Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Jersey Birds Winter 2009

I've been remiss here in noting the appearance of the Winter 2009 issue of New Jersey Birds. This is the first online-only issue of the journal. In addition to the normal seasonal reports, it includes an article on NJ's first Long-billed Murrelet. You can find the PDF here.

The decision to make NJB an online journal was, to put it mildly, a controversial one. Personally, I prefer leafing through my stacks of back (print) issues (and do so on a regular basis, between random curiosity, researching a project, and looking up something for NJBRC business). As someone who has written for (and, more importantly, reported sightings to) the journal in the past, I can't help but wonder what the future holds for NJB. I do hope it continues, since it is an essential source of information on the state's birds.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mothy Monday 3: Spring Cankerworm Moth

Take Two
Originally uploaded by ammodramus88
I'm kind of surprised that I haven't yet seen a Green Cloverworm Moth this year (they are fairly hardy). But now it's March and, right on schedule, a Spring Cankerworm Moth showed up a few days ago. I also found a Phigalia sp. (possibly The Half-wing, or possibly not) over the weekend; again, Phigalias (Phigaliae?) tend to show up early in the season.

Spring Cankerworm Moths are unassuming gray Geometers that hold their wings more like Noctuids (i.e., not spread like a pinned specimen as many Geometers do but folded over the moth's back).

George Wenzelburger

Yesterday, Bob Dodelson reported the passing of George Wenzelburger to the JerseyBirds listserv. George had been ill for some time, so this news was not exactly a surprise, but it was still very sad news.

I did not know George well or long. I never had the opportunity to go birding with him. I made his acquaintance when I became involved with the NJ Bird Records Committee. During George's last term on the committee, spring meetings were customarily held at his house in Freehold, where he and his wife were the best of hosts. I wish I could say something more profound, but that will probably come from those who knew him best. I can only say I deeply regret his passing and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

If you have a stack of old issues of (Records of) New Jersey Birds, you might pull out volume 29, number 4 (the winter 2003-2004 issue), and read George's writeup on NJ's first (and so far only) Masked Booby.

Rest in peace.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mothy Monday 2: Unidentified Noctuid

First Moth of 2009
Originally uploaded by ammodramus88
On this snowy, blustery, not at all springy March day, it's probably appropriate to post the first moth of the season. It's a Noctuid, perhaps from the Eupsilia genus, but beyond that I dare not go. Moth identification makes Empidonax flycatchers look easy (because Emps sing and call, at least). The first moth of the season is still a sign of spring, though, just as much as the Red-winged Blackbirds setting up shop on the creek out back.