One of the highlights of this convoluted spring was a quick Friday journey over to Sandy Hook and back, in early May. It’s a tradition to take my dear friend, Tasha O’Neill, to Bahrs Landing (family-run seafood mecca since 1917 or so) for her late April birthday. Weather made us tardy this year, but Bahrs was as glorious as ever. Bayside table, sun-on-water, fishermen returning with their catch, gulls and cormorants following the orange-clad fishermen in their bright boats.
We spent the entire gilded afternoon on Sandy Hook’s margins, bird-vigilant. We were richly rewarded.
My camera does not do justice to birds, so the osprey nest exchanges and the courting great blue herons, serried rows of cormorants on dark pilings, and the remarkable green heron in a secluded pool will go unimaged in this post.
However, there are other signs of spring at Sandy Hook, in addition to rare birds.
The beach became a canvas, splashed with the unexpected soft burgeoning of beach plum and the sturdy renascence of prickly pear.
In the distance, at North Beach, the Verrazano Bridge shimmered like a spider’s blue-black web against a washed out Narrows. Wall Street rose like the wall for which it was names (between properties of the Delafields and the Harveys, I was told, in the Hudson River Valley. Delafields and Harveys live in Princeton to this day, without requiring walls.)
I’ll add some images from a winter’s birding day — when the seafood was equally spectacular, and the birding frankly not gratifying. Our best birds of winter were seen from our table at Bahrs — including a goldeneye. Our most surprising was in a thicket surrounding a parking lot – a hermit thrush. Above our car, in a cedar, to be sure, was a flock of cedar waxwings, who flew off as one, making lovely music.
No thrushes nor waxwings in May, but the sharp cries of duelling oystercatchers had welcomed us to ‘the Hook’. And the lilting love songs of osprey serenaded us throughout our sojourn.
Moral of the story, go in winter, even though bleak, for miracles await.
Return in spring for different winged blessings.
Get yourself out into Nature every chance you get, before climate change strips its glories.
And do whatever you can to preserve Nature everywhere you can, through your splendid local land trusts. You know who they are!