On Thanksgiving Day, one of ‘The Intrepids’, Jeanette Hooban, and I chose many birds over one.
This seems radical to many.
Come along with us, and draw your own conclusions.
It was snowing when we left Lawrenceville, –like the light, powdery beautiful flakes that swirl around in snow globes. This was the scene as we drove Lily Lake Road off Route 9, below Smithville, at Oceanville.
The water to the left of the Brig’s entry bridge is where I saw my first truly wild mute swans, my first gadwall, and, this day, our major quests — hooded mergansers and their smaller look-alikes, buffleheads. NJWILDBEAUTY readers know my camera doesn’t do well with birds. So you’ll have to take our word for the fact that these black and white wonders are in this scene.
From the Leeds Eco-Trail, we watched a commanding great blue heron masterfully prowl his domain, successfully catching and swallowing more fish than we can count. On the trail’s railing, a female belted kingfisher carried on in similar fashion. A tardy osprey coasted above, lord of all he surveyed. A massive and graceful female harrier patrolled the lower reaches. We hadn’t even been in the Brig a quarter of an hour.
We took the all-too-short forested trail off Leeds Eco, which used to be complete all the way ’round, before sea-level rise, sustained too-high tides, all-too-frequent Nor’easters, full moon tides and hurricanes.
One of two sneakboats, a Tuckerton specialty of aeons ago, bristling with rifles, right off the refuge. Atlantic City is behind this boat. There was not a single bird, not even a gull, on this side of ‘The Brig.’ It is formally named the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge.
The birds were brilliant — hiding out on the opposite side.
This road was severely devoured by Hurricane Sandy, in two places. It has been renewed, but with what I call Army Corps of Engineer Sand — a ghastly color, thick and coarse. It is already washing away in clusters of runnels on two sides of the observation tower. As though the sea, having once had its way with the Brig, is determined to return…
Inside the Refuge, we were also given one trumpeter swan – enormous wingspread, thoroughly black beak, no yellow lores; some tundra swans — smaller in wing, yellow lores, in a flock; and about a hundred snow geese, silent and grounded but thrilling. This was one of those days when the entire beauty of the Refuge took us over, scene after scene. The bird tally would not be kept. The beauty tally is here.
We always go over to Scott’s Landing, near Leeds Point, after ‘Brigging’. Here are some of the miracles of that stretch, part of Forsythe, but mostly accessible only by watercraft.
Nature’s Artistry at Scott’s Landing
Then we take a short, slow ride to Leeds Point, a true fishing village to this day. Clams and crabs are the order of the day. The Oyster Creek Inn, at this Point, knows how to cook fish and shellfish in the simple ancient ways, in a place that bustles in summer. Not on Thanksgiving.
“Day is done, gone the sun…”
The moral of these pictures is, preserve every inch of open space in our beleaguered New Jersey, especially the watery inches!