Barbour's Pond

Barbour's Pond
Barbour's Pond - November 11, 2013

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Questions and oppositon to deer hunt

As the activists mobilize in opposition to the Garret Mountain deer hunt, it's time to correct some fallacies in their arguments. We're sure Marc Weiss of NJ Bow Hunters has encountered this type of opposition before, has remedies for all the problems. There is a lot of education needed to ensure those opposing the hunt know why this is desperately needed. Construction of Four Seasons is not a reason for overpopulation of deer on the mountain as some believe. Four Seasons was built in a rock quarry, not a forest or meadow on the mountain. That old quarry was there for decades. Deer do not eat rock. They did not feed in that quarry. Most of the nature-loving opposition to the deer hunt doesn't understand what the deer have done to other wildlife as well as the trees and plants that make up the forest on Garret Mountain. It seems the only nature these people love are what they perceive to be big, warm and fuzzy. Do they love the birds that can no longer nest and reproduce at Garret because the understory has been virtually eliminated? Do they love the trees and the shade and color they give the mountain? If they do, do they realize that as old trees die, new ones aren't there to grow because the deer have eaten all the saplings? Do they love all the other plants and wildlife that has been eliminated from a once healthy forest? Or maybe they love the fact that friends and family can contract Lyme and other tick-born diseases while visiting Garret Mountain, that these large herds of deer spread.
The deer problem on Garret Mountain as well as throughout NJ has been caused by governments taking years to address the problems the deer have caused, allowing herds to grow to numbers that their territory cannot sustain. Deer do not have any natural predators, like wolves and coyotes, on the mountain as they do elsewhere. 20+ years ago you had to look hard to find a white-tailed deer on the mountain, now some days you can see upwards of 100 alone in Rifle Camp Park. The deer have been fed illegally by people who thought they were helping. It's against a county park ordinance to interfere with or harm wildlife. These people need to know they contributed to dozens of fawns and sub-ordinate deer starving to death last year because the dominant deer ate at these "feeding stations".
We applaud the Freeholders of Passaic County for taking a stance and stand by their decision to save Garret Mountain. We have confidence the Passaic County Sheriff's Dept. will maintain the safety needed to get this done.
Read about some opposition in The Record's article Opposition to deer hunt mounts . Email any comments to

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Garret Mountain's Deer Herd to be Culled by Bow Hunters

Passaic County Freeholders have an agreement with the United Bow Hunters of New Jersey to reduce the population of the deer herd on Garret Mountain. A decade plus of over-browsing by the deer, have caused the forest in Garret Mountain Reservation and Rifle Camp Park to be severely damaged. Read about it here Garret Mountain’s big deer herd to be culled by bow hunters . New Jersey Audubon's evaluation of Garret Mountain says, "One of the greatest threats the park faces comes from its extremely dense white-tailed deer population. This problem is more recent in the Garret Mountain IBA than in other urban parks in NJ, and therefore more easily reversible. However, the damage being inflicted by extensive browsing of deer is severe and must be remedied before the site becomes permanently damaged. Examples of native understory plants can still be seen, however the impacts of white-tailed deer and their systematic destruction of this important component of the forest is evident." Read their report here Important Bird and Birding Areas- Garret Mountain .
Passaic County Parks Dept. has stopped the feeding of deer on Garret Mountain. Feeding the deer herd bread contributed to at least 20 deaths last year, mostly young deer. 18 young deer were found dead in the parks on the mountain. Many more died outside the park. Problems start because feeding congregate deer into unnaturally high densities. As many as 75 deer were seen along the road in Rifle Camp Park feeding on bread. These high deer densities can spread diseases among deer. Feeding can cause aggression in the herd, wasting deer's vital energy reserves and leading to injury or death; as well as using up critical fat reserves as deer expend energy traveling to and from the feed site. Feeding can deny access to food for subordinate deer and fawns.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hackensack - Ridgewood Christmas Bird Count at Garret Mountain

Saturday December 19, Linda Mullaney and Chris Takacs participated in the Hackensack - Ridgewood Christmas Bird Count, which contains a section of Garret Mountain Reservation and nearby Levine Reservoir in Paterson. The highlight of the early morning was a Hermit Thrush seen feeding on the SE corner of the Overlook Meadow feeding on some small black berries.
Garret Mountain Reservation list:
125 Canada Goose
3 Red-tailed Hawk
3 Mourning Dove
6 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpecker
2 Blue Jay
202 American Crow
5 Tufted Titmouse
4 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Fox Sparrow
10 White-throated Sparrow
116 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
30 American Goldfinch
10 House Sparrow

Levine Reservoir was frozen but held some Gulls while the trees along the road had 2 Brown Creepers.
Levine Reservoir list is :
1 Red-tailed Hawk
13 Ring-billed Gull
17 Herring Gull
3 Great Black-backed Gull
4 Rock Pigeon
2 American Crow
2 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Brown Creeper

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Deer problems in Woodland Park

Passaic Valley Today has an article on the current deer problems in Woodland Park. The problems in Woodland Park are related to the overpopulation of deer on Garret Mountain, within Rifle Camp Park and Garret Mountain Reservation. Read the whole story

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Barbour's Pond gets stocked Tuesday

On Tuesday, November 24, the state will stock Barbour's Pond with 160 14- to 18-inch year-old rainbow trout according to The Record's "Hole of the Week" and Mark J. Czerwinski. Read the "Hole of the Week" by using this link Hole of the Week. Fishermen please remember to remove all fishing line, lures, bobbers, bait cups and other trash. Lots of receptacles are provided by the park as well as local fishermen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bald Eagle over Riflecamp

This afternoon a juvenile Bald Eagle was seen over Riflecamp Park around 1PM. It was photographed by one of the park's local photographers.
Photo credits: Snowface

Monday, November 16, 2009

Warm weather brings 'em out

It was a beautiful 50-60 degree November morning at Garret Mountain Reservation. Lots of birds around as well as a few migrating Red-tailed Hawks. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were seen all around the park. 10 Hooded Mergansers dove on Barbour's Pond. Song, White-throated, Fox, Field, and Chipping were seen today too. A Red-breasted Nuthatch was seen in the pines of the New St. Reservoir as was a Cooper's Hawk. Purple Finch was seen in the wet area north of the pond and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker by the gazebo on the south end of the pond. 10 turtles were out sunning on Barbour's Pond. The highlight of the day was the Eastern Box Turtle seen along Benson Dr. near the Stoney Brook Picnic Grove.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Garret Mountain Birding Highlights

A red-breasted Nuthatch was seen and heard at the Great Notch Reservoir. Garret Mountain Reservation's highlights included 5 Hooded Mergansers, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creeper, 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets, numerous White-throated Sparrows and Juncos and 300+ Crows around Barbour's Pond.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hoodies are back!

Hooded Mergansers are back on Barbour's Pond. 6 males and 3 females were seen late in the morning of 11/12/09 on a walk around the pond. Juncos and White-throated Sparrows are seen around all Garret Mountain Reservation. Other birds seen this morning were Blue Jays, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker. Ring-necked Ducks are on the Great Notch Reservoir.

Why feeding deer is unhealthy for them

Many people think of feeding deer like feeding the birds. But there are some critical differences that make feeding deer unhealthy for the deer population, for plants near the feed site and for passing motorists.

Problems start because feed sites congregate deer into unnaturally high densities. These high deer densities can spread diseases among deer. Feeding can cause aggression in the herd, wasting deer's vital energy reserves and leading to injury or death; as well as using up critical fat reserves as deer expend energy traveling to and from the feed site. Feeding can deny access to food for subordinate deer and fawns, and can encourage over-browsing of local vegetation and ornamental plants. It also increases the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions.

Deer must store body fat for the winter. The amount of body fat a deer has when it enters the winter directly determines if it will survive until spring. Deer accumulate body fat by increasing the amount of food they eat in September and October, when high-quality foods, such as acorns and other nuts, are abundant. By November, most deer have accumulated all the fat they will need to survive the winter. Research has also shown that large, dominant adult deer fill their bellies first at feeding sites, which means that smaller and weaker individuals, including the vulnerable fawns, will have wasted valuable energy traveling to the feeding site, where they may get little feed. Over time, feeding sites attract more and more deer competing for the same food supplies, which can lead to over-browsing and degradation of the natural habitat around a feeding site, as well as wreaking havoc on homeowners’ ornamental plantings.

Wildlife biologists also worry that deer feeding might help spread Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which affects deer and elk and is always fatal. Although biologists don’t know exactly how this disease spreads, they believe its transmission requires close contact between animals. When humans put out food for deer, they create a situation where an unnaturally high number of deer become concentrated in a small area.

If you care about deer, leave them alone -- let them be wild, and find natural foods and appropriate winter shelter on their own. The bottom line is, please don't feed the deer, and please discourage your neighbors, friends and relatives from engaging in this harmful activity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome to the Friends of Garret Mountain Reservation blog

Welcome to the Friends of Garret Mountain Reservation blog. Click on the New Garret Mountain Reservation map and print a new all-purpose trail map! We spent countless hours on this map to get it right! There will more information to come in the next few months, like bird lists, trip lists, hikes, nature walks, general park information and much, much more.