Memorial Fund

The family of Charles Kontos has asked that everyone consider making a donation to The Nature Conservancy in the memory of Charlie.

The Nature Conservancy
200 Pottersville Road
Chester, NJ 07930

TNC's website can be found at

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

R.I.P. Charlie Kontos

In terrible news, Scarlet Knight-Herons member Charlie Kontos passed away earlier this week. Charlie was a 2nd-year student in the Ecology and Evolution graduate program at Rutgers. You can view his fisher website at

Charlie will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him. He was always wearing a smile and his positive, outgoing attitude were contagious.

Funeral arrangments are tentative right now, but the dates are as follows:
Tuesday: viewing at Costello-Greiner Funeral Home in Woodbridge, NJ
Wednesday: funeral

Charlie´s family has asked that no flowers be sent - a memorial fund will be created in Charlie´s name. Further details to come for those who are interested.

RIP, buddy. I don´t know how we´re going to stay sane during those long World Series drives without you.

Derek's Review

The newest Scarlet Knight-Heron has posted about the WSB experience on his Maine Outdoors Journal blog. You can find it here.

Wantage Grasslands

This is it!

With less than 7 hours until the 2010 World Series of Birding, teams are gathering in their war rooms and going over potential strategies. How many teams will start at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge? It's been a staple in the past, but new regulations mean teams will have to walk in from the road as opposed to being able to drive in. That may change some game plans and send teams elsewhere.

What about the middle of the day? Our current plan is to head south from Sussex County until we hit Heislerville Wildlife Management Area, but strong migration and impressive reports from migrant traps has us hesitating and considering other options. There can't be any second guessing once we make our decision, though. Every second counts.

Piping Plover, Photo by Bill Lynch (c) 2010

Please consider supporting our team and the cause of conservation in New Jersey by donating! You can use the PayPal link on the right or donate directly to one of our team members. ALL donations will go directly to the New Jersey Audubon Society.

Thanks for your support, everyone! Wish us luck. We'll have reports and results posted here following the big day. Follow @woodcreeper and @Billtacular on Twitter for updates during and following the event.


Scouting continued last weekend as we (Bill and Brian) took a trip up to Sussex county to run through the early morning part of our route. We started the day at Cat Swamp in High Point State Park. Lots of woodpecker activity, including some very active Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and a Hairy Woodpecker (which we inexplicably missed last year). Brian also had a Purple Finch flyover. A juvenile Bald Eagle and a handful of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets were also seen and heard near the road.

At Thunder Mountain Road we found 6-8 Hooded Mergansers along with a trio of male Wood Ducks trying to "woo" a female. We also spotted (and eventually heard) a Red-Shouldered Hawk soaring above the water.

Both species of nuthatches were joined by a singing Yellow-Throated Warbler at the Blewett Tract. We also had Golden-Crowned Kinglet and a Belted Kingfisher there. This was the location last year where we had a singing Swainson's Thrush, along with a Golden-Winged Warbler we decided not to count due to the overlap in songs between Golden- and Blue-Winged species.

As migration continues, more and more residents will start to settle in, and we'll be able to pin down our exact route. Our current plan is to be out of the north around 10am and heading to Heislerville, a bayshore location we didn't work into our route last year.

T-Minus 38 Days

Can you believe it's been a year already?

The 2010 World Series of Birding is just around the corner, and the Scarlet Knight-Herons are back for another go. This year we've added a 5th team member, Derek Lovitch of He'll join Bill, Brian, Charlie, and David as they try to top last year's total of 178 species.

Early spring scouting has begun. Brian has been in northern NJ searching for raptor nests, and Bill will join him this weekend to start looking and listening for breeding songbirds. While many of the breeding bird locations have been pinned down over the years, there are always a few that give WSB teams trouble, and now is the time to scout possible alternatives to the "tried and true" route.

Lots of questions still remain for our team - where will we start this year? The usual starting point, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, will be open only to foot traffic this year. That could cost teams valuable time. It may become a necessity, though, if the night birds found there aren't breeding or calling in other convenient locations. Our timing will need to be tweaked this year as well, as we ended up in Belleplain mid-day last WSB, with very few birds moving about or vocalizing. The next few weeks are when the event is won or lost - and we've got lots of logistics and scouting to keep us busy until May 15th.

Please help us out by donating - you can use the PayPal link to the right of this page or contact any member of the team directly. All donations will go to conservation efforts. Last year we were able to raise $1000 for the Ecology & Evolution Graduate Student Association of Rutgers University. Pretty exciting!

Thanks for reading, everyone! Stay tuned for more updates!