Watch for Broad-winged Hawks in open swirling groups called “kettles” anywhere there’s an open view of the sky. Look up often, especially when winds are from the NW! Several nearby hawk watches are often staffed with volunteer counters. The closest is Stateline Lookout right off the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Alpine. Others are at Hook Mountain in Rockland Lake S. P. (NY), and Montclair Hawk Watch. Other official HMANA [Hawk Migration Assoc. of N. America] sites are at Fire Island, Chimney Rock, and world-famous Hawk Mountain (PA) and Cape May (for directions and more info visit www.njaudubon.org).
Northwest winds will also favor Warbler sightings during the peak of the southbound migration. Check TNC often! You can still spot a Hummingbird at jewel weed, impatiens, and other flowers. Monarch Butterflies and several Dragonfly species head south for the season as well. The ones who succeed begin the next generation in the spring. Look for white blooms of Turtlehead on the DeFilippi trail, and for red Cardinal Flower near the old dam on the Little- Chism Trail. Joe-Pye-weeds (lavender), New York Ironweed (purple), and White Snakeroot are also still flowering. At dusk over Pfister’s Pond, watch for the last of the Little Brown and Big Brown Bats as they feast on 500 to 1,000 insects per hourundefinedeach bat! They will be heading to caves for the winter as the insects disappear for the season.
Eastern Box Turtles seek their hibernacul (a burrow or deep leaf mound) that will keep them safe from the upcoming freezing weather. Bullfrogs and Painted Turtles should still be active in Pfister’s Pond. Keep your windows open at night and enjoy the serenade of Katydids and many Crickets. It is possible to hear up to seven species in a few minutes. White Wood-Asters and Gray Goldenrod will be flowering on every trail.
If we get some good rains, look for (but please don’t disturb) many fungi: Chicken-of-the-woods, Bearded Tooth Hen-of-the-woods, and Oyster Mushrooms, Showy Flamecap, Giant Puffballs and various Russulas.
Late September or early October is the time to be by Pfister’s Pond about a half-hour before dusk. Sit quietly and you may witness Herons, Kingfishers, and up to several hundred waterfowl (mostly Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Canada Geese with perhaps a few Black Ducks, Greenwinged Teal or a Pied-billed Grebe) as they fly in to roost. The unexpected may appear as wellundefineda roosting Osprey, a Bittern, Falcon, Owl, Bat, or Muskrat. The same phenomenon occurs at the Celery Farm in Allendale.
Check online to see when the the full moon is in September. Mercury, Venus and Saturn are “morning stars” this month, while Jupiter and Mars are hidden behind the sun. Click here to see when the Autumnal Equinox is.