MONK PARAKEETS, Ridgefield When you reach Railroad Avenue, head south under Hendricks Causeway Bridge. Park car near the bridge and listen; Monk Parakeets live in nests on underside of the bridge.
KEARNY FRESH-WATER MARSH, Kearny Camman Drive is the road the loops around Gunnell Oval; the marsh is to the east of the easternmost corner of the drive. You can launch kayaks and canoes at this location.
Here's another Tuesday Teaser for you: Why are these scissors significant? The
Meadowlands Commission's Jim Wright will give the answer during his free talk, "The Meadowlands -- Past, Present and Future." on Thursday (June 4) at the Little Ferry Public Library.
The 6:30 p.m. show will include some great archival shots of the
region, as well as some amazing nature photos taken in Little Ferry.
The show will run approximately one hour,
including a question-and-answer session. The talk, part of the
commission's year-long 40th anniversary celebration, is the last one
scheduled before next fall.
Click "Continue reading..." for details on the talk.
Birder Neil Maruca reports: Pre-work stop by at Mehrhof Pond in Little Ferry this morning yielded 2 adult and an immature Bald Eagle in the tall deciduous trees on the western edge of the pond. No Ruddy Ducks, most likely because they being used as snack sized tidbits for the eagles. Also present were Great Cormorant, Hooded & Common Merganser, 46 Lesser Scaup in 2 rafts, and 3 Ring-Necked Ducks. (Photo was taken last week by the Hackensack River in Hackensack.)
The Meadowlands Commission is honoring Black History Month with a weekly post on this blog. Today the topic is Gethsemane Cemetery in Little Ferry.
Gethsemane Cemetery is located on an acre on a sandy hill just off Route 46 and Liberty Street. The photo above is a view of the cemetery's entrance on Summit Place.
It was set aside in 1860 as a burial ground for African-American residents of nearby Hackensack. The last burial took place in 1924.
The site was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 "because of the significant role it played in the enactment of New Jersey’s early civil rights legislation, as well as containing evidence of West African burial customs," according to the Bergen County Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
The county has been doing a major restoration of the cemetery, and it is currently closed to the public. Self-guided tours will be available when the work is completed.
According to the agency, "Fewer than 50 gravestones remain, but the burials of more than 500 people have been documented.
"They include Elizabeth Sutliff Dulfer who was born a slave in the late 1700s, freed in 1822, and died in 1880. She was one of the area's wealthiest businesswomen and landholders. [Dulfer owned clay beds that supplied clay to potteries from Philadelphia to Boston. Her clay company along the Hackensack River was said to be the second-largest in the nation.]
"Two Civil War veterans, Peter Billings and Silas M. Carpenter, were also buried here."
Where's Waldo (the Hooded Merganser)? (Click "Continue reading..." below for the answer.
The above shot was taken at Mehrhof Pond in Little Ferry late last week. In addition to seeing hundreds upon hundreds of
Ruddy Ducks, a quick glance around this huge pond brought several Northern Pintails, Common Mergansers, Green-winged Teal, that hidden-away Hoodie, and a Great Blue Heron. Most views were distant: Bring a spotting scope if you go.
Losen Slote Creek Park is a great place for a hike, and during May and autumn, a good spot to catch warblers moving through. The 28-acre park seemed a bit overlooked -- perhaps because it's off the beaten path. The first part of the park is woods, then meadows. The trail is blazed with red-dotted markers, with Mehrhof Woods fenced off to the left and houses in the distance to your right. That's good to know in case you lose your way.
If you keep the houses on your left and the fence on your right, you'll find your way back. But bring a cellphone, just in case. The meadows portion is a bit overgrown and easy to get lost in, but filled with dragonflies and an occasional butterfly. If you wander around long enough, you'll come across the slow-moving Losen Slote ("slote" being Dutch for "creek.") On a recent visit, the bird of the day was an Indigo Bunting that zipped through the meadow portion. Standing in the meadow, you feel as though you are in the wild -- despite being in heart of Bergen County. Click here and here for more information.
Click "Continue reading" for more images from Losen Slote Creek Park.
Two great places for nature walks are at the north end of the Meadowlands District in Little Ferry -- the BCUA Nature Preserve and Losen Slote Creek Park. The nature preserve is part of an old brick-making site that provided the bricks for major cities along the East Coast. After the brick factory went out of business a long time ago, the land reverted to its natural state, with a clay pit becoming a large pond -- Mehrhof Pond. It's a beautiful place, and known amongst birders for the waterfowl it attracts -- notably ruddy ducks and other waterfowl by the hundreds in November. The one caveat is that because the nature preserve is located on Bergen County Utilities Authority property, it is inaccessible without advance permission. You need to go as part of an organized group. You need advance permission to gain admittance. You need to sign an insurance waiver. And it's not open on weekends or holidays. But the preserve is worth the effort. Because it is not open to the public -- for safety, security and insurance reasons -- it is well-kept and largely undisturbed. On a recent trip I saw quite a few amazing sights, including a gorgeous Eastern box turtle and a field full of cedar waxwings.
Click "Continue reading" for more information and a look at more images from the BCUA preserve.