Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Ladybug on Headquarters stairs, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Lichen and fungi on log, photo by Dave Sauder
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Bald eagle calling in tree next to main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Barred owl in 1990, photo by Bernie Hehl
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Bearded iris near Miller House, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Beavers on Refuge in 1984, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Belted kingfisher in tree on main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bird tracks in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Black vulture on cabin barn, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Wood ducks near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera 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.
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News from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge

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News and take action 2021

Multiflora rose, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Multiflora rose

12 April 2021: Image of the day: This photo of multiflora rose was taken last spring near Headquarters. Multiflora rose is a climbing shrub, with typically white, though sometimes pink flowers.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #multiflorarose #njnature #njwildlife



Wasp with grasshopper prey, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Wasp with grasshopper prey

8 April 2021: Throwback to 2018 and this photo of a wasp with her paralyzed grasshopper prey, whom she will bring back to her burrow to feed to her young.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wasp #njnature #njwildlife



Black vulture in cabin barn attic, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Black vulture, cabin barn attic

5 April 2021: Image of the day: Our vultures are back, nesting in the cabin barn attic! It's breeding season and we see the pair daily, going in and out of the attic window, likely readying the area for eggs. This photo shows one member of the pair from last season.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #blackvulture #njnature #njwildlife



Whip-poor-will drawing by Edmund J Sawyer
Whip-poor-will drawing
Edmund J Sawyer

1 April 2021: Throwback to this eastern whip-poor-will drawn by Edmund J Sawyer many years ago. Edmund was father of Refuge co-founder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci. Like Hope, he was a very talented artist.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Wolf spider along main trail, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Wolf spider

29 March 2021: Image of the day: This wolf spider, seen on our main trail last spring, blended in quite well with the surrounding leaves and twigs. Their coloring functions as an effective camouflage, helping them catch their prey and keep safe from predators.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #wolfspider #njnature #njwildlife



Baby striped skunk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Baby striped skunk

25 March 2021: Throwback to the spring of 2017 and this photo of a striped skunk baby. Striped skunks are born with very little hair and soft pink skin. When their coats are fully grown, the stripes help to deter predators.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #stripedskunk #njnature #njwildlife



Eastern worm snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Eastern worm snake

22 March 2021: Image of the day: Resembling a large earthworm, the eastern worm snake is a small species of snake, reaching a length of up to about 35 cm (14 inches). This individual was photographed near Miller House in the moist forest floor debris, a preferred habitat of the species.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easternwormsnake #njnature #njwildlife



Swamp habitat, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Swamp habitat

18 March 2021: Throwback to 2016 and this view of the autumn foliage surrounding one of the swamps on the Refuge.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #swamp #njnature



Eastern mud turtle laying eggs near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Eastern mud turtle
laying eggs

15 March 2021: Image of the day: This eastern mud turtle ventured out from the main pond to lay her eggs near Headquarters – one of the numerous female turtles who chose this location last summer.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easternmudturtle #njnature #njwildlife



Barred owl drawing by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder
Barred owl drawing
Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

11 March 2021: Throwback to many years ago and this drawing of a barred owl by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder. The barred owl is one of eight species of owls found in NJ.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



8 March 2021: Images of the day: Eastern gray squirrels, like this individual seen jumping onto a tree, are very active and acrobatic residents of the Refuge. The squirrels are so active in fact that they set off our motion-activated trail cameras–a lot–though their photos are always enjoyable to see.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easterngraysquirrel #njnature #njwildlife

Eastern gray squirrel near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Eastern gray squirrel
Eastern gray squirrel near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Eastern gray squirrel
Eastern gray squirrel near Wild Goose Blind, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Eastern gray squirrel


Ring-necked snake, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Ring-necked snake

4 March 2021: Throwback to 2018 and this ring-necked snake – a harmless (other than to their prey), non-aggressive species named for their distinctive yellow neck band. (The deformed area on this individual may be a long-healed wound.)
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #ringneckedsnake #njnature #njwildlife



Mantis near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Mantis

1 March 2021: Image of the day: This praying mantis, seen near Headquarters last summer, is displaying the typical posture (upright with forearms folded) which has led to their common name. Mantises are an order of insects, Mantodea, that contains over 2,400 species.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #prayingmantis #njnature #njwildlife



Sparrow drawing by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder
Sparrow
HSB

25 February 2021: Throwback to many years ago and this sparrow drawn by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder. Hope was a talented artist, often sketching the many animals who live on the Refuge.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



House wren near Headquarters, photo by Leor Veleanu
House wren
Leor Veleanu

22 February 2021: Image of the day: This female house wren, seen here with a feather in her mouth, is working on the finishing touches of her nest. After the male starts the process by assembling a pile of sticks, the female then forms a nest cup over the sticks using soft materials. Photo Credit: Leor Veleanu
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #housewren #njnature #njwildlife #birdwatching



Yellow-bellied sapsucker drawing by Edmund J Sawyer
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Edmund J Sawyer

18 February 2021: Throwback to some years ago when Edmund J Sawyer, father of Refuge co-founder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, sketched this yellow-bellied sapsucker, a species of North American woodpeckers.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Eastern phoebe nestlings in cabin barn garage, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Eastern phoebe nestlings

15 February 2021: Image of the day: This nest in our cabin barn contains at least two sleeping eastern phoebe nestlings, while mom and dad are likely off in search of food.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #easternphoebe #njnature #njwildlife #birdwatching



Cooper's hawk, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Cooper's hawk

11 February 2021: Throwback to 2018 and this young Cooper's hawk. Color is often an indicator of age with many bird species, and this individual has brown feathers and yellow eyes which are characteristic of juvenile Cooper's hawks.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #coopershawk #njnature #njwildlife #birdwatching



Female and male American goldfinches near Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
American goldfinches

8 February 2021: Image of the day: This pair of American goldfinches was seen foraging outside of Headquarters. The male (left) has breeding plumage of a black forehead and black wings with white markings; breeding females are duller yellow beneath and more olive above.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #americangoldfinch #njnature #njwildlife #birdwatching



Northern cardinal drawing by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder
Northern cardinal drawing
Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

4 February 2021: Throwback to many years ago and this sketch of a northern cardinal by Refuge co-founder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Mourning dove at Headquarters, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Mourning dove

1 February 2021: Image of the day: This mourning dove was seen perched on a branch above the driveway of Headquarters. Mourning doves are named for their soft, drawn-out calls which sound like laments.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge #mourningdove #birdwatching



Viscid violet cort button, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Viscid violet cort

28 January 2021: Throwback to 2017 and this brilliant viscid violet cort mushroom with its bright purple button cap along one of the trails.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Red-bellied woodpecker; photo by Trustee Leor Veleanu
Red-bellied woodpecker
Leor Veleanu

25 January 2021: Image of the day: This male red-bellied woodpecker, seen here paused between bursts of pecking at the bark surface, was photographed by Trustee Leor Veleanu.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Boundary trail in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Boundary trail in snow

21 January 2021: Throwback to a snowy winter day in 2018 on the Refuge boundary trail.
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Spotted wintergreen, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Spotted wintergreen

18 January 2021: Image of the day: This spotted wintergreen is a perennial, evergreen herb found in mixed woodlands in the eastern US. It is an understory species with flowers appearing in late July to early August.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Otter drawing by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder
Otter drawing
Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci

14 January 2021: Throwback to many years ago and this sketch of an otter fishing by Refuge co-founder Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci. #tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Autumn meadowhawk dragonfly on Headquarters wall, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Autumn meadowhawk dragonfly

11 January 2021: Image of the day: The autumn meadowhawk, a late season dragonfly, flies later in the fall season than any other species and has been observed into as late as the end of December.
#UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



Ruffed grouse drumming; photo by Ed Abbott
Ruffed grouse drumming
Ed Abbott

8 January 2021: Unexpected Wildlife Refuge has joined a coalition of animal and environmental organizations calling on president-elect Joe Biden to take immediate action to confront the extinction crisis by signing an executive order that would overturn some of the damage caused by Trump's end-of-term "war on wildlife."

Trump's administration has acknowledged the need for monarch butterflies to be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but will not go through the process because there are 161 higher priority species it is looking at. Wolves have been delisted. Wolverines have been denied listing, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services defied a court order to create new plans for the conservation of the sage grouse by submitting documents that used the same wording and faulty claims that were rejected in 2019. These rule changes are but a fraction of the rollbacks rendered at the end of Trump's term.

The proposed executive order, ready for Biden to issue, would declare the extinction crisis a national emergency and give him the opportunity to act without Congressional approval under the National Emergencies Act. It would create national monuments protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050, and it would call for all agencies to add climate change to their considerations for species protections under the ESA – a stark contrast to the current administration, which removed all mentions of climate change from the White House website shortly after Trump took office.



Field and woods in snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Field & woods in snow

7 January 2021: Throwback to 2009 and this view of the sun rising beyond a snow covered field at the Refuge.*
#tbt #ThrowbackThursday #UWRHistory #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge

* In the long-term interests of the animals, Refuge policy no longer permits provision of artificial housing.



Reindeer lichen near main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Reindeer lichen

4 January 2021: Image of the day: This reindeer lichen, an important groundcover in woodland areas, is a principal winter food for deer. #UnexpectedWildlifeRefuge



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