Great Horned Owl, magnificent close-up, by the very talented Brenda Jones

Great Horned Owl, magnificent close-up, by the very talented Brenda Jones

(Heard, not seen, Recently)

NJWILDBEAUTY readers well know that I’ve moved so happily to Lawrenceville, –three-tenths of a mile from the bountiful new preserve, “The Pole Farm.”

Off Cold Soil Road and also off Blackwell Road and also off Keefe road are entries to this wooded paradise, full of rare birds and other wild creatures, and utilized by the nicest hikers and cyclists I’ve ever encountered.

When my sister was here from Illinois, we went to the Pole Farm at least once a day and sometimes twice.  It’s never the same twice.

Now that the seasons are changing, time in the Pole Farm will be more and more colorful.  The first crimson of woodbine is apparent.  A brassy tinge is coming into wild grape leaves everywhere, which will soon gild both sides of the trails in the sunny parts.

Two weekends ago, first a barred owl coasted majestically, then roosted in a number of copses not far from the second observatory platform.  As we walked back along Maidenhead Trail, great horned owls hooted back and forth to one another in the dark woods.

Most of the time I take my new binoculars, which are finally fulfilling me as a birder.  I want the world to know that Bushnell, for a minuscule fee of $10, examined my old non-focusing binoculars, which had been a gift and for which I had absolutely no paperwork, not even a serial number.  Some weeks after I followed their on-line directions re mailing, they sent a beautiful box holding a beautiful case and an impeccable set of absolutely brand new optics.  They and I have been inseparable ever since.  Talk about standing behind their product!

Recently, though, I thought I’d better try walking the Pole Farm without them, to experience that sacred site with my other senses.

Here is a poem that carries the magic to some degree.

For the full magic, come to the Pole Farm, in all lights and all seasons.

This is the reason it’s so vital to preserve open space in New Jersey right now — and don’t forget this in the ballot box in November!  Never has it been more important than now, for our state:  New Jersey:  KEEP IT GREEN!

Short-eared Owl white coloration

Short-Eared Owl by Brenda Jones — to be found at Pole Farm in Winter




yesterday, I left my binoculars at home

on purpose

determined to experience the Pole Farm



entering very early

no one on the trails


assailed by fragrance

nearly knocking me off my stride


pungent, multi-layered sweetness

heady, even dizzying


these aromas

may have been clover’s gifts

–the forceful magenta, truncated white


everything so still

I could hear each bee

busy at his nectaring


in the half-woods

where thin streams furl

I heard the plucked string

of green frog

–Casals at his tuning


along the forest edge, brown thrashers

ruffled underbrush

and trail dust


entering the deep woods

I walked into and out of

the piercing salutation

of fox

–part skunk

yet vanishing

before I could say

that ruddy word


so leaving new binoculars at home

returned me

to nose

to ears



Summer 2014