Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Whole Lotta Herping Going On

Mucho snakes and turtles out and about! Red-bellied turtle: egg laying turtle Snapping turtle: Turtle momma Eastern Box turtle: eastern box turtle female Northern Water Snake: Northern water snakey Garter Snake: garter

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Ocean County Park--The Sky Has Fallen

I loathe the polyanna role but I would be remiss as a conservationist and bird-lover to say nothing about what went down today at Ocean County Park. For the past 3 years I've been going out there to check on a large Great Blue Heron rookery that occupies a corner of the park. Here's a past blog post about it. Anyway, I havent had time to check it out this spring, but today I braved the treacherous drive through Lakewood to get there. It was a portend of what was to come that I saw a turkey vulture that was feasting on a dead cat get hit by a car and killed outright. Ugh, so making my way to rookery, I noticed that the chipwood path was not maintained and full of debris. When I got to the actual ring of trees, I saw's half gone! OCP Rookery--what's left of it. Yeah some genius decided to take all the dead snags out of the center and then blaze a path through the living forest, clear to the center of the park. OCP arborcide Horrified, I looked at what was left and could only count about 12 nests, out of the 36 or more that were there last year. To make it worse, I located the bodies of a few young chicks in their wrecked nests. Wrecked heron nest Judging from the still green leaves on the branches, I'd say about 4 weeks ago, just as the chicks were hatching, one of those tree cutting machines came in and took out more than 20 trees. OCP Arborcide_2 Whether this was just carelessness or actual disdain for the place, I cannot say. The result is that a jewel of Ocean County is now a shadow of its former self, with many of the remaining birds extremely stressed and many of the healthy trees damaged. GBH Rookery OCP arborcide Never going back.