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NJ.com: 7 best places in New Jersey to go birdwatching this spring



Photo Credit: NJ.com

After a brutal winter, spring has returned in all its glory to the Garden State, bringing with it warmer temperatures, more genial dispositions – and millions of birds.

Mile for mile, New Jersey is possibly the best state in the country for birdwatching. Spring heralds the arrival of some of the most colorful and charismatic birds on the continent – neotropical migrants and passerines like warblers, vireos and flycatchers. They're traversing the Atlantic flyway, from South America to northern climes, and stopping here to rest or breed. Birds, now more concerned with mating than avoiding predators, start to become more conspicuous. They're literally more colorful in their spring plumage. They perch on branches, looking for a partner, and start singing.

Here are the seven best places to find them. If you think we've left out any hidden gems or snubbed some obvious choices, let us know in the comments.

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New Jersey Herald: Another 90,000 infected trout to be killed



Photo Credit: NJ.com

OXFORD — For the third time since last fall, the state Division of Fish and Wildlife is being forced to euthanize tens of thousands of trout at the Pequest Trout Hatchery because of a bacterial infection in the raceways where the trout are raised.

This time, it is 90,000 brook trout that would have been stocked in state waters over the next two weeks of the spring trout season.

While fishing for trout goes on through the rest of the year, it is in the spring, when the water is coldest, that trout are stocked by the state. Another trout stocking takes place in the fall after the heat of summer.


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NJ.com: New Jersey has expanded its salmon fishing



Photo Credit: NJ.com

MOUNT OLIVE — Since 2006, landlocked salmon have been part of a stocking program at Lake Aeroflex in Sussex County and Waywayanda Lake in Passaic County.

This spring a new body of water, Tilcon Lake in Morris County, has received fish as well. In 2012 the Hackettstown State Fish Hatchery traded northern pike fingerlings with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries in exchange for 2,000 salmon measuring 8.5 inches. At that time, 1,000 of those fish were stocked at Waywayanda and Aeroflex. The remaining fish were kept and raised to a larger size, according to officials at the hatchery.

In the fall, 800 of those salmon, averaging 14 to 15 inches, were stocked. The rest were held throughout the winter.


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The Meadowlands Nature Blog: Tuesday: Earth Day Events @ DeKorte


Photo Credit: Dennis Cheeseman

The Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society have two exciting events on Tuesday:

*A free Earth Day nature walk is Tuesday, April 22, at 5 p.m. in DeKorte Park.

*A free Earth Day Concert with Spook Handy in DeKorte Park begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, in the Meadowlands Environment Center.


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Don's Jersey Birding: Reconnect to Nature this Earth Day


We have come a long way since the first Earth day but many challenges lie ahead.
Photo Credit: Alice Leurck


By Don Torino


We have come a long way since the first Earth Day 44 years ago today. The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act has helped bring back the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Osprey back from the brink of extinction to where they have become almost a common sight even here in densely populated New Jersey. But even as climate change threatens the future of our planet our biggest challenge ahead may be getting people to reconnect with the nature that exists right around them, every day in their local communities and even in their own backyards. Urban sprawl and the failure to preserve more open space has caused a generation to grow up without the pond down the street or the woodlands around the corner, our children rarely play outside and no longer get their feet wet or their hands dirty in a pond or woodland that now no longer exist close to their home. Children have lost their connection to the trees, bugs and birds that past generations grew up with. We will not be able to expect that there will be new conservationists or nature lovers that will care enough to protect the Bald Eagle, save the Monarch Butterfly or preserve wildlife habitat if they grow up afraid of a Bumble or never touching a wildflower.



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NJ.com: Camden 'Gateway Park' along Cooper River opening soon to public



Photo Credit: NJ.com

CAMDEN — City residents who have been waiting and pushing nearly 14 years to enjoy a long ribbon of scenic, fenced off, land along the Cooper River won’t be waiting much longer.

The Delaware River Port Authority board on Wednesday announced plans to pass ownership of the riverfront property — commonly referred to as Gateway Park, or Cooper River Park West — to the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA), which will in turn partner with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) to open the space to the public.

“There are many people here who have been fighting for this,” said Camden resident Marianna Emanuele, addressing the DRPA during its Wednesday meeting, as fellow advocates of the park unfurled a banner that read “Open space justice for Camden.”


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New Jersey Hills: Geocaching and scavenger hunt planned at Great Swamp refuge



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

HARDING TWP. - The Great Swamp Watershed Association’s (GSWA) Great Swamp Scavenger Hunt is back for another day of outdoor exploration and discovery, rain or shine, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10.

Participants may pick up a special pirate-themed clue kit—complete with GPS coordinates for geocaching enthusiasts—at the pavilion located outside the Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Visitor Center is located at 32 Pleasant Plains Road.

The clue kit will serve as a guide for exploring several nearby points of interest. Players will search each of the game’s ports of call for special treasure tokens that can only be earned by answering a short series of questions about the region’s natural or cultural history.


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Centraljersey.com: EAST WINDSOR: Community comes together to clean up Etra Lake Park



Photo Credit: Centraljersey.com

EAST WINDSOR — More than two dozen residents gathered at Etra Lake Park to help cleanup the town’s waterways on Saturday. Children from the Central and Southern New Jersey Boy and Girl Scout troops had their bags and boots ready to pick up trash from the park’s stream.

The park is more than 160 acres in size, with two walking trails and a basketball court . There is a stage for programs in the warmer weather months. ”We consider the lake an integral part of what we often call the ‘jewel’ in East Windsor,” said Mayor Janice Mironov who was on hand for the event. “The focus is to keep out water supplies clean.”

Mayor Mironov was appreciative for all that came out. ”It’s wonderful to see how many people come out. We ran out of bags,” she said. “It shows a real community spirit and community service. It speaks really well for East Windsor.”


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Asbury Park Press: Chickadees are harbingers of a changing climate



Photo Credit: Asbury Park Press

Chickadees aren’t signs of spring, since these cheery little birds are year-round Jersey residents. But they could signal a warming climate.

An interesting new study focuses on “hybrid” chickadees — the offspring of northern black-capped chickadees and their southern relatives, Carolina chickadees — in places where the two ranges overlap. Because the hybrid birds are infertile and can’t reproduce, they’re found only in a long, narrow strip of territory stretching from Kansas to New Jersey.


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NJ.com: The American Toad: April showers bring toads



Photo Credit: NJ.com

With the warmer spring weather starting to kick in, a long musical trilling whistle can been heard across New Jersey, especially during rainy days and nights, as male American Toads call out to mates from their breeding sites.

A very common animal throughout eastern North America, the rotund and warty American Toad can be found just about anywhere in NJ, except in some of our coastal regions, where the almost identical Fowler’s Toad is king.

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New Jersey Hills: ‘Down to Earth’ at Schiff



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

MENDHAM – The Schiff Nature Preserve will host “Down to Earth” from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the historic Pitney Farm, at 1 Cold Hill Road, to celebrate Schiff’s past and to raise funds for the future so it can continue in its mission of land conservation and stewardship in the Mendhams and Chester for many years to come.

The event will honor past Schiff presidents including Michael Catania, John Hayden, James Porter, and Alan Willemsen; and recognize the contributions of the late Franklin Parker, who helped conserve land throughout New Jersey and the nation.


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BiologicalDiversity.org: Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Rare Turtles and Salamanders in Northeast


Photo Credit: BiologicalDiversity.org

BOSTON— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to determine whether five increasingly rare northeastern amphibians and reptiles warrant consideration for Endangered Species Act protection. The Center first petitioned for these species — the wood turtle, spotted turtle, green salamander, Peaks of Otter salamander and white-spotted salamander — in July 2012 because habitat loss and other factors are threatening their survival.

“These turtles and salamanders are irreplaceable parts of the wild where they live, whether it’s a remote mountain stream or a suburban wetland,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist and lawyer focused on protecting amphibians and reptiles. “Losing them will impoverish those places and our own connection with the natural world.”


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NJ Spotlight: Bill Would Make Public Access Condition of Shore Protection Projects



Photo Credit: NJ Spotlight

If public funding pays for project, measure would mandate public access to beaches, waterfronts — including Sandy initiatives

New Jersey has 127 miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast, an enticing attraction that helps drive a nearly $40 billion tourism industry.

But many parts of the coastline are off limits to the public — a circumstance some lawmakers and conservationists are hoping to resolve, if only partially.



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Nature's Focus: The Wolf Spider



All Photo Credits: Thomas W. Gorman

By: Thomas W. Gorman

With the warmer weather finally upon us, many forms of wildlife have returned from their winter “rest” and can be seen throughout our yards and in the woods of New Jersey. One class of wildlife, which I admit I am generally not comfortable with, is the Arachnid family. I guess my not-being-so fond of them boils down to a time when I was bit by what turned out to be a Brown Recluse spider. Its bite quickly turned into a strange blister, and thankfully, knowing the bite was not a good thing, I went to the doctor. The doctor confirmed the origin of the bite and prescribed the “strongest antibiotic” known. Within a week or so the medicine healed the wound. I guess that is my main reason for not liking spiders, though I must admit, they are interesting critters to look at.


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Press of Atlantic City: Foundation provides $2.4M to groups working to protect Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia based William Penn Foundation, which makes protecting the Delaware River Watershed one of its top priorities, recently announced grants of nearly $2.4 million to 10 groups working in a coordinated way to protect the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer.

“In the past we may have addressed these issues individually, now we have a collective approach,” said Andrew Johnson, Penn’s senior program officer for watershed protection, with groups planning and working together for greater impact.

They are the American Littoral Society, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Delaware & Raritan Greenway Land Trust, Natural Lands Trust, Nature Conservancy N.J. Field Office, New Jersey Audubon Society, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Trust for Public Land N.J. Field Office.


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Cape May County Herald: Volunteers Continue Rescue Program for Horseshoe Crabs



Photo Credit: Cape May County Herald

CAPE MAY - For all those who have spent time on the Delaware Bay in May, the sight of a beach at high tide, jammed with spawning horseshoe crabs, is a familiar one. But in recent years, there are far fewer crabs on the beach. This population, which is the highest concentration of spawning horseshoe crabs anywhere in the world, has declined by 90% over the last 15 years because of over-harvesting and habitat degradation. Adding to these challenges, tens of thousands of crabs die each year after being overturned by waves or getting stuck behind bulkheads, rip-rap, or other hazards.

Mortality of breeding-age crabs, which take ten years to sexually mature, contributes to the low population numbers. In an effort to help the horseshoe crab population recover, eight local organizations are working with residents, visitors, and youth as partners of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife on Return the Favor, an initiative to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs on New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches.

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The Wall Street Journal: Dead whale found in NY harbor will be taken to NJ



Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Federal investigators are preparing to perform a necropsy to find out why a 30- to 35-foot whale was found dead in New York harbor.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that they were notified about the whale on Monday. It has been moved next to a barge so that it does not disrupt ships' navigation.

Christopher Gardner says the whale will be moved to Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City on Wednesday, so a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can perform a necropsy.


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NJ.com: Foraging and native spring ephemerals


Photo Credit: NJ.com

As spring arrives, the fields and woodlands begin to wake up and burst with the emergence of plant life to color the landscape and welcome in the wildlife from the long cold winter.

And with the arrival of the new buds, shoots and flowers comes opportunity for us humans to embrace the outdoors and our primal roots and forage!

NJ Audubon believes in the concept of foraging because it is an excellent way to engage the public and educate them about the importance of natural resource protection, habitat and agriculture. Knowing where your food comes from, linking the food to the land, creates better education opportunities for the public to recognize how conservation efforts protect soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources.


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NorthJersey.com: New Jersey's tiny travelers get a lifesaving lift



Photo Credit: NorthJersey.com

One of the lesser known signs of spring arrived Monday night on Clinton Road in West Milford: A steady trickle of frogs and salamanders crept through an icy rain in search of love.

If not for the teams of volunteers who waited to prod them across the winding road, many would meet a quiet end under the wheels of a passing car.

Every year in early spring, champions of the tiny amphibians spend several hours at this spot and dozens like it throughout the Northeast so they can witness — and do their small part to continue — a natural phenomenon that goes largely unnoticed by the greater population.


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Hunterdon County Democrat: New Jersey Wildlife: Foraging and native spring ephemerals


Trout Lily
Photo Credit: John Parke


As spring arrives, the fields and woodlands begin to wake up and burst with the emergence of plant life to color the landscape and welcome in the wildlife from the long cold winter.

And with the arrival of the new buds, shoots and flowers comes opportunity for us humans to embrace the outdoors and our primal roots and forage!

NJ Audubon believes in the concept of foraging because it is an excellent way to engage the public and educate them about the importance of natural resource protection, habitat and agriculture. Knowing where your food comes from, linking the food to the land, creates better education opportunities for the public to recognize how conservation efforts protect soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources.

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