Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
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 why...it's half gone! 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. 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. 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. 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. Never going back.