On Saturday, the Kestrel Trio (a friend, my adviser, and myself) agreed to meet up at the Richard DeKorte Environmental Center within the NJ Meadowlands for a bit of birding. (Someday hopefully I will learn that a bit of birding is never just a bit!).
The Meadowlands at that particular site contains embankments cutting through the watery meadows allowing good views of ducks, regardless of the position of the sun. It also is an excellent site for raptors. So when one wearies of ducks, a glance upward might be rewarded with raptors. If there’s little luck within the park, just outside the entrance is Disposal Rd. a favorite spot for avian photographers. The lay of the land creates an uplift of air, rewarding patient photographers with great images soaring hawks and darting falcons.
While ducking (hey, you can owl, so why can’t you duck?) I didn’t take photos, but I switched from my binoculars to my camera at the end when we wandered along Disposal Rd. We heard reports of Rough-leggeds, but didn’t see any. There are also Short-eared Owls known to be in the area, but we weren’t there at the right time. I hope to head out there some day after work, before the Short-ears depart…
We did see a lovely Long-tailed Duck, and a Horned Grebe hanging out on the water, but the surprise of the day was the Snowy Owl. The surprise was made sweeter simply by the fact I wasn’t out to see it: I had seen it at Sandy Hook, dipped on my return visit and had mostly accepted it was how things were meant to be. (Not that we didn’t debate whether the large white thing that flew across Valley Brook Rd on the drive into the meet up point was a Snowy Owl… my vote was plane.)