recently featured on http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/ – check out the article and Tom’s insightful quotes on birding by clicking here.

This NJO article reflects the updated counts for the two 2011 listers – both have seen new species since the writing of the linked article.



NJ Meadowlands Festival of Birding

1 09 2011

Next weekend on September 10th-11th, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will host and sponsor the 8th Annual New Jersey Meadowlands Festival of Birding!  The festival includes various field trips, boat trips, exhibits, and indoor programs.  This year’s keynote speaker is Sandy Komito, holder of the North American record for the most birds seen in one year, as well as the subject of the book and upcoming movie The Big Year.

Click here to view a schedule of events and to sign up.

21st Great Tomato Tasting

24 08 2011

Rutgers Snyder Research Farm will host the 21st Great Tomato Tasting, with more than 60 varieties of tomatoes, plus apples, peaches, herbs, and honey! There is also a teaching garden to explore and a wagon tour to enjoy. Everything starts on Wednesday, August 31st at 3pm. Click here to find out all the details and RSVP.

(c) Tim Waters 2007

NJ Audubon offers free seminars

4 08 2011

Head to your favorite NJ Audubon nature center this week and next for a free seminar on the birds you’re likely to see during the summer months. Among the topics discussed will be species identification, creating an inviting habitat in your backyard, using nest boxes, attracting hummingbirds and orioles, and how to choose seed/feeder combinations.

Contact your local Audubon nature center for more information. The dates and times (along with contact information) are:

Saturday August 6 – 1pm Plainsboro Preserve
80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury NJ 08512, (609) 897-9400

Saturday August 13 – 10am Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary
11 Hardscrabble Rd. Bernardsville, NJ 07924 (908) 766-5787

Saturday August 13 – 2pm Lorrimer Sanctuary
790 Ewing Avenue, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 (201) 891-2185

Also be sure to stock up on bird seed during the big sale:

Hike & Seek

24 06 2011

The National Wildlife Federation is expanding their Hike & Seek event to six cities this fall, including our very own Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Bernardsville, NJ!

On October 15th, registered participants will hike 1-2 miles with a guidebook, stopping along the way to speak with naturalists, participate in scavenger hunts, and enjoy the beautiful natural setting of one of New Jersey Audubon’s most popular sanctuaries.  After the hike, the fun will continue with wildlife displays, games, and other activities.

Register early by clicking here or clicking the image above.  You can also volunteer as a naturalist by emailing hike@nwf.org