Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

January 16, 2008


Attendees: Phil Notestine, Cliff Miles, Judy Edwards, Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Jerry Uhrig




Minutes from the previous meeting are on the website.


Special Reports


Update on monitoring of bluebird houses by Kyle Bolo: Kyle visited each of the houses and filed this report on December 22. Numbers refer to unique map identifiers given to each of the houses.


Halsey A. Frederick Memorial Park

  1: no nesting, several small blue-gray feathers (solid color, small)

  2-6: nothing, no nesting or evidence of inhabitance

  7: nothing, but a bunch of indents in the walls of the house (I

believe from some sort of airsoft/bb rifle)

  8: nothing, no nesting or evidence of inhabitance

  9: nothing, but a bunch of indents in the walls of the house (I

believe from some sort of airsoft/bb rifle)


Alden L. Haswell (Midvale) Field

  1: filled with twigs woven together all the way up to the entrance

hole, a bunch of blue-gray (solid color, small) and other white-gray

(gradient from white to gray, larger in size) feathers

  2-5: wood chips on floor (not too many but a significant amount),

plenty of blue-gray feathers (solid color, small), feces


Thorleif Fliflet Bird Sanctuary

  1: nothing, no nesting or evidence of inhabitance

  2: twigs layered in house, no feathers


William N. Taft Memorial Field

  1: nothing, no nesting or evidence of inhabitance

  2: wood chips on floor (not too many but a significant amount), small

blue-gray feathers (solid color, small)

  3-4: nothing, no nesting or evidence of inhabitance



  7,9 (Halsey A. Frederick Memorial Park)- no significant damage had

been done to the houses, only small indents (pop-corn kernel sized),

some young adolescents must have found it funny to use the houses for

target practice with toys that are now considered firearms in NJ

  1 (Alden L. Haswell (Midvale) Field)- the two variations of feathers

appeared to be from different birds, maybe one bird nested and left and

then the other nested on top of the original nest (not sure)

  1 (Thorleif Fliflet Bird Sanctuary)- looks like someone had examined

this one, maybe you, definitely a challenging area in the snow

  2 (Thorleif Fliflet Bird Sanctuary)- seems like a bird began a nest

and then aborted the effort


In the discussion of this report at the meeting, Cliff suggested that the blue-gray feathers could be from a tufted titmouse rather than a bluebird and that house wrens could also be using the houses. Cliff mentioned that tree swallows might use the Fliflet Sanctuary houses if they were placed closer to the water's edge. We agreed that continued monitoring through next year's breeding season, starting in April/May, would help to better understand how the birds are using the houses. Someone wondered about whether the bat houses are being used. No one knew for sure.


Status Reports


1.      Deer: Phil provided a report on the deer harvest to date: 9 does, 3 bucks. That's one more adult doe taken since the previous report in December. Jerry will contact Chief Tovo about getting a copy of the map used by the UBNJ hunters, which shows the 5 areas mentioned in their reports. Deer hunting in the Tourne County Park has begun, each Tuesday all day. The park is closed during the hunt. This will continue until early February.

2.      Woodlands health monitoring protocol update: Jerry reported that of the 10 plots of oak trees planted to monitor the extent of deer browse, only one shows signs of significant browsing to date. This plot is located in the woodlands off the end of Yorke Rd. It is yet to be determined whether the browse is by deer or rabbits.


Topics for discussion:


1.      Deer exclosures: Jerry will contact Josh about getting us a quote for the additional material we need for the remaining exclosures.

2.      Invasives field work for March will take place on the access trail to the sled run off Tower Hill Road. We will be removing a large amount of barberry. {hil suggested that we might want to try using his shredder/chipper during the March field work.

3.      The garlic mustard soup mentioned in the current H&S Bulletin should be made with early spring garlic mustard. Any that can be found this time of year is not really palatable, too bitter.

4.      Beavers: Cliff said that the trail through the newest beaver dam area is currently under about 3 feet of unfrozen water.


Other topics:


1.      Cliff brought a catalog from The Forest Shop, a mail-order bookstore. It appears to be an excellent source of reference books for nature in general. Their website www.forestryshop.com is even more comprehensive and helpful. We should probably point folks to it on our website. Also, Jerry passed around a copy of one of his current favorite books, ":How to be a Bad Birdwatcher," by Simon Barnes.

2.      Rob Jennings is going to speak at a meeting of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey to be held at Frelinghuysen Arboretum on Tuesday, January 22. He will speak about the activities of the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Plant Management Team of the National Park Service. Rob left to Morris County Park System last fall to take a position with the National Park Service.

3.      Phil and Judy both reported raptor activity in the area around Yorke Road: peregrine falcons, red-tailed hawks, owls, etc. There also seems to be ample numbers of bear, coyote, fox, and turkeys.

4.      Jerry reported that a new tree has been planted down by the soccer fields to replace the one killed by buck rub. The new tree has a plastic protective sleeve to prevent future damage. Jerry removed the re-bars placed around the adjacent tree to prevent further damage. The plan is that now the Shade Tree Commission will protect this tree with a plastic sleeve as well. Jerry noted that there are a number of surplus plastic sleeves lying around in the reforested area next to the vernal pools. One of these could be used to protect the damaged tree.