PURPLE MARTINING — MAURICE RIVER, Cumberland County, New Jersey

Martins by Joseph Smith martinmigration

Purple Martin Migration in Texas, Joseph Smith, from Internet: Typical Numbers of Martins over Maurice River in New Jersey, for Autumnal Migration

Major memories were granted last night, on the Bonanza II, on the Maurice River, in Shellpile, Cumberland County, New Jersey.    Come cruise with us, as we awaited dusk (martin-coalescence time).  And, –even more important, in the night’s exceptionally high tidewater–, see if we could get UNDER the Maurice River Bridge at Mauricetown.

Citizens United Purple Martin Cruise

Devoted Preservationists Purple Martin Cruise

Citizens United to Save the Maurice River and Its Tributaries:

Devoted Preservationists – Cruise Sponsors, Educators, Heroes and Heroines

Experts on board predicted “a million and a quarter”, if recent-night tallies were to be repeated.  What no one would predict was whether that exceptionally high tide, –swamping the boards of the docking area as we boarded–, would permit us to go under the Maurice River Bridge.  This year’s martins have been gathering about a half-mile north of that structure.

This is the largest martin-staging (for migration) area on the entire East Coast.  Endless phragmites marshes, and their abundant insects, call these swallow-relatives year upon year, to fatten for long, essenttial journeys to winter feeding grounds.

I carefully warned that night’s Intrepids — Anne Zeman, Mark Peel, Karen Linder, Mike Brill, Mary Wood and Susan Burns — that the trouble with this night would be that we would never be able to describe it, convey its magnitude, to others.

Shell Pile of Shell Pile NJ on Purple Martin Cruise night 2017

Shell Piles, of Shell Pile and Port Norris, Cumberland County, New Jersey

In earliest days, shell piles here and in Tuckerton were so tall, they served as landmarks guiding ships at sea.  In these tiny towns, there were more millionaires per block than anywhere in the world, due to the thriving oyster industry.   A nearby town was named Caviar for the abundance of that project, but that tragedy is another story…  MSX (multi-nucleated sphere unknown) equaled or surpassed biblical plagues in terms of the bivalves of Bivalve.  Now, this sleepy region stirs anew, as Rutgers-sponsored science brings resistant and succulent New Jersey oysters back to an expanding market.  My favorites are Cape May Salts, but a myriad of musical names heralds the resurgence of native oysters in our time.

Bonanza II High Tide Purple Martin Cruise

Bonanza II, at Exceptionally High Tide – due to prospective hurricanes and eclipse

 

Cruise Night Weather Purple Martin trip

Cruise Night Weather

Birders and preservationists will “pay any price, bear any burden” to see the objects of their passion.  So, I admit, –we who filled this boat this night, and others during pre-martin-departure weeks, would be scorned by Sarah Palin as “extreme environmentalists.”  Many in that group, if not most, spend serious constellations of hours doing whatever it takes to save habitats and species.

You ‘hear me’ prating of courage often in NJWILDBEAUTY.  Frequently, I call for these qualities anew, those embodied by our Founding Fathers and Mothers.  These Maurice River and purple martin and rare bird aficionados are right up there with those who caused our American Revolution to succeed.  Everything from science to publicity to education to hands-on- heroism – building and cleaning their homes each year;  martin-feeding (buying and tossing them crickets in a time of insect famine) and banding which reveals ‘our’ martins in faraway places, has been practiced by the group on board last night.

My camera does not do justice to small birds.  Therefore, enjoy Texas flight above for a sense of numbers arriving, descending, rising, feeding, interacting with one another, circling the boat, all the while half-muttering, half-singing, as dusk won its nightly victory   Bear with my feeble words in trying to bring the magic to all of you.

Feeding Frenzy Gulls Purple Martin Cruise

Gull Frenzy, Dusk, Shellpile NJ Dock

Gulls on HIgh Purple Martin Cruise

Gulls on High

Peak 'o' The Moon Battle site Purple Martin Cruise AugustPEAK O’ THE MOON, REVOLUTIONARY BATTLE-SITE on the Maurice River

This is my favorite battleground name in all history.  Trouble is, no one can ever tell us who won!

Awaiting Tidal Change Purple Martin Cruise

AWAITING TIDAL CHANGE ON THE BONANZA II —

Can we fit under the bridge…..????

 

Where Eagles Watched Purple Martin Cruise

WHERE EAGLES, PERCHED, OBSERVED BIRDWATCHERS, AFLOAT

Eagles were present, as were osprey and osprey nests – even natural ones, i.e., not on platforms  But they all took second billing, as we waited for martins to gather and swirl.

Clammers Return Purple Martin Cruise

“DAY IS DONE” — CLAMMERS’ RETURN ON THE MAURICE

 

When Systems Collide Purple Martin Cruise

WHEN SYSTEMS COLLIDE

Do not lose sight of the fact, NJWB Readers, that these wild weathers are the fall-out of climate change.  That those vanishing floorboards in the boarding/docking area, under strange moon tides, are not only climate-change generated, but visual proof of sea-level rise.  Let NO one try to convince you that this is a myth.  It is no myth, but an enormous threat, in New Jersey, the only state with three coasts.

Purple Martin Cruise August 2017 008

LOVLIEST BIRDER — INTREPID ANNE ZEMAN ON OSPREYS

No-Wake Zone Purple Martin Cruise

NO-WAKE ZONE ON THE MAURICE

 

Quahogggers Return Purple Martin Cruise

QUAHOGGERS’ RETURN FROM DELAWARE BAY

 

Impressionism Maurice River Purple Martin Cruise

BIRTH OF IMPRESSIONISISM — ON NEW JERSEY’S MAURICE RIVER

(Monet’s initially scorned masterpiece, however, was titled “Impression Soleil Levant” — Impression – Sun, Rising.  Ours was definitely “Soleil Couchant” — Sun Sinking, or ‘going to bed’, as the French naturally call it.

Where the Martins Roost Cruise

WHERE THE MARTINS ROOST — MAURICE RIVER PHRAGMITIES MARSHLANDS

 

Whistler Nocturne Maurice River Bridge Purple Martin Cruise

WHISTLER NOCTURNE – MAURICE RIVER BRIDGE

Sometimes I attempt to describe that sky obscured by martin hordes as resembling herbes de provence pressed into a leg of lamb.

Sometimes, I refer to skies banishing behind martins as giving us the lost esperience of tumblings and torrents of passenger pigeons, before we drove all of them into extinction.

Even last night’s experts balk at conveying this miracle to those who have not experienced it.  Next year, early on, contact Citizens United to Save the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, and be on board one of their (now six) dusk cruises into transcendance.

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OLD LYME ARTQUEST PLANNED: AMERICA’S TONALISTS

Tonalism Will Howe Foote Florence Griswold House Old Lyme CT

FLORENCE GRISWOLD HOUSE by Tonalist WILL HOWE FOOTE

Recently, a poet friend passed the Ole Lyme (CT) exit on her way to Provincetown for their legendary writers’ workshop.  “I want to see the Florence Griswold Museum,” she said to herself, “… maybe, on the way back.”  But her Self corrected her Self: “NO, I want to see it with Carolyn!”  How Betty knew that I have longed to see this center of the Old Lyme Art Colony, –this boarding house of Miss Griswold, which housed some of America’s major tonalist, and later impressionist, artists–, who painted the very walls and doors and panels with Old Lyme scenes, I have no idea.  But she made inquiries, has rented us lodging through AirBNB, and she will even drive!

Moonglow Tonalist Image from Internet no artist credit

Tonalist Image, Moonglow, From Internet, No Attribution

My role, a favorite, is  research.  Tonalism, an exceptional delicate school of art, evolved in and around Old Lyme in this country.  A town of white steeples and picket fences, tousled gardens, and far-stretching meadows toward the sea–, one could say, if Tonalism hadn’t existed, Old Lyme would have had to invent it.  As I combed the Internet, I found myself transported from “mists and mellow fruitfulness”, from morning fogs and clouds tip-tilted by sunsets, to wifty views of Miss Florence’s home by my relative, Will Howe Foote.

Brent Cotton Nightfall on the Pond from Internet

Brent Cotton’s “Nightfall”

At D&R Greenway Land Trust, I am Curator of the Olivia Rainbow Gallery, among many other roles.  I realize, for the first time, that I am also Curator of the N:JWILDBEAUTY Gallery.

Marina with Misty Mt. from Internet no artist

Marina with Mountain from Internet, No Attribution

Think back to Monet’s “Impression, Soleil Levant”, from which the movement was named to which some Tonalists would evolve.  “Impression, Sun Rising” could be the name of this tonal masterpiece:

Tonalist Matthew Cutter Rising Sun from Internet

Tonalist Matthew Cutter’s “Rising Sun”

Betty and I, in the museums of Old Lyme, will be surrounded by the peace, tranquility and luminosity  we so often seek in nature.

4-The-Blue-Cup-Tonalism-painter-Joseph-DeCamp

“The Blue Cup” by Tonalist Joseph de Camp

Tonalists were very effective with portraits.  Perhaps no one did a better job of winter scenes, at least in this country.  Sisley and Pissarro are no slouches when it comes to snow, of course, especially in and around Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris.  Our Tonalists made the most of the very American New England landscape.

John Henry Twachtman Winter Landscape with-Barn

John Henry Twachtman’s Winter

It is not yet clear to me whether this is the British attitude, or pure reality, that Tonalism all began with Whistler, (the legendary expatriate James Abbot MacNeill Whistler).  This theory could be the confection of critics of later centuries.  This attribution may be the confection of critics of subsequent centuries…

Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea 1871 James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Evergreen Framed Tonalist Image Internet no artist credit

Evergreen-Framed Tonalist Landscape, no attribution

Tonalism example from Internet unattributed

Early Tonalism – Unattributed under Tonalist Images

Tonalism example unattributed from Internet

Tonalism in the Garden, Unattributed

Tonalist modern Judy Friday February Sunrise

Tonalist Modern, Judy Friday, February Sunrise

Tonalist Will Howe Foote Verdant-cape

Tonalist and Relative – Will Howe Foote: “Verdant Cape”

Tonalism Orchard in Bloom from Internet no artist no title

Tonalist Orchard in Bloom, No Attribution

A group of determined friends and relations managed to save Miss Florence’s home, during the Great Depression, when debts would have forced her to leave.  This image, by my relative Will Howe Foote, may be the most famous of her home, which is now the Museum which draws us to Old Lyme.

Will Howe Foote Summers Night probably Miss Florence Griswold on porch of her home Old Lyme Ct

Tonalist Will Howe Foote, “Summer’s Night”, reputed to be Miss Florence Griswold on the porch of her home which sheltered these legendary artists