I spent the summer at E.B. Forsythe NWR, Part 1

Like the mighty Eagle, I spent the summer at EB Forsythe NWR, and that’s pretty much where the similarities end… although I did spend a lot of time catching birds and hanging out near the water.

In my attempt to clear up my lifelong backlog of photographs, I’m starting to hit larger topics, events, etc… Some so large, in fact, that they would be a little daunting to tackle all at once and, with my track record of never being satisfied with things…

This summer’s project: conducting American Oystercatcher field work for a Rutgers post-doc at the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (henceforth called the Refuge). My work on the project stretched over a twelve-week period from mid-April through mid-July and the amount of photography I was turning out was heavy at times, light at other times. So without further ado, here is the first group of images with many more to follow. These images were all taken from April 19th through April 22nd (which doesn’t seem like a lot of time but slow and steady wins the race).

On April 19th, I arrived at the Refuge for the first time ever where I met Tom, a post-doc from Rutgers who has spent years studying the American Oystercatcher (AMOY) in New Jersey, and Allison, a recent career switcher who would be my partner for the next several months. We talked about the project, met some Refuge staff (Sandy, Vinnie, and Jeff to start), and took a tour of the loop.

When I first moved into the volunteer house, Colby was the only other resident, so we each had our own floor’s worth of space. We also hosted a guy named Doug, the videographer for the NWR system who was visiting to get some footage of the Refuge in every season of the year. Having an interest in video, I asked Doug if I could tag along with him and see how he works. After a little hesitation, Doug agreed and we drove around looking for neat subjects (I was, of course, pushing hard for birds).

This building at the Refuge housed the volunteers as well as office space for the biologists.
The wooden door on the right was my room. Note the lack of floor-to-ceiling walls. That's right, I lived in a cubicle! Thankfully for me, I never got a roommate (though Kevin did threaten that I might!) but I still had next-door-cube mates Dan and Jeffrey Joh (aka Jeffrey John, aka Jib-Jab).

This Osprey was perched near the loop at the Refuge - can you identify the fish? If you look closely at the Osprey's eye, you may notice his second eyelid is closed while chomping down on that fish!

Allison and I took a ride around the loop at the Refuge and spotted this tiny guy crossing the dirt road - it's a Diamondback Terrapin!

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Forster's Tern in flight
Glossy Ibis at rest
A flying Snipe!
Forster's Tern standing in the mud
A Tern from the sterna family. I think it's a Forster's but...
Mute Swan, the scourge of native waterfowl and shorebird species in the East!
Standard Bald Eagle photograph
When Doug and I first spotted this Common Snapping Turtle, we didn't see the head and only saw what appeared to be a turtle thrashing and rolling with prey. Only later, after getting a longer view, did we realize it was mating. These turtles may be appearing in a future NWR film!

This view shows one Snapper's claws gripping the shell of another during mating
Common Tern flying with a fish
Probably a Forster's Tern hunting over the dams at Forsythe
Forster's Tern screaming over the saltmarsh

Leave a Reply