Besides the regular field trips each month, the Nature Club conducts several special events throughout each year. On the first Saturday in May, we hold Gloucester County Bird Quest. Also in May, we hold our annual plant sale at the regular May club meeting. In the summer we offer a series of special field trips, along with the Firefly Festival in June. In the Autumn, the Mad Hatter's Tree Party takes place in October, and every winter we hold the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. For more information on each of these events you can look to our most recent newsletter or check back every few weeks for updates to this page.
Other events held in the past that could return at any time include the Gloucester County Environmental Commission Conference and the East Coast Vulture Festival.
Upcoming Nature Club Events
Field Trip – Northwestern Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Compiler: Ron Kegel
Most folks have heard about the decline of the birds in recent decades. I can remember National Geographic predicting this back in the late 70’s or early 80’s. If I recall, one edition was primarily dedicated to this concern. I'm not sure we have done much since that time to correct those the possibilities. There have been some recent success stories with Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Eastern Bluebird. But as a whole, our avian friends are suffering.
No better opportunity to aid in citizen science and the energy involved in helping with the bird count. Participating in the count helps in gathering info and data on today's trends. The Gloucester Count is getting close to 70 years old, and there has been much data collected over those years. Many things have changed, but likewise many things have not. The landscape has changed, the people have changed (Can’t believe I am one of the longest-tenured participants) and the birds have changed. Birds like the Eastern Meadowlark, Ruddy Duck, Northern Harrier, Common Bobwhite. Barn Owl, and Saw-whet Owl are disappearing, all the while Canada Goose, Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, and Northern Mockingbird have increased over recent decades. We know this from observations but also because of continued counts like the Audubon Christmas counts.
We all need a break from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Between the electronics, the politics, the holidays and the everyday direction and pulse, the count offers a different perspective. It is camaraderie, it’s what the weather provides (and yours truly has not picked good weather days in recent counts).It is seeing new territory and given the chance to do it more than one year, the changes that take place in said area.
And of course it's the birds! There is nothing staged in what we see and hear. The birds are free to go wherever they wish. Sometimes the birds surprise us in the locations where they show up. Sometimes they don't, as they can be found in the same place year in and year out. Many a time I've heard “‘Hey isn’t this where we saw a ……..!?!!
My dream is as compiler is to get 100 participants and 100 species on the day. We can accomplish this with more people to help beat the bushes! New folks are always welcome. You can join an area / area leader f you know one. Or if you have a specific area you would like to traverse (near your home or an area that fascinate you). I can try to facilitate contacting the leader that canvases that zone. Also, if you would like merely to be placed with a group I can expedite that as well. Experience is helpful but not at all necessary. Everyone has to start somewhere! I did back in 1977 and every count since then has been different and well worth it!
Yes the weather can be cold and difficult, but dressing warm, taking along food and snacks, and having open eyes and mind can be extremely helpful and rewarding.
(Editors note: Flannel or Fleece-lined pants are extremely worthwhile!) Gloves, warm footwear, warm hat, and binoculars are recommended. Some area leaders go out early (5 AM?) listening and looking for owls while others may emerge at sunrise. Area leaders are asked to please cover their entire areas. Participants can offer whatever time they have available: all day, ˝ day, a few hours (with coordination with specified leader). With this age of cell phones, it is quite easier to link up while in the field. (Another Editor’s note: Going out looking for owls is quite fascinating)
Kirk and Donna Strohmeier have once again offered their hospitality to entertain us for a wrap-up that evening after the sun sets. Here we have refreshments (offered by all) and compare notes on the “days hunt.” There is nothing better than sitting by a warm fireplace after a long and maybe cold day. It is always nice to see everyone there and hear their interesting observations.
Please join us. If you can't, I can send you a feeder watch form. Perhaps you name is in the count circle and you would like to observe the birds in your own yard and document your sightings. This area of the count has grown remarkably over the last 5 years.
The birds are declining, the green is declining in our world, Habitat is being taken away. Keep on planting and help us locate birds so we might assist in knowing where they stand and ultimately where we do too!
Involvement is free. Reward is worthwhile. Social activity within is memorable and the experience is priceless.
Ron Kegel, Compiler
(One final note: I can remember as a kid going to my high school football games. After the game all I wanted to do is go home and play football. Same thing here. After a count one can't wait to get out there and do more birding. Often times on the day of the count and after the count is finished, on your way home from your area, are you still find yourself counting birds! That is when you know you are hooked!)
Past Field Trips
Bird Walks - New Recurring Event!
The Scotland Run Park Nature Center and the Gloucester County Nature Club will be hosting bird walks year-round on the first and third Thursday of every month at 7:30 am. Come and explore the nature trails as we look for all different species of feathered friends that the park has to offer. This event is open to all ages and families are encouraged to attend together. Bird walks will NOT take place during snow or rain.
Events by other organizations
November 9 (Saturday), 10:00am to 1:00pm – The South Jersey Land and Water Trust hosts a Maurice River Walk Join us as we walk along the upper tidal section of the Maurice River and learn about the plants and wildlife in the area. We’ll keep an eye out for bald eagles and otters! We’ll meet at Joe Buck Park off of Rt. 49 at the River; Buck St, Millville, NJ 08332 Please RSVP: Contact Michael Hogan at email@example.com or 609-476-2086 to RSVP and/or if you have any questions.
November 17 (Sunday) at 2:00pm - Join Freddie Patane and Charles White at Old Pine Farm Natural Lands Trust for our “Walk in the Wild” on Sunday, November 17, at 2pm a fireside chat and workshop on How to Create Cordage and Tie Knots We will retrace the steps of our ancestors to learn how to create cordage (aka string and rope) out of natural fibers found in wild landscapes. This workshop will include identification methods for cordage plants and trees, harvesting techniques, and the most commonly used twists and splicing methods used to create material suitable for primitive nets, fishing lines, bowstrings and lashing materials. Learn the essential knots that will allow you to make good use of your new cordage. Attendees will have an opportunity to practice these skills "hands-on" with synthetic and natural materials and leave the class with a natural cordage bracelet or bookmark! Meet at the Willoughby House at the end of Pine Avenue, off Good Intent Road in Blackwood Terrace, or you can put "340 Pine Avenue, Deptford" into your favorite mapping service. Please check our Facebook for changes and directions. Information and questions: call Charles White, 856-217-9138 or see https://oldpinefarm.org. Car pooling is recommended due to limited parking. Free and open to all.
Past Nature Club Events
The 2016 NW Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count was held on December 16, 2016. See the CBC Wrap-Up page for details.
MAD HATTER'S TREE PARTY 2015 was held on Sunday October 25, 2015, and was a big success!
BIRD QUEST 2015 was held on Saturday May 2, 2015. See the Bird Quest 2015 Wrap-up Page for a wrap-up.
A TIRE CLEANUP was held on Sunday March 18, 2011. See the Tire Cleanup photo page to view some photos of the event.
THE MAD HATTER'S TREE PARTY was held on Saturday October 23, 2010, and was a great success. 169 people participated (including many families and children), and another 106 people had to be added to a waiting list and unfortunately turned away. See the Mad Hatter's photo page to see some photos of the event.
The EAST COAST VULTURE FESTIVAL was held on March 3, 2012. Go to www.eastcoastvulturefestival.org for details about the Vulture Festival.
BIRD QUEST 2009 was held on Saturday May 2, 2009.
The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Gloucester County Bird Quest. We had many special events to help celebrate this year. Thank you all for coming in the less than favorable weather. The response from the people who participated was – This Year was the best EVER! Our winning team saw 76 species while for the day we had 128 species seen by all groups. We had 285 people registered and amazingly despite the weather almost all of them showed up back at the park. For some pictures from the event, click on the following link: Bird Quest 2009 Photos.
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