Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beaver, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Chicken of the woods fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Canada geese and mallard ducks, main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Buttercup oil beetle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Hatched turtle eggs at Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Juvenile hog-nosed snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Gray catbird near main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Red velvet ant, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Eastern box turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Painted and red-bellied turtles, main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields and bogs. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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News from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

Current electronic newsletter Current print version newsletter Archives

November 2018

Barred owl, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

15th: Throwback to 2012 and this barred owl looking with seeming muted curiosity at the photographer. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #barredowls



Dragonfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

12th: In case you did not see our latest newsletter, here is one of the images we used to show the kinds of dragonflies we see regularly, especially around the main pond.



Eurasian beaver, East Anglian Daily Times

9th: The vital role that beavers play in the world's ecosystem continues to be recognized. In recent years, the Eurasian beaver -- the 'cousin' of the North American beaver, native to Europe -- has been reintroduced into parts of the United Kingdom. The most recent introduction is part of a pioneering natural flood management scheme for East Anglia. Eurasian beavers were previously hunted to extinction for food, fur and scent glands, and were last seen in this region during the 17th century. It is hoped the beavers will improve biodiversity and help to reduce local flood risk.



Juvenile great horned owl, photo by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder

8th: Throwback to 1967 and this wonderful photo of a juvenile great horned owl in a pine tree, taken by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #greathornedowls



Elephant in circus

7th: Breaking News! One step closer to saving wild animals from traveling circuses in NJ

We are delighted to report that Nosey's Law has passed the New Jersey Assembly! It will now go to Governor Murphy for his signature. Thank you to everyone who contacted their Assembly members urging them to vote YES on this important piece of legislation (A1923/S1093). This would make New Jersey the first state to ban the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling circuses and other animal acts.

Almost there: Please now contact Governor Murphy and ask him to sign the bill:

Animals, including elephants, tigers and bears are forced to perform in circuses and traveling shows. Kept in confinement in conditions that fail to meet their physical, social and psychological needs, they are routinely subjected to the threat of punishment through the use of bullhooks, sticks, whips and electric prods. The legislation, known as 'Nosey's Law' is named in honor of Nosey, a 35 year old African elephant who was eventually rescued after decades of being abused and exploited for human entertainment.



Scout Jake Bornyasz (right) shown here with Dave Sauder, Trustee

6th: Thank you to Jake Bornyasz, a local Boy Scout seeking Eagle Scout status (on right in photo; Trustee Dave Sauder on left), who together with a group of his friends recently spent a day volunteering at the Refuge. We are always in need of volunteers to help with keeping our trails cleared and posted so that visitors can enjoy the Refuge. If you would like to volunteer, whether you are a Boy Scout looking for a community service project or just want to help the Refuge, please call us at 856.697.3541) or E-mail us: manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org.

We are delighted to report that Jake has achieved his Eagle Scout status. Well done Jake!



Eastern mud turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

5th: For reasons unclear to us, mud and musk turtles seem to like to come to the cabin and find their way into the basement. Dave Sauder, one of our Trustees, happened across this eastern mud turtle as she was making her way across the concrete entryway. We regularly check the basement to be sure that no one is trapped there.



Beaver cutting poplar, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

4th: Listen to this BBC World Service Discover Nature short radio clip extolling the importance of the beaver, calling the species an ecological engineer, and unsung steward of streams: http://www.kbia.org/post/discover-nature-beavers-prepare-winter#stream/0



White-tailed deer, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

3rd: We once again need the help of volunteers to patrol the Refuge to keep wildlife safe during hunting 'season'. We will be patrolling six days a week from now through at least the end of January 2019, generally all day from dawn until dusk. This is particularly the case during the firearm deer 'season', 3 - 8 December. You can commit to an hour or, preferably, more. Even if you have not yet helped with patrolling, we welcome your involvement.

We provide volunteers with trail maps and orange safety vests. Refreshments including coffee, tea and water will be available. Just let me know which days and times you can patrol and I will add you to the calendar. Call me at 856.697.3541 (if you get the answering machine, please leave a call-back number) or E-mail me at manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org. For the wildlife, Michael



Rabbit sketch, original artwork by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder

1st: Throwback to an original sketch of a rabbit by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder and outstanding artist. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



October 2018

Fowler's toad, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

29th: This Fowler's toad was being attacked by a snake. Of course, we would never interfere with nature, but the situation was almost comical. The snake in question was a small garter snake, surely too small to be a real threat...just overambitious. The toad hopped away, apparently unperturbed.



Captive lion, PeTA

26th: Urgent action needed TODAY to protect captive wildlife (Nosey's Law)

New Jersey residents, Please contact your two New Jersey Assembly members urging them to vote YES on "Nosey's Law" (A1923/S1093) to prohibit the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in circuses and traveling animal acts in New Jersey (https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A2000/1923_I1.HTM).

The bill has already passed the NJ Senate and is to be heard in the Assembly on Monday 29th October. If it passes, it will then go to Governor Murphy for his signature. You can find your legislators here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp

The legislation, known as 'Nosey's Law' is named in honor of Nosey, a 35 year old African elephant who was eventually rescued after decades of being abused and exploited for human entertainment. She is now living at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Animals, including bears, elephants, lions and tigers, are forced to perform in circuses and traveling shows. Kept in confinement in conditions that fail to meet their physical, social and psychological needs, they are routinely subjected to the threat of punishment through the use of bullhooks, sticks, whips, electric prods and starvation.

Please help end this cruel exploitation. Let your New Jersey Assembly members know how important this bill is to the residents of NJ.



Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder, on boardwalk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

25th: We wax nostalgic when we throwback to 1976 and this classic photo of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder, walking along one of the boardwalks. Hope spent much of each day patrolling the Refuge or just spending time among the animals and plants living there. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



entry for action alert (mostly petitions):
Canada geese family in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

24th: Unexpected Wildlife Refuge now on Twitter. Please follow us: https://twitter.com/UWRefuge



Great egret in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

22nd: A great egret stands in the shallows of the main pond. These striking birds are frequent visitors.



Billy, Care2

20th: Another elephant in dire straits. No elephant should be in captivity. Given that it is not feasible to send Billy to his rightful home in Asia, he should at least be released to a sanctuary where his needs for companionship with other elephants and space can be provided. Please sign and share this petition urging L.A. Zoo Director John R. Lewis, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, and the Los Angeles City Council to do the right thing for Billy: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/900/414/840/?z00m=30968745&redirectID=2760584629



Screech owl, photo by Al Francesconi

18th: Throwback to 1965 and this photo of a screech owl sitting on a fence post. This was taken by Al Francesconi, photographer and frequent visitor to the Refuge. Al was successful in getting many great photos. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #ScreechOwls



African elephants, Care2

17th: There is no way to differentiate between 'legal' and illegal ivory. The lives and survival of elephants are worth far more to the world than ivory is to the few selfish, self-absorbed people who want it. ALL ivory should be summarily banned. Please sign and share this petition urging : https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/332/378/403/?z00m=30959308&redirectID=2758567492



Butterfly at main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

15th: This butterfly was exploring the area near the edge of the main pond. He or she landed on this leaf and remained stationary long enough to get a good photo.



Elephant, Care2

14th: No elephants should be in captivity. Their physical and emotional needs cannot be met. Not only should Oregon Zoo stop producing more elephants (it is inconceivable that any would be returned to their rightful home), they should release those they have to a sanctuary. Although not ideal, the situation would be better for the elephants than remaining at the Zoo. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/620/105/152/?z00m=30938706&redirectID=2756786280



BEAR Group

11th: Urgent to New Jersey residents

The New Jersey bear hunt started on Monday 8th October. Shockingly, within just two days, 59 of these majestic and sentient animals were killed by bow hunters.

Governor Murphy has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to end New Jersey's bear hunt.

Please continue to call (609-292-6000) and tweet Governor Murphy. (@GovMurphy promised to cancel the #bearhunt).

Please support the Animal Protection of New Jersey protest for the bears. To be held this Saturday, October 13, 2018, 11 AM - 1 PM at Whittingham Wildlife Management Area, 150 Fredon Springdale Road, Fredon, New Jersey



Drawing of chat by Edmund J Sawyer

11th: Throwback to the unknown past. Here is a sketch of a chat made many years ago by Edmund J. Sawyer, the renowned naturalist and artist and father of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Himeko, Care2

10th: Another elephant suffering at the hands of people. Elephants require others of their kind in order to thrive. Although she cannot be released to her rightful home, Himeko should at least be moved to a sanctuary where she can have friends and opportunities for a better life. (We must not 'rest' until no more elephants are kept in captivity.) Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/487/573/289/?z00m=30936005&redirectID=2754371209



Elephants, Care2

9th: More elephant abuse. Regardless whether the elephants in question are in captivity, in a sanctuary or free living, people should not be exploiting them in this way. The elephants are not 'posing', they are tolerating this behavior by people. Furthermore, the people are placing themselves at extreme risk of being harmed or killed by an elephant who has 'had enough' of this abuse and lashes out, thus placing themselves (the elephant) in danger of being killed despite being provoked. Please sign and share this petition urging Tinder, Bumble and Match.com (parent company of OkCupid) to stop using elephants in their promotions: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/391/822/658/?z00m=30933719&redirectID=2753743976



Fern shoots, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo by Dave Sauder

8th: During one of his many visits to the Refuge, Trustee Dave Sauder took this photo of ferns emerging from the soil.



Elephant, Care2

7th: Another elephant suffering at the hands of people, not only by being imprisoned, but also by physical abuse. Although a sanctuary is not a proper home for an elephant, it is the best option for Beulah. Please sign and share this petition urging the zoo and the USDA to move Beulah to a sanctuary: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/121/041/026/?z00m=30931089&redirectID=2752549821



Michael Puleo, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge manager

6th: We are pleased to announce that we have hired Michael Puleo as our onsite manager for the Refuge. Michael is an avid naturalist, backpacker and forager. He is a long time animal and environmental activist and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science. He is a vegan. Raised in the New Jersey Pinelands region, his experience and knowledge of indigenous animals and plants will be a welcome part of our public outreach and education efforts. You can contact Michael through our office telephone (856.697.3541) or E-mail (manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org).



entry for action alert (mostly petitions):
Chendra, Care2

5th: Elephants do not belong in captivity for the 'entertainment' of people. Given it is unlikely that Chendra can be returned to her natural home, she should at least be in a sanctuary where she can have the companionship of other elephants and opportunities not available to her in a zoo. Please sign and share this petition urging The Metro Council and Oregon Zoo Director, Donald E. Moore, Ph.D, Oregon, to release Chendra to a sanctuary: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/987/870/042/?z00m=30918832&redirectID=2751321458



Betsy Beaver and Refuge co-founders, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

4th: Throwback to 1986. Refuge founders Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci -- shown here alongside 'Betsy Beaver', an icon for the move to ban the trap -- worked diligently more than 30 years ago to help ban leghold traps in New Jersey. See our Home page for an alert concerning the need for YOUR help to put a stop to efforts to circumvent this ban. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #legholdtraps



Ring-necked duck in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

1st: This male ring-necked duck was, temporarily, all alone swimming in the main pond.



September 2018

Shark, Care2

29th: Our unquenchable quest for adventure or recreation must not put others' lives in danger. This is the hammerhead shark's home; if we are not safe in it, then we have no business being in it. This planet does not belong to human beings; we only share it with others for a limited period. Please sign and share this petition urging the Queensland government to put an end to the killing of hammerhead sharks: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/444/436/210/?z00m=30908330&redirectID=2747815774



Caged fox, Care2

28th: Imprisoning wildlife so that they can be killed, skinned and provide selfish and vain people with something unnecessary to wear is the height of immorality. Even if one does not care about the animals, using their skins is, ultimately, more damaging to the environment than using modern synthetic materials. Furs are only luxurious and glamorous when they are worn by the original, rightful owners: the animals. Please sign and share this petition urging Prada to stop contributing to animal cruelty: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/998/275/242/?z00m=30904586&redirectID=2747197787



Mother deer and fawn in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

27th: Throwback to the summer of 2016, when this mother white-tailed deer and her fawn ventured into the main pond to browse on lily pads. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #whitetaileddeer



White-tailed deer in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

26th: NJ.com has published a nice article about the Refuge and its important role in protecting wildlife and habitat: https://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2018/09/nearly-800_acre_habitat_in_the_nj_pinelands_is_a_r.html



Elephant, Care2

25th: No wildlife should be imprisoned in zoos. This is particularly the case with elephants, who need expansive habitat and extended family. Cora and Tembo should at least go to a sanctuary given that release to their rightful home is unlikely. Please sign and share this petition urging the Topeka Zoo to do right by these individuals: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/529/336/449/?z00m=30900865&redirectID=2745049223



Canada geese in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

24th: We never get tired of seeing the Canada geese who spend time at the Refuge. We hope you will enjoy this closeup photo of these two swimming in the main pond.



Beaver, Care2

21st: Beavers are being trapped and killed at Stanley Park Marsh in Canada, including the use of water sets which cause the animals to slowly drown. Beavers are an important keystone species. The Belleville administration needs to stop killing them, not only for the beavers' sake, but for the good of the local ecosystem. There are many ways to balance the needs of the beavers with the concerns of the people. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/351/132/854/?z00m=30881017&redirectID=2742922009



Beaver with Ramon Sewall, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

20th: Throwback to 1974 and this photo of a young Ramon Sewall feeding apples to a beaver along one of the boardwalks. Although we treasure these moments, we now realize that feeding wildlife is not ultimately in their best interests. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Mountain lion, Care2

19th: Utah is allowing the killing of more than 600 mountain lions. Have we not yet learned that killing large predators always has unintended consequences that are detrimental to our own desires? Even if the Utah legislators do not care about the inhumanity of slaughtering mountain lions, they should at least care about themselves and their constituents and put an end to this. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/564/087/325/?z00m=30877587&redirectID=2741607605



Eastern painted turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

17th: An eastern painted turtle hauls out onto a protruding stump in the main pond. It is not unusual for us to see several turtles on a single stump, basking in the sunshine.



Elephant, Care2

14th: Elephants are an important part of a healthy and diverse environment. Botswana has a responsibility to ensure their protection and preservation as a species. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/150/382/232/?z00m=30862346&redirectID=2738966541



Bird sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

13th: Throwback to 1973 and this delightful sketch of what is probably a bluebird family, by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Dolphin, Care2

11th: This situation, once again, exemplifies the tragedy when wildlife can be imprisoned and treated as a source of 'entertainment' and financial gain. Surely the morally correct thing to do for these individuals is to release them to a free-living state; that cannot be worse than their current fate. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/306/313/318/?z00m=30835404&redirectID=2737058385



Swallows over main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

10th: We have numerous swallows at the Refuge. These individuals were photographed while they were flying over the main pond in search of food.



Zoo, Care2

7th: Zoos are prisons for wildlife. The Prime Minister should not only institute measures to protect the existing animals at this zoo, he should begin proceedings to move the animals to sanctuaries and shut the place down permanently. Zoos should be anathema to human society. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/466/407/375/?z00m=30832452&redirectID=2735005653



Gray tree frog, photo by Ed Abbot

6th: Throwback to 1990 when Ed Abbot took this great photo of a gray tree frog perched on the side of a tree. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #graytreefrogs



5th:

Inhumane traps, Animal Protection League of NJ

New Jersey residents: Help keep cruel traps out of our state!

Although the steel-jaw leghold trap was outlawed in NJ in 1984, other types of inhumane traps continue to be legal, including the notorious Conibear and the 'enclosed foothold trap' brought into use by the New Jersey Fish and Game Council (FGC). Urge your legislators to support Senate Bill S179, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, and Assembly Bill A3110, sponsored by Assemblypersons Daniel Benson and Raj Mukherji. These critical bills have the potential for substantially reducing suffering of wildlife at the hands of people, by doing the following:

would ban the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, possession, importation, or transportation of a trap that is a spring-loaded device that restrains an animal by capturing the foot, leg, or other body part, including an enclosed foothold type trap or any other type trap that uses a jaw, arm, bar, cable, or wire to grasp or pin the animal's foot, leg, or other body part. The bill would also prohibit a person from trapping or attempting to trap an animal using such a trap.

If you do not know who your legislators are or how to contact them, click here for the legislative contact Web page.

When the FGC declared in 2015 that the 'enclosed foothold' trap was 'humane' and not prohibited by the 1984 law, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge joined a coalition of 32 other organizations, including the Animal Protection League of NJ and the Animal Welfare Institute, in the campaign to block this decision. A lawsuit against the FGC was filed. Incredibly, the following year, a state appellate court ruled that the modified trap was deemed not cruel and inhumane, and could continue to be used in NJ.

The steel-jaw leghold trap and its ilk cause appalling suffering not only due to the pain and damage from the jaws closing in a vice-like grip on the animal's foot, leg, or other part of the body, but also from the efforts of the animal to escape this. They have already been outlawed in many countries.



Pheasants, Change.org

4th: Hunters and the agencies that support them usually claim that hunting 'helps' wild populations and is necessary because of 'overpopulation'. Breeding wildlife in captivity to be released as targets puts paid to this overt lie. Aside from the hypocrisy involved, the practice should end simply because it is unquestionably inhumane and immoral. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.change.org/p/wisconsin-department-of-natural-resources-end-barbaric-pheasant-breeding-program-in-wisconsin



Hog-nosed snake 'threatening', Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Hog-nosed snake 'dead', Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

3rd: Our manager happened to be in the vicinity when this juvenile hog-nosed snake was being threatened by a large snake of another species. When she could not scare off the other by flattening her head (see photo) and other 'aggressive' behavior, she then did what hog-nosed snakes do well: rolled over on her back, opened her mouth to allow her tongue to loll out and lay without movement; a convincing portrayal of 'death'. Once the danger (including the presence of our manager) had passed, she 'miraculously' came alive and slithered off into the undergrowth.



Tortoise, Care2

1st: Just one more reason why it should be illegal to keep wildlife in captivity. This person must be punished in the same manner as if he did these things to a person; our sense of morality and fairness demands no less. The fact that the tortoise was of an endangered species is irrelevant; it is the individual who suffers and we need to do all we can to prevent these types of things happening again. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/865/207/525/?z00m=30818631&redirectID=2731718076



August 2018

Fox, Care2

31st: Please sign and share, even if you do not live in New Jersey. The foxes do not understand state boundaries and cruelty to animals should be protested by all regardless of where you live. Foxes are an important part of the ecosystem. Their population, like with all wildlife, will wax and wane depending on the availability of food and other necessities. Killing them is not only inhumane, it is contrary to 'proper wildlife management'. And, as a veterinarian experienced with all types of traps, I know that the 'foot encapsulating' ones can be just as inhumane as other types. Here is the link to the petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/795/470/504/demand-an-end-to-killing-brigantine-foxes-now/ – NCB



Chickadee, photo by Al Francesconi

30th: Throwback to 1967 and this lovely photo of a chickadee. It was taken by Al Francesconi, who provided the Refuge with many excellent photographs. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #chickadees



Orca, Care2

29th: Any human activity that is suspected as creating distress in this population of orcas should be stopped. Governor Inslee has promised to take action and should do so now to at least implement what is suspected as the cause of the problem. Waiting for more 'research' before taking action will only ensure the demise of these animals. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/595/758/511/?z00m=30815548&redirectID=2729758964



Eastern box turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

27th: This eastern box turtle was photographed recently by our new manager. This species is struggling to exist in a world of narrowing opportunities and we are fortunate to be able to provide excellent habitat for them.



Elephant, Care2

25th: Killing elephants is biologically and morally wrong. Allowing them to be killed as 'trophies' is an abomination. We owe it to these animals to protest Botswana's plan to make this legal. Please sign and share this petition to the Botswana president: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/692/504/627/?z00m=30804607&redirectID=2727585541


Eggs in nest box, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

23rd: Throwback to spring of 2010 and this photo of bird eggs in a nest box. Although we no longer replace nest boxes as they deteriorate (to encourage natural nesting), we treasure some of the photos involving them.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



BEAR billboard

22nd: New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy has banned bear hunts on state land, but only through 2018 (see Murphy bans bear hunts in N.J. on state land). Although encouraging, this is not enough. This will provide only temporary and limited relief for bears in NJ. Please continue to pressure Governor Murphy and the state legislators to do something permanently to protect these critical predators.

Even if you have done so before, please take three actions today:

  1. Contact Governor Murphy, urging him to stop the hunt permanently:
  2. Contact your NJ legislator, calling on her or him to support the bill (S-2702) sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak:
  3. Sign this petition (if not already done) launched by Bear Education And Resource (a program of APLNJ) to end the New Jersey bear hunt: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/end-the-new-jersey-bear


Opossum abuse, Care2

21st: Regardless of any 'benign' intentions by the people involved, this is overt animal cruelty that must not be allowed. Such handling of these animals causes considerable fear and stress. Please sign and share this petition to let the Mayor of Wausau, FL, know that he should not allow this inhumanity to continue: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/655/176/615/?src=ar_facebook_ads&campaign=sign_655176615-23842969448230463



Eastern towhee, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

20th: Here is a nice photo of an eastern towhee, taken late last year (2017) at the Refuge.



Lemurs, Care2

18th: We have a moral obligation to discontinue practices that result in the endangerment of species who share this planet with us. This is especially the case with lemurs whose only home is Madagascar; they have no other options for survival. All activity that is contrary to their continued existence must stop. Please sign and share this petition asking the president of Madagascar to protect lemurs: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/543/353/808/95-of-lemur-species-could-disappear-from-this-earth-if-madagascar-doesnt-take-action-to-save-them./?taf_id=58484558&cid=fb_na#bbfb=100754654



Beaver swimming in main pond, Venus visible, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

16th: Throwback to 2016 to this evening photo of a beaver swimming in the main pond (notice the wake) with Venus just visible as a bright point in the sky above.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Crocodile, Care2

15th: Almost every day we learn of another situation in which wild animals are being held captive at the whim of people. The latest involves crocodiles in Thailand. Even if the safety of the people involved could be ensured, the most important issue is that the crocodiles are not being allowed to live a normal, natural life (unlike the human observers). No wild animals -- not just crocodiles -- should be kept in captivity, especially to provide 'entertainment' for people. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/159/600/830/?z00m=30775077&redirectID=2721127640



Fungi on tree, photo by Dave Sauder

13th: Because of the conducive conditions, some of the trees at the Refuge provide homes for fungi, as seen in this early spring photo by Dave Sauder, one of the Refuge Trustees.



Marineland, Care2

12th: Even if it was morally correct to incarcerate marine mammals against their will (it is not), it is practically impossible to provide them conditions that would be natural and attend to their physical and emotional needs. Furthermore, watching these hapless individuals 'perform' is not being entertained, it is debasing one's character. Please voice your strong objection to Marineland by signing and sharing this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/898/348/219/?z00m=30765137&redirectID=2719320350



Swift parrot, Care2

10th: Whether beautiful or 'ugly', no species should become extinct at the hands of people. Our interests do not supersede the interests of others. We are intelligent and resourceful enough to find ways of limiting our negative impact. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/794/736/717/?z00m=30756245&redirectID=2718258373



Elma Dean poem illustrated by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

9th: Throwback to 1969 for this poignant poem by Elma Dean, superimposed on a pen-and-ink wildlife sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Coral reefs, Care2

8th: Even enlightened self-interest dictates that we not do something that will destroy the very thing we are trying to enjoy. Of course, we should not be polluting regardless of whether we benefit; we have an obligation to the wildlife with whom we share this planet. Please sign and share this petition (and use non-toxic sunscreens regardless of your location): https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/751/229/834/?z00m=30753489&redirectID=2716871690



Murdered polar bear, Care2

7th: When we invade the homes of others and put ourselves at risk, we have no right to then kill those others. Let Hapag-Lloyd Cruises know that their killing of this polar bear was morally outrageous by signing and sharing this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/684/489/834/?z00m=30746747&redirectID=2716189202



Great egret and belted kingfisher, main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

6th: A great egret and a belted kingfisher share an area of the main pond. The pond contains many protruding stumps of trees that have long ago died and fallen away, providing much-used resting places for birds and others.



Bali plastic pollution, Care2

4th: Environmental pollution by plastic is a serious and global wildlife issue. We need to summarily stop producing plastic that is not rapidly biodegradable or conveniently and realistically recyclable. The latter requires a strong, financially-driven incentive program for recycling. It matters not which country is involved; all countries have a moral obligation to stop contributing to the pollution. Please sign and share this petition to urge Bali to be part of the solution: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/913/038/074/?z00m=30744071&redirectID=2714957676.



Beaver eating water lily, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

2nd: Throwback to July 2017, to this photo of a beaver placidly eating a water lily in the main pond.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



July 2018

Dolphin, Care2 petitions

31st: The interests of people, particularly for monetary gain, must not negatively impact on the interests of species that are in danger of becoming extinct due to human activity. Because the Maui dolphins cannot change their lifestyle, it is the mining company that has to be prevented from endangering the dolphins. Please sign and share this petition: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/860/667/359/?z00m=30723929&redirectID=2712427675.



Trees downed by beavers, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

30th: Beavers are prolific 'chewers', but with a purpose. These trees are intended to become food or building materials. Some may view this and misinterpret it as 'damage'. The truth is that the gnawing and cutting down of trees not only helps the beavers, but also provides for new plant growth and other changes that are important for all.



Cottontail rabbit, courtesy Bob Repenning

26th: Throwback to 1972. This lovely photo of a cottontail rabbit was taken by Bob Repenning.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #cottontailrabbits



25th: Some more recent literature on beavers:

Eager book cover Goldfarb, Ben. 2018. "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter." White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Beaver, Turrentine article, Simon Jackson/iStock Turrentine, Jeff. 2018. "Beavers are the working-class heroes of their ecosystems -- America should appreciate them more." Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dragonfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

23rd: A nice close-up photo of a colorful dragonfly.



A beaver we called Nipper, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

19th: Throwback to 1967. Immortalized as Nipper by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder, this beaver was determined to make the small tree her or his next meal.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Beaver on dam, JSTOR Daily photo

18th: Not that we need convincing, but here are two more articles on why beavers are a keystone species, making the world a better place for all:



Flooded main trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

16th: One of the challenges with which the Refuge deals regularly is maintaining trails in a way that causes minimal disruption for wildlife. We need access to certain parts of the habitat in order to protect from unwanted human intrusion and to provide visitors with an opportunity to see, enjoy and be educated by the rich biodiversity present. Nature, of course, cares not and quickly 'tries' to subsume our trails into what is normal. Here, a portion of one major trail has become flooded and partially obstructed by a large pine tree that has fallen. Photo courtesy Dave Sauder, one of our Trustees.



BEAR billboard

13th: Unexpected Wildlife Refuge supports an end to hunting bears in New Jersey. During his campaign, Governor Phil Murphy made a promise to impose a moratorium on bear hunting when he took office in January 2018, and to commit to exploring non-lethal means of controlling the bear population. This has not happened. We join the Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ) in its call to Governor Murphy to honor his promise as well as asking the NJ legislature to adopt a bill sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, that would impose a five-year moratorium on bear hunting. The bill also requires bear-proof containers and stops hunters from baiting for deer in bear habitat.

Bears are a critical part of our ecosystem, the only large predator in the state of New Jersey. Further, hunting them inflicts substantial suffering on these sentient animals. Currently, hunters can bait and shoot all bears including mothers and their cubs; incredibly, even bows and arrows are allowed. Not only is this brutal treatment of bears unacceptable, there are alternative, humane and effective methods that can be adopted to address human-bear conflicts, the purported reason for the hunt. For example, the Bear Smart program (managed by APLNJ) includes public education, appropriate garbage containment, enforcement of feeding ban laws and training for police officers and wildlife personnel.

Please take three actions today:

  1. Contact Governor Murphy, urging him to honor his promise:
  2. Contact your NJ legislator, calling on her or him to support the bill (S-2702) sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak:
  3. Sign this petition launched by Bear Education And Resource (a program of APLNJ) to end the New Jersey bear hunt: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/end-the-new-jersey-bear



Beaver food raft, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

12th: Throwback to February 2017, and this food 'raft' created by some of the beavers who live at the Refuge. These collections of branches provide a safe and convenient source of food until spring.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Swallows over main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

9th: We are fortunate that many species of birds choose the Refuge as their home or an important 'pit stop' on their way elsewhere. Here, swallows fly over the main pond in search of insects.



Hooded mergansers near beaver lodge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

5th: Throwback to late last spring (2017). We often see hooded mergansers on the main pond. These individuals were on the far side, swimming near one of the beaver lodges.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



White-tailed deer in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

2nd: With the warm weather and precipitation, the main pond has become an oasis of lily pads. Here, a white-tailed deer cools off and browses at the same time.



June 2018

Miller pond in 2010, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

28th: Throwback to June of eight years ago, to this picturesque photo of Miller pond, one of the many important wetlands at the Refuge. Protecting these areas from untoward human intrusion is our goal and passion.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Gray squirrel, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

25th: One of our trail cameras took a great photo of this alert gray squirrel. Although these squirrels are 'common', it is always a treat to see them.



Jared White and companion Jack

24th: We are pleased to announce that we have hired Jared White as the new onsite manager for the Refuge! Jared, shown here with Jack, one of his canine companions, is a long-time vegan and animal advocate. He comes to us with years of experience working with and caring for rescued non-human animals. His "love of the outdoors and co-existing in nature with wildlife" fit in with Unexpected's mission and core philosophy. In addition to looking forward to the physical challenges of managing the Refuge, Jared is eager to apply his skills in public relations and volunteer organizing to ensure that the wildlife continue to have a safe place to thrive consistent with their needs. You can reach him by telephone at 856.697.3541 or E-mail manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org.



Canada geese in main pond during snow storm, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

21st: Throwback to 2009, during a November winter storm. These Canada geese seem unperturbed by the falling snow and freezing water in the main pond.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Amber jelly fungus in swamp, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

18th: Fungi and other 'parasitic' plants make up an important -- and visually pleasing -- part of the rich biodiversity at the Refuge. Here are some amber jelly and lichen getting their sustenance from an old branch in a swampy part of the Refuge.



Sketch of canvasback duck by Edmund J Sawyer

14th: Here is a sketch of a canvasback duck made many years ago by Edmund J. Sawyer, the renowned naturalist and artist and father of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Muskrat lodge in Miller pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo by Dave Sauder Muskrat lodge in Miller pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo by Dave Sauder

11th: During a recent visit to the Refuge, Dave Sauder, one of our Trustees, took these photos of a muskrat lodge far out in the wetlands known as Miller pond.



Sketch of beaver by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, artist and co-founder

7th: We never get tired of seeing the artwork of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder. This is another of her hundreds of sketches from many years ago, illustrating her favorite, the beaver. She, of course, had reverence and respect for all wildlife and 'walked her talk' through many personal sacrifices.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Great egret on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Great egret on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

4th: This great egret perched serenely on a branch rising out of the main pond. A moment later, he or she was preening, a never ending 'job' for birds.



May 2018

Black snake, photo by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, co-founder

31st: Throwback to this photo of a black snake taken in 1966 by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder. Hope was not only an accomplished artist and author, her patience while observing wildlife, often despite swarms of deer flies or mosquitoes, allowed her to capture stunning images on film.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #blacksnakes



Canada goose and hooded merganser couple on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

28th: This Canada goose swimming in the main pond seemed to be interested in the fuss we made getting this picture. A hooded merganser couple in the background appeared to be trying to quickly get into or out of the frame.



Beaver lodge in snow, photo by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge cofounder

24th: Throwback to winter of 1966, in the early years of the Refuge, when Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci took this photo of one of the beaver lodges in the snow and ice. We remember fondly Hope's excitement when she and her husband Cavit Buyukmihci, saw evidence of beavers on the original 80 acres of habitat that began the Refuge.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Paw prints on snow covered log, photo by Mike McCormick

21st: As summer approaches and we leave the snow and cold weather behind us for another season, it is good to remember that the snow often reveals the presence of individuals we may never see. We are not sure who made these tracks on this fallen tree, but are grateful to Mike McCormick for sharing this photo with us.



Beaver called Chopper and Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, by Bee Simpson

17th: Throwback to October of 1974, when Bee Simpson took this photo of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder, providing nourishment to Chopper, an orphaned beaver. Chopper's sad story, which can be found on our Web site (under the section Beavers), is a reminder that we need to consider carefully how we deal with orphaned wild animals and what 'befriending' them may mean for their future.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #beavers



Beavers, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

16th: As some of you may know, beavers are classified as a keystone species. A new study that has just been accepted for publication emphasizes the universally beneficial aspect of beavers to the environment and other animals (including human beings). You can access this article, by Alan Puttock et al, on our beaver literature page.



Beavers meet, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

14th: One of our trail cameras took this photo of two beavers meeting in the water.



Sketch of bat by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, artist and co-founder

10th: As many of you may know, Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, our co-founder, was a naturalist and talented writer and artist. This is one of her hundreds of sketches from many years ago. Although beavers were her favorite animal to sketch, bats, like this one, and other species made up her portfolio.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



English ivy on walkway, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

7th: Some lovely, delicate English ivy flowers just before last winter set in. Thanks to Eric Baratta and Susan Schoeler McKenna for help in identifying this plant.



Wood duck, main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

3rd: Throwback to... well, we do not really know when because we cannot find a date nor photographer for this striking image of a wood duck standing on a stump in the main pond. We hope you will enjoy anyway.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



April 2018

Swamp loosestrife, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

30th: The Refuge is home to numerous species of flowering plants, like this swamp loosestrife.



Chickadees, original artwork by Edmund J Sawyer

26th: Edmund J. Sawyer was a renowned naturalist and artist who spent much of his life observing and making sketches and portraits of the wildlife he encountered. He was also the father of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, the co-founder of Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, and inspired her to become a naturalist and artist in her own right. Although Edmund died many years ago, he did get a chance to visit the Refuge to see the wonderful work his daughter was doing. We will pay tribute to this remarkable and talented man by occasionally sharing some of his artwork with you, like this lovely watercolor of chickadees.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Grasshopper on wool grass, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

23rd: With spring here and summer not far away, we expect to see an abundant resurgence of insects such as this grasshopper perched on wool grass.



Access road in the snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

19th: Throwback to this 2009 photo showing our access lane after a snow fall that blanketed the Refuge. Although it was beautiful to behold back then, we - and the wildlife? - are looking forward to no snow for at least the next many months.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Red-winged blackbird singing, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

16th: We thought you might enjoy seeing this male red-winged blackbird, singing in pursuit of a mate.



Ring-necked ducks, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

12th: Our first thought was that these individuals were lesser scaups, but a pair of binoculars showed them to be ring-necked ducks. Although not a rare species, this may be only the second time they have been spotted at the Refuge in several years. Ring-necked ducks generally breed farther north, mostly in Canada. Their visit was apparently just a stopover on their way to breeding areas and they were gone after several days.



Puffball fungus on log, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

9th: We came across these puffball mushrooms on a log by the edge of the swamp on the boundary trail.



Yellow-rumped warbler, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

7th: A yellow-rumped warbler perches in a tree close to the Refuge trailheads.



Northern cricket frog on lily pad, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

5th: Throwback to this 2016 photo of a northern cricket frog singing from a lily pad, late at night, on the main pond. It was taken by Cliff Compton, Refuge guest and photographer.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Beaver in main pond near sunset, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

4th: Our manager was able to get a nice close-up of this beaver swimming in the main pond. The rust-colored appearance of the water was due to light reflection near sunset.



Male green-winged teal, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

2nd: A rare visitor to the Refuge, a male green-winged teal was seen swimming in the main pond.



March 2018

White-breasted nuthatch, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

31st: This white-breasted nuthatch had just cracked open a nut in a tree along the trails at the Refuge.



Juvenile bald eagle ruffled by wind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

24th: A juvenile bald eagle sits ruffled by strong winds on a branch partially submerged in the main pond.



Squirrel gathering nest materials, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

22nd: Throwback to spring of 2017 for one of our favorite trail camera images. A squirrel gathers soft grasses for nesting materials near one of the wetlands.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Tree ear fungus and raindrop, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

21st: A drop of rain clings to the fruiting body of a small translucent amber jelly fungus known as wood ear, tree ear or jelly ear as well as other colloquial names.



Unexpected Wildlife Refuge sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, artist and co-founder

20th: We are seeking a new manager. If you or someone you know is interested in rewarding and challenging service to wildlife, please send the following by E-mail only, to Nedim C. Buyukmihci, president, ned.trustee@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org: 1) letter explaining why you would be the ideal candidate; 2) full curriculum vitae (an expanded résumé); and 3) at least three references, one of whom must provide a critical assessment of your abilities. Click here for a full job description.



Wetlands walkway and fog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

19th: A thin fog hangs at the end of the walkway through one of the wetlands at the Refuge after a recent rain.



Lichen in winter, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

17th: There are a multitude of lichens at the Refuge. We think this might be the species known as the brown-eyed rim.



Northern water snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

15th: Throwback to this 2016 photo of a northern water snake on the trail along the main pond.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Downy woodpecker, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

14th: A downy woodpecker along the trails near the white cedar swamp at the Refuge.



Earth Day Cleanup volunteers, 2016, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

8th: Throwback to our 2016 annual Earth Day Cleanup event at the Refuge. It rained all day, but our volunteers made the best of it! Join us this year on April 14 at 11:00 AM. E-mail us at manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org for more information and to confirm you will be able to attend or call 856.697.3541. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #EarthDay



Tree downed by beaver, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

7th: This tree located on one of the tiny islands of earth in the wetlands was found cut down during a recent warm day. We know this was the work of at least one beaver, 'harvesting' food. Whether he or she had help is speculation. Maybe some day we will be lucky enough to get video footage to share. – VVH



Canada geese on frozen main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

5th: These Canada geese were standing on the frozen surface of the main pond in early morning fog. Two of the geese were holding a foot close to their bodies, protected by lower plumage. An alternating pattern of lifting feet up to the body is a method many birds use to warm their extremities. – VVH



Fox sparrow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Fox sparrow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

3rd: A fox sparrow in a tall tree along one of the Refuge trails. She tilted her head in response to the click of the camera shutter. – VVH



Red-winged blackbird singing, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

1st: Throwback to 2016 and this photo of a red-winged blackbird exercising his vocal abilities. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



February 2018

Hooded merganser couples on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

28th: Two hooded merganser couples paddle companionably in the main pond at the Refuge. – VVH



Brown thrasher, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

26th: Brown thrashers are difficult to photograph. They are shy and spend most of their time in dense cover. A species of "special concern", their numbers have declined over the years due to habitat loss, making this sighting particularly delightful. – VVH



24th: A selection of beautiful photographs taken at the Refuge by Jeff Hrusko, who volunteered during the final weekend of our 2017-2018 deer patrol season. One shows the beaver lodges in the main pond, another the pond as it appears through shoreline reeds and the third a dead pine trunk which makes a wonderful home for many of the creatures (and plants) who live at the Refuge. – VVH

Main pond and beaver lodges, by Jeff Hrusko Main pond through reeds, by Jeff Hrusko Dead pine, by Jeff Hrusko


Wood duck, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

22nd: Throwback to this fortuitously well-framed photo of a wood duck taken by one of the Refuge trail cameras last year. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Reindeer lichen in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

21st: Some reindeer lichen covered with the icy remains of a recent, light snowfall. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as reindeer moss. – VVH



Gray squirrel food caches, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

19th: The holes amongst the pine needles and other leaves are from a gray squirrel digging up acorns and other food. Whether the same squirrel hid the 'treasure' in the first place is open to speculation. – VVH



Rabbit footprints in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

17th: Often, our only awareness of the presence of some Refuge residents is right after a snowfall. Here, a rabbit has made her or his way across the snow. – VVH



Raccoons at Otter Dam, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

16th: As you may recall, we learned that Amazon cares more about profit than it does about treating non-human animals humanely. We warned Amazon that we would close our account unless they had a change in policy and stopped selling live animals through the mail as if they were a pair of socks. Amazon refused to listen to us and many others, even those who were experts on animal welfare. As a result we closed our account and will not accept any donations of items purchased from them.

We are sharing with you our current wish list in case you can help us with these items. Click here to see the list and how to send the items to us. Our only caveat is that you not purchase any from Amazon or from any business which similarly is more interested in money than morals. Questions? Please E-mail us at manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org or telephone us at 856.697.3541. – VVH



Great blue heron on boardwalk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

15th: Throwback to a photo of this long-legged visitor to a trail camera on the boardwalks at the Refuge. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #greatblueheron



Beaver lodges in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Shelf fungus and snow on beaver lodge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

14th: During a recent stretch of below-freezing days, I was able for the first time to walk across the frozen main pond to examine the beaver lodges up-close. In the second photo, you can see a ruffled shelf fungus attached to one of the boughs the beavers used for home fortification. – VVH



Tufted titmouse, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

12th: A tufted titmouse sitting high in a tree at the Refuge during a bright, cloudless day. – VVH



Beaver with lily pad 'hat', Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

11th: Two anti-wildlife bills will be up for a vote before New Jersey's legislators soon. The hearings on both bills will be held on Monday, 12 February. The bills could go for a vote as early as Thursday, 15 February.

The first bill is A3242, the Poaching Bill. It would allow the killing of deer as part of forest 'stewardship' and on commercially logged lands. Bait piles could be used at any time of day or night and deer could be killed from vehicles including at night through the use of strong lights to immobilize them.

The second bill is A2731, the Beaver Bill. This would eliminate the 20-animals-per-permit trapping limit and expand the use of body-crushing (Conibear) traps. Many of the animals caught in these traps die a prolonged, agonizing death.

Please write NOW to your Assemblypersons and politely express your outrage concerning these bills. Use the following Web site to find your representative and contact information: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp. Please also contact Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin at 732.855.7441 or via his contact information on his Web page: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/BIO.asp?Leg=319. Tell him of your opposition to these bills.

For more information, please visit the following link: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=94aacd4a-4706-4264-b5ed-e1f9693eeba2&preview=true&m=1112167101597&id=preview. – VVH



Captive lobster

10th: URGENT UPDATE: I have been in contact with senior representatives at Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon is refusing to listen to experts who are telling them that shipping live lobsters through the mail is inhumane. Instead, they are obstinately defending this immoral practice by claiming that they are not in violation of the law, as if that was the issue. They are clearly more interested in the (minimal) profits made through the abuse of animals than they are in being compassionate and humane.

As a result, we have closed our account with Amazon and will no longer do business with them. Nor will we accept any donated items purchased through them. I am urging you to help us in this matter by doing the following, if you have not already done so:

  1. Write to Amazon at jeff@amazon.com, and voice your strong objection to their selling of live animals and tell them you will boycott them until they stop.
  2. If you have an account with Amazon, please close it and explain why.
  3. Write to Drogo Montagu at wholesale@finefoodspecialist.co.uk and let him know that lobsters are able to feel pain and suffer and that his actions and callousness in selling live lobsters through the mail (using Amazon) have caused you to boycott Amazon in general. Be sure to copy your message to Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, at jeff@amazon.com.

NCB



Main pond, frozen, with moon and stars, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

9th: A frozen, snow-covered main pond at night under a waxing moon. Note the pinpoint lights from some stars in the dark sky. – VVH



Raccoon swimming, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo

8th: Throwback to May 2017 and one of my favorite "unexpected" trail camera images -- a raccoon swimming gracefully at the Refuge late one night. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #raccoons



Captive lobster

5th: URGENT: This is a follow up to our post on why we are boycotting Amazon.com and asking you to do so, too. At least in the UK, the provider of the live lobsters Amazon is shipping (or allowing to be shipped under their name) is Fine Food Specialist in London. In defense of this despicable practice, the founder, Drogo Montagu, is quoted in the Times (4 Feb 2018) as stating there is no evidence that lobsters feel pain. This is biological nonsense. There is now ample evidence to prove that lobsters and other crustaceans not only can feel pain in ways similar to mammals, they can also suffer (which goes beyond just the ability to feel pain). We will be glad to provide you with copies of the scientific literature as evidence.

We are asking you to write to Mr Montagu (wholesale@finefoodspecialist.co.uk) and set him straight on the issue of lobsters being able to feel pain and suffer and that his actions and callousness have caused you to boycott Amazon in general. Ask him to stop selling live lobsters, especially through the mail. Be sure to copy your message to Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, at jeff@amazon.com. – NCB



Captive lobster

4th: We just learned that Amazon is selling live lobsters through the mail! As a result, we are not going to use their services until they put a stop to this despicable practice. We ask that you WRITE Amazon, now, at jeff@amazon.com, and voice your strong objection to their selling of live animals and tell them you will boycott them until they stop. – NCB



Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

1st: Throwback to 1965 for this photo of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci doing what she liked best, spending time studying the natural world around her. For those of you who are not aware, Hope and her husband, Cavit (pronounced like 'javit' with a soft 'a') Buyukmihci, founded the Refuge through donating their home and land in 1961. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



January 2018

Juvenile bald eagle in flight, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

31st: A juvenile bald eagle soars high above the Refuge on a cloudless day. – VVH



30th: We have a new color leaflet summarizing what the Refuge is. We plan to use it at various events we sponsor or attend. You can help us by downloading, printing and distributing the leaflet elsewhere. The leaflet fits on a legal size sheet of paper (8.5 x 14 inches or 216 x 356 mm), printed double-sided in landscape orientation and folded twice so that the panel with our name in green is at front. Click here to see and obtain the file (about 2 MB). – NCB

Side 1 of new Refuge leaflet Side 2 of new Refuge leaflet


Main pond with layer of ice at sunset, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

29th: The main pond with snow covering its frozen surface, at sunset, looking somewhat like a desert landscape. – VVH



White-throated sparrow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

27th: A white-throated sparrow perches on a branch next to the Refuge trails. – VVH



Boundary trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

25th: Throwback to this sunset photo taken on the boundary trail in December of 2015. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRhistory



American black ducks in fog on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

24th: Two American black ducks swim in the main pond through a thick, early morning fog that hung over the Refuge. – VVH



Paw prints across frozen main pond, with lens flare, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Paw prints across frozen main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

22nd: One or more Refuge residents took a long walk across the snow-covered and frozen main pond one evening or early morning. The tracks started at a trail head and ended on the opposite end of the pond. Notice the lens flare caused by the bright sunlight in one of the photos. – VVH



Main pond, frozen, near sunset, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

20th: The main pond, surface frozen, at sunset one recent evening at the Refuge. The brightness of the sun created a stunning pink-purple lens flare. – VVH



Main pond in 1971, by Nancy Jonap One of the boardwalks in 1971, by Nancy Jonap

18th: Throwback to the Refuge as it was in 1971. Nancy Jonap, a long-time friend of the Refuge, was kind enough to share these photos with us from her time here more than 40 years ago. The main pond and a visitor walking the boardwalks are pictured. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



17th: For your enjoyment, here are some of the beautiful photos taken by Mike McCormick, founder of South Jersey Trails, during one of his visits to the Refuge in December 2017. – VVH

Muddy Bog, frozen, by Mike McCormick Pine cone with snow, by Mike McCormick Reeds, by Mike McCormick


Grackles, red-winged blackbirds and starlings in flight, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo Grackles and red-winged blackbirds in trees, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

13th: I was fortunate to have a camera with me when a flock of grackles, red-winged blackbirds and a few starlings entered the sky above the Refuge. The birds took a full minute to pass by me and many landed in neighboring trees. – VVH



Dogwoods in spring, by Mike McCormick

11th: Throwback to this beautiful image of dogwood trees in bloom at the Refuge. This photo was taken in the spring of 2017 by Mike McCormick, founder of South Jersey Trails, a local New Jersey hiking group. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #SouthJerseyTrails #warmerdays



Goldenrod at sunset, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

10th: A sprig of goldenrod backlit by the setting sun on the trails at the Refuge. – VVH



South Jersey Trails T-shirts for Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

9th: For those of you who are hiking enthusiasts, South Jersey Trails are raising funds for our Refuge through the sale of their T-shirts. If you already have enough Refuge T-shirts and want something a bit different, while still supporting us, you can go to South Jersey Trails' fund raising site. Be aware that shirts must be pre-ordered before the end of January and take 1-2 weeks for shipment. – VVH



Tufted titmouse in tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

8th: A tufted titmouse perches in a tree next to the trailheads on a cold day at the Refuge. Tufted titmice are among the few species of birds who store food for the winter months. – VVH



Reeds and crescent moon, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

6th: A crescent moon over the reeds at the Refuge. – VVH



Clouds reflected in main pond, courtesy Cliff Compton

4th: Throwback to this serene panorama of the main pond at sunset taken two years ago by Cliff Compton, Refuge guest and photographer. – VVH
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory



Morning fog over main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

3rd: Fog hangs over the frost-covered flora surrounding the main pond. – VVH



Bald eagle perched on stump in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

1st: A bald eagle perches astride two forks of an old log in the middle of the main pond. – VVH



Our current manager is leaving due to unforeseen circumstances unrelated to the Refuge.


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