A young ring-billed gull with a Northern Lined Seahorse in its bill
Written By Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and cherished friends, to eat great food and treasure all the things you should be thankful for. But sometimes it’s not always easy to come up with things to be thankful for in any given year? May I offer a suggestion?
Be thankful you’re not food for a hungry gull. The other day while walking along an Atlantic Ocean beach in New Jersey I spotted a juvenile Ring-billed gull trying to eat a Northern lined seahorse. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty.
Seahorses are considered bony fishes. They have bodies protected by strong external plates, which are arranged into a series of "rings." These rings help to protect the outer body of the fish. Unfortunately these plates did not work to protect this poor little seahorse.
The bony plates functioned only to cause frustration for the gull. The hungry bird wanted to eat quickly. So it started thrashing the lifeless seahorse back and forth on rocks. Finally the gull was able to soften or tenderize the external plates and get to the meat of the fish. A quick meal no doubt.
Low tides reveal enduring cedar stumps, reflecting Meadowlands' ecological past
James M. O'Neill,
Staff Writer, @JamesMONeill1
Published 8:00 a.m. ET Oct. 13, 2017
Atlantic white cedar trees were once ubiquitous in the Meadowlands, but were largely wiped out by the 1920s.
Twice each day, at low tide, the New Jersey Meadowlands pulls back its watery veil to reveal the dark, twisted remnants of its ecological past.
Someone scanning the barren, soggy mudflats when the tide is out can see the low stumps and fallen trunks of Atlantic white cedar trees, which once covered as much as a third of the Meadowlands.
Because cedar wood is so durable, those stumps have lasted, despite being covered with water for decades. They dot the mudflats today, in bizarre and elegant shapes, natural sculptures jutting out of the marshland.
Not a single marine mammal has gone extinct in U.S. waters since the Marine Mammal Protection Act was enacted 45 years ago.
This bedrock conservation bill has helped us protect whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees against dangerous industrial activities, including offshore oil and gas operations. But all this could quickly change if Congress votes to gut this critical Act.
Speak out today to protect the remarkable mammals that call the sea their home.
Thanks for urging your representative to oppose bills gutting the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Amended 1994. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects all marine mammals, including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), sea otters, and polar bears within the waters of the United States.
Bald eagle makes a rare visit to this N.J. city (PHOTOS)
Updated Nov 11; Posted Nov 11
By Ron Zeitlinger
The Jersey Journal
A couple weeks ago it was a barge. This week it's a bird.
Bayonne received another unexpected and rare visit Friday afternoon -- by a bald eagle who spent some time downtown. The eagle landed in a crosswalk at Ninth Street and Avenue A and then took a little tour of the area.
"I was shocked to see the eagle land in the street the way it did," said David La Pelusa, who snapped the photos in the gallery above. "Cars were whizzing by -- I was one of them -- and the eagle didn't even flinch.
"It looked like it was hurt. It was limping around as it walked around the intersection. I've never seen an eagle outside of a zoo. It was by far the most impressive sight I've seen in Bayonne."
Written By Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
Since October small flocks of Atlantic brant (Branta bernicla hrota) have been flying in one by one. Flocks of fifty birds or less have just kept coming into New York Harbor and surrounding estuarine areas to stay throughout the winter. An abundant population of brant into the hundreds or even thousands now calls New York Harbor home for the winter.
A majority of brant will over-winter along the coast of New Jersey and the southern shore of Long Island including within New York Harbor. Lesser numbers of brant will winter north to Massachusetts and south to Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina.
With large numbers of brant starting to settle in, the arrival of winter is not far behind. Like the first sight of a White-throated sparrow near your bird feeder, the arrival of brant to New York Harbor is a sure sign that there is a change in the season taking place.
Brant arrive to New York Harbor to spend the winter in a warmer place from where their breeding sites are located. Brant nest in wet areas along the high Arctic coastline around the Foxe Basin in the eastern Arctic, including on Southampton (along the Bell Peninsula and around East Bay), western Baffin (Cape Dominion), Prince Charles, and North Spicer Islands. Every fall, the brant arrive to New York Harbor to escape thick ice up north, which covers over their aquatic food.
The Bayshore Regional Watershed Council, NY-NJ Baykeeper, Monmouth County Clean Communities and The AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program are seeking volunteers to help clean up Riverside Gardens Park located along Matawan Creek in the Cliffwood Beach area of Aberdeen Township, NJ this Sunday morning, November 19 starting at 10:00am.
The area is unfortunately one of the dirtiest areas in the Bayshore region and needs your help to clean it up for all species to enjoy!
The creek is home to a diversity of fish, crabs, and birds including Ospreys or fish hawks. The creek is also known for the infamous 1916 shark attack, the inspiration for the book and movie JAWS.
Please help us clean up an often overlooked site of New Jersey's rich ecology and history.
A lot of people would be surprised to see so much trash near a beautiful waterway.
WHEN: Sunday, November 19, 2017
TIME: 10:00AM TO 12:00PM
MEETING LOCATION: Along Riverdale Drive in the Cliffwood Beach section of Aberdeen Township, near Highway 35.
Physical Address: Near 350 Riverdale Drive, Aberdeen Township, NJ 07735
On-street parking only
No Registration Needed. Everyone is welcome!Join your neighbors, enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, meet friendly people, and do something good for the environment. A clean and healthy environment is critical to the overall health of people that live there.
Students or scouts who participate in the cleanup will earn community service hours.
Garbage bags will be provided. Attendees should wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Waders or high boots are best. Please bring gloves.
Event will take place weather permitting. Heavy rain, snow or strong winds will cancel.
The Bayshore belongs to everyone!
Be part of the solution to creek pollution!
Whale sightings are plentiful during peak season off Jersey Shore
Updated 12:29 AM; Posted 12:06 AM
By Jeff Goldman
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
There were plenty of whale watching opportunities off the Jersey Shore on a chilly fall weekend.
Passengers aboard the Cape May Whale Watcher were treated to the sight of four humpback whales Sunday while photographer Bill McKim also documented a whale swimming off Belmar.
That might sound like a lot, but it was an average weekend, according to Capt. Jeff Stewart of the Cape May Whale Watcher.
Whales can be seen between March and December, according to Stewart, who noted that on some weekends he'll see as many as 10-15 of the mammals in the water.
This past weekend was probably the peak of whale watching season in New Jersey.
Higher air pollution in cities tied to higher mortality
From: American Public Health Association (APHA)
Published November 6, 2017 11:14 AM
Contact: Megan Lowry
Atlanta, Nov. 6, 2017 – New research presented today at APHA’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo examined the burden of air pollution and its association with mortality in Chinese cities. The study by researchers at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health showed a significant correlation between higher air quality index concentrations and higher mortality rates. The study is the first to provide strong evidence of the burden of air pollution in major Chinese cities, as well as the impacts of air quality and climate change on urban population mortality.
Study authors examined daily air quality data from more than 100 cities in China between 2012 and 2015 and compared the data with mortality numbers available from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Air quality was measured with the air quality index, a pollution yardstick that includes ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. A higher air quality index value indicates a greater amount of pollution.
When researchers compared higher air quality index valued cities with mortality rates, they found that the two measures were significantly correlated. They also confirmed that cities with lower air quality index values had lower mortality rates. This correlation remained significant after researchers adjusted for covariates. Significantly, more than 5 percent of the variation in all-cause mortality could be explained by the difference in air quality index across China.
“Our research shows that air pollution is not just significantly linked to health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and asthma, but also to a significantly higher rate of death,” said Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc, who presented the study and serves as a visiting associate professor at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate professor at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health. “People living in cities across the globe need to know how air pollution can harm them long term. They are the ones who will pay the price of poor air quality if action isn’t taken to clean up their air.”
6 November 2017 – The United Nations Climate Conference opened on Monday in Bonn, Germany, with the aim of a greater ambition for climate action, as the world body’s weather agency issued a stark warning that 2017 is set to be among the three hottest years on record.
The Bonn Conference of the State Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNTCC), informally known as COP 23 and which runs until 17 November, is chaired by Fiji, an island State particularly affected by the impacts of our warming climate.
“The need for urgency is obvious. Our world is in distress from the extreme weather events caused by climate change – destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice, and changes to agriculture that threaten our food security”, said COP 23 President and Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama, at the opening of the conference.
“Our job as leaders is to respond to that suffering with all means available to us. [We] must not fail our people. That means using the next two weeks and the year ahead to do everything we can to make the Paris Agreement work and to advance ambition and support for climate action before 2020.”
Evolution of life in urban environments
Vol. 358, Issue 6363, eaam8327
The extent of urban areas is increasing around the world, and most humans now live in cities. Urbanization results in dramatic environmental change, including increased temperatures, more impervious surface cover, altered hydrology, and elevated pollution. Urban areas also host more non-native species and reduced abundance and diversity of many native species. These environmental changes brought by global urbanization are creating novel ecosystems with unknown consequences for the evolution of life. Here, we consider how early human settlements led to the evolution of human commensals, including some of the most notorious pests and disease vectors. We also comprehensively review how contemporary urbanization affects the evolution of species that coinhabit cities.
A recent surge of research shows that urbanization affects both nonadaptive and adaptive evolution. Some of the clearest results of urban evolution show that cities elevate the strength of random genetic drift (stochastic changes in allele frequencies) and restrict gene flow (the movement of alleles between populations due to dispersal and mating). Populations of native species in cities often represent either relicts that predate urbanization or populations that established after a city formed. Both scenarios frequently result in a loss of genetic diversity within populations and increased differentiation between populations. Fragmentation and urban infrastructure also create barriers to dispersal, and consequently, gene flow is often reduced among city populations, which further contributes to genetic differentiation between populations.
The influence of urbanization on mutation and adaptive evolution are less clear. A small number of studies suggest that industrial pollution can elevate mutation rates, but the pervasiveness of this effect is unknown. A better studied phenomenon are the effects of urbanization on evolution by natural selection. A growing number of studies show that plant and animal populations experience divergent selection between urban and nonurban environments. This divergent selection has led to adaptive evolution in life history, morphology, physiology, behavior, and reproductive traits. These adaptations typically evolve in response to pesticide use, pollution, local climate, or the physical structure of cities. Despite these important results, the genetic basis of adaptive evolution is known from only a few cases. Most studies also examine only a few populations in one city, and experimental validation is rare.
A Common Buckeye Butterfly. The eyespots may be used to scare away predators.
Written by Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
Warmer than usual temperatures during the last half of October and early November brought out unexpected hues of color around New York Harbor. Hoards of butterflies have been fluttering along the edge of the estuary making their way to winter homes.
Unseasonably warm temperatures last weekend brought out large populations of Common Buckeye butterflies (Junonia coenia), cloudless sulphur butteflies (Phoebis sennae), and even a few hardy monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). All were enjoying the sweet nectar of many asters still in bloom along the edge of a relic maritime forest at Sandy Hook National Recreation Area in New Jersey, located at the mouth of New York Harbor.
While many people know that monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles to the mountains of Central Mexico to overwinter, they are not the only butterflies to wander long distances. The Common buckeye butterfly cannot survive cold winters and freezing temperatures around New York harbor, so they migrate south each autumn. The buckeyes often fly south to overwinter in Gulf Coast states like Florida. The buckeyes prefer to migrate along the coast in open areas where the warmth of sun keeps their bodies heated, and important task for a cold-blooded or ectothermic animal, which means an animal’s body temperature is dependent on the outside environment for heat.
Come spring, adult buckeyes fly north to reproduce. The first brood travels in late spring and summer to colonize most of the United States and parts of southern Canada.
The cloudless sulphur is one of New York Harbor’s most common butterflies. It tends to be most seen during its fall southward migration along the coast. The butterfly tends to travel long distances along dunes and forest edges as it travels southward to states in southeastern United States.
Butterflies are on the move, but not for long. A strong cold front this weekend will likely squash most colorful butterfly activity around New York Harbor until next spring. Enjoy it while you can.
While spawning populations of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) are increasing in the Delaware River, the Penobscot River in Maine, and other river systems along the Atlantic Coast from as far south as the Saint Johns in Florida all the way to Newfoundland, Canada, the annual run of spawning shad in the Hudson River continues to decline. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced a fishing ban of shad in 2010, citing declining numbers in the agency's annual surveys. The DEC conducts annual surveys of the spawning stock in the spring and of newborn shad in the fall. Data has remained low. In 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, the juvenile abundance index hit an all-time low. Absolutely more needs to be done to bring back shad populations and an historic fishery to the Hudson River and nearby waters of New York Harbor - JR
American Shad Making A Strong Comeback In The Delaware River
BY NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
| NOVEMBER 1, 2017 | FRESHWATER, SALTWATER.
On the Water Magazine
Biological surveys conducted this year suggest American shad are making a strong comeback in the Delaware River, historically famous for a once-prodigious population of this important fish species, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
Net surveys conducted during the spring resulted in the ninth largest overall haul of migrating adult shad ever recorded, while summer surveys of juvenile shad that hatched this year were the best in the nearly four decades of monitoring for juvenile shad.
“The strong shad spawning run and record-setting juvenile numbers this summer lead us to be very optimistic about the future of shad, a species that is important to the overall ecological health of the Delaware River,” said Commissioner Martin. “We have worked very closely over the years with our partner state and federal agencies in the river basin as well as numerous nonprofit and community groups to restore this species to the Delaware, the largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States.”
A juvenile Black-bellied Plover recently caught a young clam worm in its beak along Sandy Hook Bay, NJ.
Written by Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
Shorebird migration is not over yet. Birds are still in flight to select a worthy coastal home to spend the winter, perhaps even deciding to stay around New York Harbor.
Over the weekend, I spotted a small flock of about 20 or so juvenile black-bellied plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) stopping to rest, relax, and feed before either continuing their winged migration southward or maybe spending the winter around the Hudson-Raritan estuary. The winter range for this plover is extensive, from New England and Nova Scotia to southern South America and everywhere in-between. The birds prefer to winter on coastal ocean beaches or along the shoreline of estuaries where they can easily forage for small polychaete worms, bivalves, and crustaceans.
I first spotted this young group of black-bellied plovers on Friday. They were foraging for small worms during low tide at Horseshoe Cove along Sandy Hook Bay. The next day, the shorebirds were observed a little farther south, resting on a sandbar during high tide in Spermaceti Cove, still located in Sandy Hook Bay.
The birds were relatively easy to recognize. At nearly 12 inches long, black-bellied plovers are the largest of our plovers. They are much larger than their more famous cousin, the piping plover, which measures in at about 7 inches in height. Although black-bellied plovers look similar to American golden plovers, especially in nonbreeding plumage, there are some important differences. According to the Sibley Field Guide to Birds, non-breeding or juvenile black-bellied plovers have a black “armpit,” white belly and white wing-stripes, as opposed to the American golden plover.
The birds I observed in Sandy Hook Bay all appeared to be juveniles, with an additional streaked breast and pale cap. While black-bellied plovers can often be seen migrating from late July to early December, the adults or nonbreeding birds are usually the first to start fall migration, with juveniles appearing mainly from late September on.
The birds nest on dry ground in the high tundra, often above lowland lakes and rivers. Once the eggs are hatched, the adults will migrate soon after to escape the cold winds of a brief breeding season up in the Arctic. Within hours of hatching, young shorebirds are walking around, foraging for food and usually able to fend for themselves.
For many shorebirds species that nest in the Arctic, the adults depart first, and the young birds will set out later by themselves. There is often a full month or more between the peak passage of adults and the peak passage of juveniles.
The question is, with no adults to guide or supervise them, how do young black-bellied plovers know where to go to wintering grounds they have never been to before?
Did the flock of juvenile black-bellied plovers I observed last weekend get lost during their long southbound migration, or maybe Sandy Hook Bay is somehow encoded in their brains as an important migratory stopover site. Only time will tell. No doubt, though, migration can be an exciting time. It’s best to always keep binoculars and a field guide handy when spotting a flock of unexpected shorebirds around New York Harbor.
Red Maple leaves turning red or yellow or both in autumn.
The color is dependent on how much light a leaf receives. Bright light favors red.
If you spend most of your time right along the beach, perhaps fishing, surfing, or seeking a flawless seashell, you will be forgiven for not knowing fall foliage is peaking right now around New York Harbor.
Okay, sure. Our coastline doesn’t usually have the typical variety of vibrant maples and other trees that provide colorful hues in northern forests like the Catskills or the Green Mountains of Vermont. Much of our dune and beach landscape around New York Harbor lies with the subtle shades of marsh grasses, sumacs, sassafras, Virginia creeper, phragmites, and even poison ivy, which turns a lovely wine red come fall.
But that doesn’t mean you have to travel far to see classic fall color. Just a few miles inland to nearby parks and preserves is where autumnal beauty lies from a variety of trees. Some of my favorite places include Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Blue Heron Park in Staten Island; and Cheesequake State Park in Middlesex County and Freneau Woods Park in Aberdeen Township, the last two located in New Jersey. Everyone has a favorite place they can easily add to a list. Go there now to see autumn leaf color before it fades away.
Fall foliage usually peaks around much of New York Harbor in the last week of October or the first week of November. Mother Nature, however, can be unpredictable. This year it seems the best fall color is about a week behind, probably due to an unseasonably warm October and a late summer drought, which can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks.
How cities are defending themselves against sea level rise
By WAYNE PARRY
Oct. 27, 2017
AP - Associated Press
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — Superstorm Sandy and a series of lesser coastal storms since that 2012 disaster compelled some coastal communities to defend themselves by elevating homes and critical infrastructure, building sand dunes, widening beaches and erecting or raising sea walls.
But as sea levels continue to rise around the world, that’s not an option in large cities, where skyscrapers can’t be elevated and subway and train tunnels act as turbocharged flumes when millions of gallons of stormwater rush through them.
The answer, some cities have decided, is a mixture of hard and soft barriers; green infrastructure to capture rain and absorb storm water; temporary storage space for runoff; and drastically increased pumping measures.
Here’s a look at some steps being taken by cities around the world to address the issue:
Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says
University of Melbourne paper combines latest understanding on Antarctica and current emissions projection scenarios
By Michael Slezak
Thursday 26 October 2017 07.00 EDT
Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a new paper that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios.
It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2C”.
In 2016, Robert DeConto from the University of Massachusetts Amherst revealed that Antarctica could contribute to massive sea level rise much earlier than thought, suggesting ice sheet collapse would occur sooner and identifying a new process where huge ice cliffs would disintegrate.
But that paper only examined the impact of Antarctica on sea level rise, ignoring other contributions, and didn’t examine the details of what measures society needed to take to avoid those impacts.
By Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
This time of year, the coast is not where numerous people visit to see magnificent fall foliage. And for good reason. Unlike many inland places, a beach around New York or New Jersey frequently does not have a variety or abundance of maples, beeches, birches, or other trees that provide leaves with impressive autumn color.
Yet, the one exception would be sumac, a member of the cashew family. There are several varieties commonly found around New York Harbor:
Don’t worry, these are not poison sumac. There are around 250 different plants in the genus Rhus, and poison sumac (Rhus vernix) is rarely encountered. Poison sumac is often discovered as a small, straggly tree or shrub in shaded wooded swamps, bogs or wet woods, not near sandy beaches. Poison sumac has white berries and common species of sumac to NY Harbor have red berries.
Together, winged, staghorn and smooth sumacs prefer to grow in sunny open areas. These are tough plants, perfect for the harsh sandy dune environment near a coastline.
These small trees or shrubs provide pleasant fall foliage. Rich green leaves during the summer turn a bright red or orange with autumn winds. Even the plant’s fruit gets into the action. Berries become clusters of bright red cones, called a pancile, and are ripe for picking. Back in the day, Native American Indians of the Northeast made a tart lemonade-like drink from the fruit. It must have been a real treat from just drinking water or tea nearly all the time. Native people might also have mixed dried sumac leaves with tobacco to smoke in their pipes.
Several species of sumacs are native to southern Canada and the Eastern United States. I find there is an abundant population growing all around New York Harbor, especially at Sandy Hook NRA. They make excellent windbreakers and help with erosion control, important natural tools to protect an ever-changeable shoreline.
But the benefits do not stop here. The berries from sumac also help to supply food for wild birds, including robins, bluebirds, mocking birds, waxwings, yellow-rumped warblers, and various other species that eat berries in the winter.
Be alert of poison sumac, but don’t be afraid of all plants with the word "sumac." Winged, staghorn and other species of sumac are not poisonous and provides beautiful autumn color along the coast.
WATCH: Whale frolics at the Jersey Shore
By Taylor Tiamoyo Harris
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Updated on October 26, 2017 at 10:07 AM
Posted on October 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM
Swimsuit season may be over, but it may not be time to leave the beach just yet. In fact, if you're looking to spot a whale, now may be the best time to head to a beach in Atlantic or Monmouth counties.
Photographer Bill McKim captured a humpback whale within 100 yards of the shore of Belmar Beach on Sunday.
On Facebook, the Cape May Whale Watcher group posted pictures of a humpback whale and 50 dolphins on Friday.
"It's a rare and beautiful thing and something that you just have to stop and see." said Bill McKim, the photographer who captured video and photographs of the mammal.
An adult Yellow-rumped Warbler in winter plumage.
If you took a walk like I did last Saturday at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, part of Gateway National Recreation Area and located near the entrance to New York Harbor, you would have noticed small little songbirds flying about the shrubs and trees. Just like people, I suppose they were taking advantage of the sunny and unseasonably warm late October day to rest and refuel before the onset of Sunday’s strong wind and flooding rainstorm.
Yellow-rumped warblers are migrating now. The bird is one of the last warblers to migrate in fall, remaining in northernmost breeding areas well into October.
Yellow-rumped warblers are relatively easy small birds to recognize. As their name suggests, this warbler always seems to be flashing its yellow rump of feathers near the base of its tail as the bird flies or moves about the trees and shrubs around New York Harbor.
Yellow-rumps breed in conifer forests up north during the summer. Come fall they migrate south to open woodlands, gardens, and even thickets near the beach. These little birds never travel too far. Unlike most warblers that migrate to faraway tropical locations for the winter, yellow-rumped warblers overwinter in North America, as far north as New England.
How does this small songbird survive chilly northern winters? While most warblers survive by eating a variety of insects, yellow-rumps have adapted and evolved to eat not only insects, but also a variety of berries, some berries and fruits that most other warblers can't.
You never know what you might find while taking a stroll along the shore. Flotsam and jetsam is not always pretty. Some days you might discover a strange looking fanged tooth skull.
The powerful late October coastal storm that slowly trekked across the Northeast, including New York Harbor, on Sunday and Monday morning gave rise to more than just a month's worth of rain in less than two days. The storm also provided at least one weird beach find.
While taking a walk along the edge of Sandy Hook Bay late in the day on Monday, I came across a toothy skull from the water’s depths. At first glance it looked like the facial remains of a strange, scary sea monster.
But have no fear! This was no missing link to a murder mystery or the remains of a deep-sea monster. Upon further study the skull was just an unfortunate leftover from a recent unknown fishing endeavor.
The brownish skull with spiky teeth in the sand was actually the bones of a bluefish. It looked a little extra creepy because the skull was missing its upper jaw.
The mouth of an adult living bluefish is large and has extremely sharp, ﬂattened, and triangular teeth. The lower jaw is sometimes slightly prominent with strong sharp teeth.
Bluefish, both adolescents and adults, are known for their sharp, fang-like teeth. They have some of the sharpest teeth of any fish along the northeast coast, like a snapping serrated knife. They have razor sharp teeth that can easily cut a finger.
Large numbers of bluefish are on the move now migrating south for the winter to the Carolinas, Florida and other southern waters. Various anglers around New York Harbor and along the northeast coast are catching bluefish before local coastal waters turn cold and the fish disappear. When a person catches a fish, she or he will often clean and gut the fish so remains or the meat can fit inside a cooler to keep it fresh. Fish heads are frequently cut off and discarded as waste. Over time, the flesh of the fish head will be eaten away and the skull and other bones will wash ashore to be found by curious beach walkers.
Thankfully fish heads are not something you’d typically see on a beach all the time. But with the fall run taking place now, the annual migration of striped bass, bluefish and other fish to the southern waters, anything can wash up including heads, tails, and other fishy body parts. Be aware.
Maybe instead of tossing fish heads, anglers should eat 'em up instead. Yum!
10 berries that birds love
These shrubs and trees produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds to your backyard.
By TOM ODER
November 1, 2013, 11:48 a.m.
Mother Nature Network
Have you ever thought about birdscaping your garden? Birdscaping in this case doesn’t mean putting out a lot of feeders with different types of seed. It means planting the types of plants that will attract birds to your garden.
If birdscaping hasn't made it to your gardening to-do list, a good way to get started is by planting berry-producing plants — and now is the perfect time of year to do that. These plants produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds that can turn the garden into a wildlife wonderland.
Here are 10 easy-to-grow berry-producing shrubs, vines and trees that produce berries that birds will love. Most of these plants should grow well throughout the United States, according to Bill Thompson III of Bird Watchers Digest in Marietta, Ohio. Consult with your local nursery or local native plant authority to find species in these plant families that are appropriate for your local region’s soil and climate. The birds listed below are just a sampling of the most common species that each plant attracts, according to Thompson.
Globe had 2nd warmest year to date, 4th warmest September on record
Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remains small
October 18, 2017
The equinox on September 22 marked a seasonal milestone for planet Earth. It signified a rapid progression into autumn for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and spring for those “down under” in the Southern Hemisphere.
Let’s dive deeper into our monthly analysis to see how the planet fared for the month and the year to date:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature set in September 2017 was 1.40 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 59.0 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature was the fourth highest for September in the 1880-2017 record. This marked the 41st consecutive September and the 393rd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
Year to date | January through September 2017
The year-to-date average temperature was 1.57 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.5 degrees. This was the second warmest for this period, 0.23 of a degree behind the record set in 2016. Nine of the 10 warmest January-September global temperatures have occurred since 2005, with 1998 as the only exception.
Rivers carry plastic debris into the sea
UFZ researchers have proven that large river systems are the main culprits for plastic pollution in the oceans
press release, 17. October 2017
Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic debris ends up in the sea - a global environmental problem with unforeseeable ecological consequences. The path taken by plastic to reach the sea must be elucidated before it will be possible to reduce the volume of plastic input. To date, there was only little information available on this. It has now been followed up by an interdisciplinary research team who were able to show that plastic debris is primarily carried into the sea by large rivers.
In the meantime, minute plastic particles can be found in the water in virtually every sea and river. This constitutes a serious and growing global environmental problem. There are enormous quantities of input each year and plastic weathers only very slowly. Marine life can be harmed by the tiny plastic particles floating in the water. One example of how this happens is when fish, seabirds or marine mammals mistake the particles for food and consume them. "It is still impossible to foresee the ecological consequences of this. One thing is certain, however: this situation cannot continue," says Dr. Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at the UFZ. "But as it is impossible to clean up the plastic debris that is already in the oceans, we must take precautions and reduce the input of plastic quickly and efficiently."
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell