Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 2008

We had an exciting presentation on, “New Jersey Rattlesnakes” at our November meeting. Bob Bowers put on a power point presentation prepared by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. It was an educational and entertaining experience. It was good to see the lengths to which the DEP has gone to balance man’s desire to live in wild areas with the needs of rattlesnakes to use their historic homes. Even though these amazing creatures are currently endangered, there is still hope for their future.

The Salem County Nature Club is going to adopt the old Holly Hills Golf Course in Alloway Township. This golf course has been purchased by New Jersey Fish & Wildlife for hunting and fishing. We approached them with the idea that we would put up Wood Duck houses, Bluebird Houses and a Butterfly Meadow. We also offered to provide a presence on the Golf Course to help discourage trash dumping and four wheeler use.

Most of the golf course will be allowed to revert back to its natural state. Some of it will be planted in grasses to support field nesting birds and rabbits.

As you can see in some of the pictures in the slide show, the golf course is a great place for nature hikes. The golf cart paths make wonderful trails. There are four ponds on the property. The number of critters that we see will only increase as the fields grow up.

If you decide to take a walk out there make sure that you are considerate of any hunters. This is Fish & Wildlife land and hunters and fisherman have first priority in its use. It is closed to hunting on Sundays so that is a great day to walk. Most hunters leave the woods in the middle of the day so that is another good time to walk. Take a small trash bag with you to gather any trash that has blown onto the course. If you find that people have dumped trash on the course please contact me right away. DEP will come out promptly to pick it up and check it for materials that might identify who dumped it.

We will be looking for volunteers to help put up and monitor the Bluebird and Wood Duck houses. If you are interested give me a call.

Our walks for November were on the PSEG Wetland Mitigation Site on Money Island Road. The Wednesday walk was really cold and only a few of the very brave came out to walk. We saw lots of Robins, Song Sparrows, Juncos, White Throated Sparrows and a real surprise…Kinglets. We saw both Ruby Crowned and Gold Crowned. Those buggers were moving so fast in the cold that I could only get photos of their tails as they flew off.

Sunday’s walk was cold but beautiful. Only two of us made the walk but it was really worth it. We saw lots of Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Song Sparrows, Red Tailed Hawks, Juncos, White Throated Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow and a Common Yellow Throated Warbler. We took the loop that takes you to the blind and the observation deck and also walked what appears to be a maintenance road. Boy, was that productive. Loads of Cedar Waxwings!

The Roork’s Seminar by Pat Sutton was great. She encouraged us to plant our yards for wildlife. She showed a remarkable picture of one shore community that was devoid of planting and had stones for lawns. Then she showed Cape May with all of its trees, natural plantings and preserved land and asked which would you chose if you were a bird? I think everyone got the point.

Some of us took Pat out to dinner after the Seminar. She was very impressed with our club and the members commitment to nature here in Salem County. She has offered to help us whenever she can. Just think a renowned wildlife author thinks our little Salem County Nature Club is impressive! Marilyn Patterson