Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
1/ 10
Moss on Boundary Trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
2/ 10
Moonlit main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
3/ 10
Elegant spreadwing damselfly, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
4/ 10
Racoon on trail camera near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
5/ 10
Northern water snake in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
6/ 10
House wren near Headquarters, photo by Leor Veleanu
7/ 10
Luna moth male on porch at Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
8/ 10
Bleeding heart flowering near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
9/ 10
Northern cricket frog in Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
10/ 10
Fungi on fallen tree on Boundary Trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields, bogs, streams and lakes. 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.
Read more


News from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

Current electronic newsletter Current print version newsletter Archives

News and take action 2022

Black vulture fledglings and parent
Black vulture fledglings and parent

8 August 2022: Our resident black vultures have done it again! The two young vultures (pictured here on a wood pile with a parent) have recently fledged from the nesting area in the cabin barn attic. Stay tuned for a more in depth story on our resident vultures in the newsletter later this month.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #blackvulture #fledgling #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Female ebony jewelwing damselfly
Female ebony jewelwing damselfly

1 August 2022: This female ebony jewelwing damselfly was photographed near HQ this spring. Female ebony jewelwings have a bronze body and smoky-brown wings, with a distinct white spot (pterostigma) at the outer edge of the forewing. Males have an iridescent, blue-green body with solid black wings.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #ebonyjewelwing #damselfly #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



Female blue dasher dragonfly
Female blue dasher dragonfly

25 July 2022: Image of the day: This female blue dasher dragonfly, photographed in the driveway at Headquarters, looks different from her male counterpart. Though they are similar in size, and both have a yellow-striped thorax, the female's body (like her thorax) is also yellow-striped, while the male's body is powder blue.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #bluedasher #dragonfly #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



House wren by Edmund J Sawyer
House wren by Edmund J Sawyer

21 July 2022: Throwback to this house wren drawn many years ago by Edmund J Sawyer, father of Refuge cofounder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci. The most common wren in the US, house wrens are cavity-nesting birds, preferring brushy habitat over open areas. They are both loud and persistent singers, using song, in part, to defend their breeding territories.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #housewren #wren #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Eastern mud turtle
Eastern mud turtle

18 July 2022: Image of the day: We have been enjoying the sights of nesting season for the turtles of the Refuge over the past few months. Pictured here is an eastern mud turtle, on her way back to the main pond after laying her eggs.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easternmudturtle #turtle #njreptiles #njnature #njwildlife



Beautiful wood nymph moth
Beautiful wood nymph moth

11 July 2022: Image of the day: Beautiful wood nymph moths have specific colors and patterns which serve as camouflage. When found resting on a leaf, one might be easily overlooked by predators as bird droppings. Even their furry legs stretch out in such a way as to help them look like a splat of feces.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #beautifulwoodnymph #moth #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



AmazonSmile
AmazonSmile

5 July 2022: Shop on Amazon? You can now support Unexpected Wildlife Refuge through the AmazonSmile program! Just go to https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose Unexpected Wildlife Refuge as your charity. Every time you shop, be sure to choose the AmazonSmile page and UWR will receive a donation! Feel great knowing you are helping all wildlife at the Refuge!
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #AmazonSmile #charity #nonprofit #donate



Sweet William
Sweet William

5 July 2022: Image of the day: This "volunteer" sweet William plant popped up in front of the wooden trail sign near the main pond this spring. The flowers of sweet William grow in rounded, dense clusters, and are often white, red and/or purple. A volunteer plant grows on its own, rather than being deliberately planted, often growing from seeds that float in on the wind, or are dropped by birds.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #volunteerplant #sweetwilliam #njflowers #njnature



Juvenile bald eagle
Juvenile bald eagle

27 June 2022: This juvenile bald eagle was photographed flying over the main pond. A juvenile's wings are considerably wider and blunter than those of an adult, and the young birds also have longer tails than adults.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #baldeagle #eagle #raptor #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Hummingbird
Hummingbird
HSB

23 June 2022: Throwback to this hummingbird drawn by Refuge cofounder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci many years ago. Hummingbirds play an important role in pollination, carrying pollen as they fly from plant to plant drinking nectar.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #hummingbird #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife #njpollinators #nationalpollinatorweek



Carpenter bee
Carpenter bee

20 June 2022: Image of the day: Carpenter bees (often mistaken for bumblebees) are excellent pollinators of many flowering plants. They gather pollen through “buzz pollination," using their powerful thoracic muscles to sonicate pollen grains out of a flower's anthers.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #carpenterbee #bee #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife #njpollinators #nationalpollinatorweek



Japanese beetle
Japanese beetle

13 June 2022: Japanese beetles have an iridescent-green head and thorax, and copper-colored forewings, or elytra. Those forewings cover strong flight wings, which tend to make a loud buzzing noise in flight. This individual was photographed near Miller Pond.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #japanesebeetle #beetle #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



Walking stick insect
Walking stick insect

9 June 2022: Throwback to 2019 and this walking stick insect photographed near the main pond. Stick insects are so named for their camouflage--typically brown, black or green, with thin, stick-shaped bodies. They can easily blend in when perched on twigs and branches. PC: Dave Sauder
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #walkingstick #stickbug #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



Black rat snake
Black rat snake

6 June 2022: Image of the day: Black rat snakes are a common species of snake on the Refuge. This individual was photographed near HQ. Shy and secretive, they typically avoid contact with humans. They kill their prey--mainly mice, rats, moles and chipmunks--by constriction.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #blackratsnake #snake #njreptiles #njnature #njwildlife



Wild turkey egg
Wild turkey egg

30 May 2022: Image of the day: This wild turkey egg was spotted on a recent bird watching walk around the Refuge last month. For wild turkeys, breeding usually begins in March, and hens will lay 10-12 eggs during a two week period. Continuous incubation begins when the last egg is laid, and eggs will be incubated for 26-28 days. PC: Bill Cahill
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wildturkey #egg #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Blue-gray gnatcatcher

23 May 2022: Image of the day: Blue-gray gnatcatchers are commonly seen around the Refuge; this individual was photographed along the HQ driveway. Blue-gray gnatcatchers are known for their soft, insistent calls and constant motion. As they hop through vegetation, they conspicuously flick their white-edged tail from side to side, scaring up insects and chasing after them.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #bluegraygnatcatcher #gnatcatcher #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Conocybe mushroom
Conocybe mushroom

19 May 2022: Throwback to 2017 and this picture of a Conocybe mushroom. Conocybe is a genus of mushrooms containing at least 244 species. Most have a long, thin, fragile stipe and are sometimes called dunce caps or cone heads due to their conical caps.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #conocybemushroom #mushroom #fungi #njfungi #njnature



American robin
American robin

16 May 2022: Image of the day: This American robin was photographed near HQ in March. American robins are adaptable birds, and not all migrate south for the winter. Some remain somewhat local, roosting together in large flocks.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #americanrobin #robin #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Eastern bluebird sketch HSB
Eastern bluebird sketch
HSB

5 May 2022: Throwback to these eastern bluebirds drawn by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci many years ago. Eastern bluebirds build their nests in natural cavities, or nest boxes/artificial refuges. Nest sites can be limited, so bluebirds may battle to secure one.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easternbluebird #bluebird #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Differential grasshopper
Differential grasshopper

2 May 2022: Image of the day: Differential grasshoppers belong to the family Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets). These grasshoppers are relatively large. Their color can vary somewhat and may be green, brownish green, or olive green, with a black herringbone pattern on the femurs of their hind legs.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #grasshopper #differentialgrasshopper #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



Slaty skimmer dragonfly
Slaty skimmer dragonfly

25 April 2022: This slaty skimmer dragonfly was photographed at Miller Pond last summer. Slaty skimmers are large dragonflies commonly seen around ponds or slow-moving streams with muddy bottoms, often near woodlands. In NJ, dragonfly and damselfly season runs from Apr-Oct, although the best time for spotting the most species is from Jun-Jul.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #dragonfly #slatyskimmer #njinsects #njnature #njwildlife



Eastern box turtle
Eastern box turtle

21 April 2022: Throwback to 2018 and this eastern box turtle photographed among the debris of the forest floor. Eastern box turtles live in moist woodlands, and have many variations in their colors and marking patterns.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #boxturtle #turtle #njreptiles #njnature #njwildlife



Eastern gray squirrel
Eastern gray squirrel

18 April 2022: Image of the day: The eastern gray squirrel is one of more than 200 species of squirrels around the world. They play an important role in seed dispersal, and they have an excellent sense of smell which they use to help locate food that they’ve hidden away.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #graysquirrel #squirrel #njmammals #njnature #njwildlife



Downy woodpecker
Downy woodpecker

11 April 2022: This downy woodpecker was photographed drilling into a tree near Headquarters last month. Woodpeckers peck wood to forage, store food, excavate their nests, and to mark their territory and attract a mate with the resulting noise. Downys are the smallest and most commonly seen North American woodpecker. They are often confused with the hairy woodpecker, though hairys are larger, with a bigger bill.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #downywoodpecker #woodpecker #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Beaver family in lodge
Beaver family in lodge
HSB

7 April 2022: In honor of International Beaver Day, we are featuring a throwback to this family of beavers in their lodge drawn by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci many years ago. Beavers use their lodge to sleep, eat, groom each other, nurse kits, etc. Females give birth to one litter of kits per year, usually between April and July.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #BeaverDay #beaver #lodge #njmammals #njnature #njwildlife



Solitary sandpiper
Solitary sandpiper
Main pond
Solitary sandpiper
Solitary sandpiper
Main pond

4 April 2022: Solitary sandpipers forage in small freshwater wetlands, often in wooded environments, where they walk slowly through shallow water. As their name suggests, solitary sandpipers are not gregarious, and are usually seen alone during migration. This individual was photographed on the main pond in August of 2020.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #solitarysandpiper #sandpiper #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



Six-spotted fishing spider
Six-spotted fishing spider

28 March 2022: Image of the day: This six-spotted fishing spider, a semi-aquatic species of fishing spider, was photographed on the water surface of the main pond. Although we can see more than six spots on the abdomen, these spiders are named for the six dark spots hidden on the underside of their cephalothorax.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #sixspottedfishingspider #fishingspider #njspiders #njnature #njwildlife



Beaver eating apple
Beaver eating apple

24 March 2022: Throwback to 2010 and this beaver enjoying an apple in the main pond photographed by John McElroy. *According to policy, we no longer allow supplemental feeding of wildlife on the Refuge.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #beaver #njmammals #njnature #njwildlife



Birdwatching at Miller Pond
Birdwatching at Miller Pond

21 March 2022: On a wintry day this January, our manager and her daughter did some birdwatching around Miller Pond. Watching birds is a great way to study nature at home and in the wild for all ages. With a pair of children's binoculars, a nature journal, and some colored pencils, you can help a child in your life discover the wonderful world of birds.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #birdwatching #birding #naturekids #njnature #njwildlife



Sunset over snowy main pond
Sunset over snowy main pond

14 March 2022: Image of the day: This view of a lovely sunset over the main pond was photographed in early January after one of the first snowstorms of the season.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #pond #snow #sunset #njnature



Lady slipper by HSB
Lady slipper
HSB

10 March 2022: Throwback to this lady slipper flower drawn by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci many years ago. These wildflowers belong to the orchid family, and they can grow up to 15 inches tall. If you come out for a visit between May and July, you may find some flowering along the inner trails.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #ladyslipper #flower #njflowers #njnature #njwildlife



Snapping turtle in main pond
Snapping turtle in main pond

7 March 2022: Image of the day: We saw this large snapping turtle as we patrolled along the main pond on a sunny day in January. Snapping turtles are aquatic turtles who prefer slow-moving, shallow bodies of water with muddy bottoms.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #snappingturtle #turtle #njreptiles #njnature #njwildlife



Gray fox on trail camera
Gray fox on trail camera

28 February 2022: Image of the day: While sorting through some of our many trail camera photos from the past two years, we came across a photo of this gray fox. Gray foxes are the most cat-like of all the canids (members of the family Canidae), and they are one of only two species of canids who can climb trees (along with raccoon dogs in Europe and Asia.)
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #grayfox #fox #canid #njnature #njwildlife



Beaver food raft in snow
Beaver food raft in snow

24 February 2022: Throwback to the winter of 2018 and this photo of a snowy beaver food raft. Beavers stockpile food in a raft or cache, which is built as close to the entrance of their lodge as possible. When building the raft, they carry branches to the pond and haul them through the water. They then dive down and push the butt end of the branches into the mud at the bottom of the pond and proceed to weave in additional layers of branches.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #beaver #foodraft #njnature #njwildlife



Fishing spider in Miller House
Fishing spider in Miller House

21 February 2022: Image of the day: This fishing spider was photographed in the kitchen sink of the Miller House. Fishing spiders are among the largest-bodied spiders in the northeast US. Their name suggests a preference for an aquatic habitat, though while some species do dwell near bodies of water, others seem to prefer indoor habitats.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #fishingspider #spider #njnature #njwildlife



Beaver in main pond
Beaver in main pond

10 February 2022: For this week's throwback we're featuring a photograph from 2017 of a beaver swimming unhurriedly through our main pond at sunset.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #beaver #njnature #njwildlife



Leopard slug
Leopard slug

7 February 2022: Image of the day: While patrolling along our Bluebird Trail last fall, our manager spotted this leopard slug among some debris. Although we cannot see the full body--only about 2/3 of the slug is visible from the tail up to the mantle--adult leopard slugs measure 4-8" in length.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #leopardslug #slug #gastropod #njnature #njwildlife



Wren drawing by HSB
Wren drawing
HSB

3 February 2022: Throwback to many years ago and this sketch of a couple wrens by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci. New Jersey has five species of wrens, including: house, marsh, Carolina, winter, and sedge wrens.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wren #njbirds #njnature #njwildlife



White-tailed deer
White-tailed deer

31 January 2022: Image of the day: This white-tailed deer doe was seen off of Buck Road along the entry into the Refuge. Deer are social animals, with females traveling together in herds. Each social group is led by a matriarchal female, and bucks and does live apart with the exception of the start of their breeding season. PC: J Amsterdam
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #whitetaileddeer #doe #njnature #njwildlife



Fawn sketch by HSB
Fawn sketch
HSB

27 January 2022: Our throwback image this week is of a fawn sketched some years ago by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge cofounder. In NJ, white-tailed deer generally breed from late September through January, with the peak of breeding (rutting) activity occurring in mid-November. Fawns are born beginning in early May.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #whitetaileddeer #fawn #njnature #njwildlife



Wheel bug
Wheel bug

24 January 2022: Image of the day: This adult wheel bug was photographed on the porch of Headquarters last summer. Wheel bugs are named for the prominent spiny ridge or "wheel" on the thorax. They are one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, reaching up to 1.5".
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wheelbug #njnature #njwildlife



Sunset over a frozen main pond
Sunset over a frozen main pond

20 January 2022: Throwback to a winter day in early 2018 and this view of the sunset over a frozen main pond.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #pond #winter #njnature



Sunset over main pond
Sunset over main pond

17 January 2022: Image of the day: The main pond provides ample opportunity for photo-ops, as with this sunset over the water one day last spring. The lens flare is caused by the bright sunlight shining directly into the lens and scattering.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #pond #sunset #lensflare #njnature



Paper wasp nest
Paper wasp nest

13 January 2022: Throwback to 2018 and this photo of an active paper wasp nest inside a display case in the barn. This social wasp is commonly referred to as the yellow paper wasp due to the yellow bands found on their thorax and abdomen. PC: Dave Sauder
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wasp #waspnest #njwildlife #njnature



Great blue skimmer dragonflies mating
Great blue skimmer dragonflies mating

10 January 2022: Image of the day: These great blue skimmer dragonflies were seen mating along the perimeter of the main pond this past summer. All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, with male secondary genitalia located in segments two and three, and female genitalia in segment eight. In the mating position, referred to as "wheel," the male is on top, using claspers on his abdomen to hold onto the female at the back of her head.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #greatblueskimmer #dragonfly #njnature #njwildlife



Beavers foraging by HSB
Beavers foraging
HSB

6 January 2022: Throwback to this drawing of two beavers foraging, by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci from many years ago. Hope was a talented artist, and had a particular affinity for creating illustrations of the Refuge beavers.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #beaver #njnature #njwildlife



Wool sower gall on oak leaf
Wool sower gall on oak leaf

3 January 2022: Image of the day: The fuzzy growth on this oak leaf is a wool sower gall--a plant growth induced by the secretions of gall wasp larvae. Galls can be as large as 3/4" and are often bright pink or yellow, fading to brown in the fall. They are incredibly diverse in structure, and provide food and protection to the larvae as they grow and develop.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #woolsowergall #gallwasp #wasp #njnature #njwildlife



RSS services:
Blogging Fusion Blog Directory
Feed Shark
R-bloggers.com
RSS-Dir.com
RSS Feed Directory - Search and read RSS Feeds without any RSS reader