Between Hurricane Irene, the aftermath and the cleanup, many of us are ready for a bit of fun and relaxation. This weekend's Meadowlands Festival of Birding might be just the ticket if you're up for some outdoors time and an eye-opening experience in one of the state's recovering natural environments. New Jersey Audubon, Hackensack Riverkeeper and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission join forces to organize the annual event and encourage folks to experience nature in the region.
DeKorte Environmental Center in Lyndhurst is home base for Saturday's activities, and the site of several workshops and a keynote talk from America's most prodigious birder. Sandy Komito holds the record for most bird species spotted in a single year, with well over 700, gained through extensive travel. His achievement is the basis of the upcoming movie The Big Year.
Saturday's options also include hikes and boat rides at several locations within the Meadowlands district, including the Mill Creek Marsh trail we featured on Hidden New Jersey last month. Experienced birders (including Ivan) will be on hand to point out interesting avian visitors, with migrants sure to be on the list of birds spotted for the day. You're covered even if you don't have optics of your own -- binoculars will be available for loan.
Sunday's events occur at several notable birding spots in the greater Hackensack watershed, including the Celery Farm, Garret Mountain, Palisades Interstate Park and Laurel Hill County Park.
Be sure to check out the website for additional details, and how to pre-register for the boat cruises and paddling tours.
Hope to see you there!