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 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 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, at Exceptionally High Tide – due to prospective hurricanes and eclipse
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.
Gull Frenzy, Dusk, Shellpile NJ Dock
Gulls on High
PEAK 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 ON THE BONANZA II —
Can we fit under the bridge…..????
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.
“DAY IS DONE” — CLAMMERS’ RETURN ON THE MAURICE
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.
LOVLIEST BIRDER — INTREPID ANNE ZEMAN ON OSPREYS
NO-WAKE ZONE ON THE MAURICE
QUAHOGGERS’ RETURN FROM DELAWARE BAY
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 — MAURICE RIVER PHRAGMITIES MARSHLANDS
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.