Raccoon Ridge Raptors

Click here to view The Raptor Trust's website

Click here to make a donation directly to The Raptor Trust on behalf of the team!

If you would prefer to make a pledge to The Raptor Trust on behalf of the team, and pay later by check, please send an email to team captain Steve Bagen at steve.bagen@njaudubon.org

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Dear Friends, Supporters and Donors:

Another World Series of Birding is in the books, and despite more or less an entire day of adverse weather conditions (probably even worse than previous years, which is saying a lot!), the Raccoon Ridge Raptors were able to complete the event in high spirits and tally a very respectable 81 species for the day. This put us in 3rd place in the Swarovski Carbon Footprint Cup division of the event, which as you may know is open only to teams willing to forgo the use of any form of motorized transportation during the 24 hours of competition.

Although the overcast skies resulted in some very poor conditions for viewing and identifying birds, we were grateful to have a brief six-hour window without rain in the afternoon, and managed to cover 17 miles on our bikes - before the heavens opened up yet again. But unfortunately since the forecast continued to call for severe storms (with the possibility of hail, damaging winds and even the threat of tornadoes!), we decided against completing the rest of our usual bike route, which would have taken us further away from our home base at Worthington State Forest Campground, but which would also have allowed us to visit some more diverse habitats and no doubt find additional species. We also ended up covering almost 5 miles on foot, most of which was completed in drizzle and scattered showers…

However even in these conditions, Old Mine Road is a very special place in Spring, and there were many highlights of course. We saw and/or heard 20 species of warblers between us, most of them breeders in this neck of the woods like the area specialty Cerulean Warbler, but also Canada, Wilson’s, Tennessee, and Bay-breasted! Great looks at two (and possibly more) Bay-breasted Warblers was probably our highlight of the day, as none of the team members had ever see this species on Old Mine Road before. Some of the bad luck we had with the weather was offset by some good fortune with a couple of previously-scouted nesting sites. The Bald Eagle nest we had found three weeks before the event had become completely obscured by foliage, and as were straining to try and get a glimpse through the leaves, what should fly over us but an adult Bald Eagle! We had also scouted a Black Vulture nest inside an old man-made structure, but again it was going to be unlikely that the birds themselves would appear during our short visit to the location. Much to our surprise a Turkey Vulture flew in and landed nearby, giving one of the Black Vulture parents no choice by to fly out from the structure and convince its cousin to move along!

On the bizarre side was the Solitary Sandpiper which flew in as were riding along Old Mine Road and decided to alight on a metal barrier across one of the muddy trailheads where sparrows and blackbirds were feeding. This is a species we had been hoping to find in the mudflats in the middle of the Delaware River but had missed!

In the critter department the highlight was no doubt the three black bear spring cubs we found fast asleep half-way up a tree but visible from Old Mine Road. Mom was nowhere to be found, although she was no doubt nearby…which was fine with us!

All in all, not such a bad day given the conditions, and most of all we had a lot of fun finding the avian treasure which the Delaware Water Gap always offers this time of year.

We would very much like to thank you all for your support and generosity! You have helped fund an amazing organization: The Raptor Trust!

So until next year…same time, same place…

Steve Bagen, Maura Griffin, Scott Wood, and Chris Soucy

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The World Series of Birding is a competitive bird watching "Big Day" in which teams have 24 hours to count as many bird species as they can identify by sight or sound within the state of New Jersey. Once again this year, The Raccoon Ridge Raptor Team with be raising money for The Raptor Trust.

The team competes in the Swarovski Carbon Footprint Cup category and completes the event entirely on bicycle and on foot!

Team members include Raptor Trust director, Chris Soucy and three birders who are part of the prestigious Raccoon Ridge Raptor hawk watch: Steve Bagen, Maura Griffin, and Scott Wood.

Our geographical focus is along the Delaware River in the Worthington State Forest and Delaware Water Gap area.

Last year the team cataloged a respectable 91 species while cycling and birding in adverse rainy conditions.

Help support Raptor Trust and the team on May 12th while they battle the elements, hunt for hawks, watch for warblers, scout for sandpipers and keep their eyes open for eagles.

Click here to view The Raptor Trust's website

Click here to make a donation directly to The Raptor Trust on behalf of the team!

If you would prefer to make a pledge to The Raptor Trust on behalf of the team, and pay later by check, please send an email to team captain Steve Bagen at steve.bagen@njaudubon.org

As always, thank you for your support and generosity!




Team Members
Steve Bagen
Maura Griffin
Chris Soucy
Kenneth Wood