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Tag Archive | White Tail Deer

Teaneck’s Tokaloka Park!


Tokaloka Park Entrance at Maitland Avenue and Jefferson Street

Teaneck’s Tokaloka Park is a remnant 10.58 acre deciduous wooded wetland. The preserve is completely surrounded  by dense housing development making the park a true forest island.

Tokaloka Park

Tokaloka Park was once part of 50 acres of land owned by Christian Cole who was one of the township’s first council members. The land that ultimately became Tokaloka Park consists of over 70% of forested wetlands and was considered unsuitable for development when suburban sprawl began in the 1930s. The name of the park was derived from a large pond that once existed in the park called Tokaloka. Tokaloka pond may be gone, but a vernal pond still exists near the western border.

Vernal Pond in Winter

Below is a picture of the same vernal pond taken in the summer months.

Dried Vernal Pond in summer

Many signs exist in this nature preserve indicating that the land is a remnant forested wetland. For example, skunk cabbage is abundant throughout most of the woodland. Skunk cabbage is an obligate plant-meaning that it is found growing in wetlands 99% of the time.

Skunk Cabbage

Another indicator that wetlands abound is the presence of  several buttressed tree trunks. Trees may develop enlarged trunks  in response to frequent inundation.

Buttressed tree trunk

Finally, there were several smaller vernal ponds present in the forest.

Small Vernal Pond

Trail

As of this writing the only official trail is a gently sloping path which leads from the entrance to the park at Maitland Avenue and Jefferson Street to its terminus at Dearborn Street. However, future plans, as indicated in the picture listed below, show a possible trail traversing the northern portion of the preserve including a loop around the vernal pond. This trail is recommended to have interpretive signage which would be a real plus in educating the public the value of this remnant natural area.

Tokoloka Park Trail Map

These changes were proposed in the 2008 Township of Teaneck comprehensive plan for recreation (this plan is no longer available online). The short (estimated .15 of a mile) existing trail only encourages you to really take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique woodland. The forest is always changing as indicated in the pictures below of the same scene taken at summer and winter.

Tokaloka Park Summer View

Tokaloka Park Winter View

Flora

In addition to skunk cabbage, the forest features a nice diversity of plants. They include:

Solomon Seal

Fauna

The most amazing and unexpected event occurred last time I visited. Several White-tailed deer were present near the main vernal pond and took off with their white tail in the air as I arrived near them. What a surprise to find in a forest island completely surrounded by development!

Directions:

Click here

Feel free to comment below with any bird sightings, interesting plants, memories or suggestions! Thank you and have fun exploring!

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James A. McFaul Environmental Center!


James A McFaul Environmental Center

The James A McFaul Environmental Center is an 81 acre nature preserve located in Wyckoff, NJ.

James McFaul Environmental Center

The environmental center was originally a pig farm and was acquired by Bergen County in 1962 with assistance from Green Acres.  It was named the James A. McFaul Environmental Center in 1990 to honor a Bergen County parks director who did much to acquire this beautiful nature preserve.

Pond

The 2.5 acre pond was created in 1966 by impounding a Goffle Brook tributary.

Goffle Brook Tributary

A boardwalk extends out over wetlands and provides views of the pond.

Environmental Boardwalk

The educational center, which looks out into the pond, includes freshwater aquariums, educational signage and live native animal displays.

Life in a Pond Educational Display

There are outdoor animal shelters which features Porcupine, White-Tailed DeerGolden Eagle, Red Fox, Eastern Screech Owls and Red-Tailed Hawk exhibits among others.

Porcupine

Outdoor Turtle Display

In addition to live animal displays, the James A. McFaul Environmental Center provides much needed habitat to a multitude of birds and other native wildlife such as:

Mourning Dove

Brown-Headed Cowbird

Canada Goose

White-Tailed Deer

Wild Turkey

Eastern Chipmunk

Muskrat

Near the entrance to the environmental center, there are Rhododendron and seasonal Daffodil gardens to be enjoyed.

Gardens

Nature Trail

Welcome to the Nature Center!

The preserve features a 2/3 of a mile interpretive nature trail which loops around a seasonal swamp and upland.

Deciduous wooded wetlands

As you wind along the path, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as White-Tailed Deer, Eastern Chipmunks and Red-Tailed Hawks. Frequent signage appears on the trail to help the hiker to identify the surrounding flora and fauna.

Lowland Habitat Interpretive Signage

Tree Cavity Interpretive Signage

Flora includes the below among others:

Check out Plant Communities of New Jersey.

NJ’s geology, topography and soil, climate, plant-plant and plant-animal relationships, and the human impact on the environment are all discussed in great detail. Twelve plant habitats are described and the authors were good enough to put in examples of where to visit!

Click here for more information!

Want to check out the James A. McFaul Environmental Center for yourself? Click here for directions (or put this address in your GPS: 150 Crescent Ave. Wyckoff, NJ 07481)!

Feel free to comment below with any bird sightings, interesting plants, memories or suggestions! Thank you and have fun exploring!

Check out the latest bird sightings here!

Pascack Brook County Park Update


Pascack Brook County Park

On the weekend of May 15-May 16, 2010, over 80 volunteers got together thanks to the collaboration of Bergen SWAN, United Water NJ, Pascack Sustainability Group, Rutgers Water Resources Program and Bergen County Parks Department to plant 60 new native trees and  75 native shrubs over a 10,000 square foot area at the main pond at the 79 acre Pascack Brook County Park. Native trees planted included Red Maple, Green Ash, River Birch and American Sycamore among others.

The main pond at Pascack Brook County Park

A month and change after the planting NJURBANFOREST took a stroll at the park to see the fruits of the labor. The new trees look great! The new trees and shrubs act as a buffer to protect the water quality of the pond. The pond was created from an impoundment of a small tributary that leads to Pascack Brook one mile from where the brook enters the Oradell Reservoir.

Newly Planted Trees

American Sycamore

After admiring the new plantings, I took the trail leading into a forest located to the west of the main pond.

I came upon another pond where the sound of bullfrogs filled the air. Turning around I met an unexpected visitor.

White Tail Deer

Though you may not be able to recognize it due to the photo suffering from blurryitis, the visitor was a white tail deer. He was a hungry guy. Bergen SWAN is currently planning a “Planting in the Park II”. This planting will focus on adding more wildflowers and grasses to the banks of the main pond.

Diamond Brook Park in Glen Rock!


Sometimes just finding a forest where you would not expect one is it’s own reward. Such is the case with Diamond Brook Park in Glen Rock, NJ.

Diamond Brook Park consists of an estimated 15 acres of remnant deciduous wooded wetlands.  The park has Diamond Brook to its west, NJ Transit tracks to its east, Route 208 to its south and dense residential development to its north.

Trails

The park features three trails which are maintained by Eagle Scouts. The red trail is .4 of a mile,  the yellow is .13 of a mile and the blue trail is .21 of a mile. The yellow trail experiences seasonal flooding depending on the time of year you visit. The blue trail leads to an old railroad freight train turntable (used to rotate freight cars) which was once the largest turntable east of the Mississippi River. The freight turntable was used by the Erie Railroad Company until a fire occurred in 1912. The land was not used again for 40 years except for displaced residents who inhabited the forest during the Great Depression.  The land was sold to the town of Glen Rock in 1954 and was formally dedicated in 1959.

One of the neat things I found in this suburban forest was Ground Pine-something I had not previously seen outside the deep forest.

Ground Pine

Dense beds of Skunk Cabbage appear near Diamond Brook every spring. Black Bears, which love skunk cabbage, would have a feast. Speaking of bears, fauna that has been spotted in Diamond Brook Park include:

Diamond Brook, a tribuary of the Passaic River, flows on the western border of the park. The brook is spring fed with its headwaters located north of Glen Rock in Ridgewood. The brook follows a winding two mile course before its confluence with the Passaic River.  Diamond Brook was once called Bass Brook due to the good fishing that was once found there.  In the 1870’s, the Marinus Lumber Mill built a water wheel on the brook. When the mill was later torned down, the water wheel was buried beneath a street and is still there today.

Diamond Brook

Location

Diamond Brook Park is located at the end of Doremus Avenue and West Main Street in Glen Rock.  The park is part of Glen Rock’s Greenway.

Feel free to comment below with any bird sightings, interesting plants, memories or suggestions! Thank you and have fun exploring!

Ridgewood’s Dunham Trail!


Dunham Trail Village of Ridgewood

Dunham Trail Village of Ridgewood

Welcome to Ridgewood’s Dunham Trail!

The Dunham Trail is about 1/4 of a mile (one way) and takes the hiker through an estimated 9.61 acres of deciduous forest and wooded wetlands.  The trail is named  after Dr. Dunham who was a nature consultant for the Ridgewood school district. The Dunham trail is owned by the village and maintained by the Ridgewood Wildscape Association as one of ten wildscape areas found in the village. The Ridgewood Wildscape Association helps to raise awareness for the remaining natural areas in the township.

Ho-Ho-Kus Brook

The trail is bordered by the Ho-Ho-Kus brook to the east, dense residential development to the west, Grove Street to the south and Spring Ave to the north.

The Dunham trail is flat and follows the artificial path of the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook (a tributary of the Saddle River) for its entire length and features uplands and an estimated 3.6 acres of remnant wetlands. The wetlands are found near the Grove Street entrance. Check out Eastern Deciduous Forest Ecology and Wildlife Conservation for more information on your local woods.

Some notes of interest on the trail include sandstone which was mined from Totowa, NJ which was placed alongside of the Dunham Trail for unknown reasons.

Sandstones mined from Totowa

The trail also features several massive American Sycamores that are at least two hundred years old found near the Spring Avenue entrance.

Massive American Sycamore

Other flora includes:

Trout Lily

Common Blue Violet

Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe

Check out Plant Communities of New Jersey.

NJ’s geology, topography and soil, climate, plant-plant and plant-animal relationships, and the human impact on the environment are all discussed in great detail. Twelve plant habitats are described and the authors were good enough to put in examples of where to visit!

Click here for more information!

Animals that have been observed on the Dunham Trail include:

Mallard on Ho-Ho-Kus Brook

Downy Woodpecker

The Dunham trail ends at Spring Avenue.

Ridgewood Dunham Trail

The Dunham trail is located between Grove Street and Spring Avenue along the Ho Ho Kus brook and the public service right-of-way. Parking is available on South Irving Street. My hope is this post inspires you to check out the Dunham Trail for yourself!

Check out the official Ridgewood Wildscape Youtube video of the Dunham Trail!

Feel free to comment below with any bird sightings, interesting plants, memories or suggestions! Thank you and have fun exploring!

Click Here to check out the latest bird sightings on the Dunham Trail!

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