Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Things

[I paused before work last week to watch the Purple Martin colony at Forsythe - one of the best, if not the best, in the state. I'm not sure this Eastern Comma butterfly would agree . . .though martin watchers create traffic jams at Forsythe's entrance.]

There are pros and cons to this summer thing in south Jersey.  The crowds and traffic . . . ugh. At least we have Greenheads to keep the tourists at bay. Not many migrants to be had, though yesterday we paddled around the Green Creek marsh on the bay side and not only got away from the crowds, but flushed a couple Spotted Sandpipers (presumed migrants). A more interesting flush was the immature male Northern Harrier, which rocketed from a dense patch of phragmites at close range and was immediately set upon by Red-winged Blackbirds, which relentlessly pursued this bird until it was out of sight, escaping at high speed by beating its wings as rapidly as a Sharp-shinned Hawk, in fact, I might well have called it one at distance. The marsh is riddled with Clapper Rails, and we glimpsed a dingy youngster with traces of black down sticking through the feathers.

Then, the fireworks. They float this barge every year off the west end of the Cape May Canal, near the ferry terminal, and spend what must be a bargeload of money on the pyrotechnics. Call me a guilty envionmentalist - all that smoke and fire can't be good for the atmosphere, and I'm not sure the local avifauna, bats, etc. are so thrilled by the explosions, either. But I go watch them anyway.

"I'm glad you have a plan for this," she said. yeah, I had a plan. It went like this: Stop at WaWa for iced coffee in our travel mugs (no paper - the guilt thing), then the liquor store for Frangelica, and drive as close as we could get, not very, to the festivities. Drop a pin on the iPhone's map and label it TRUCK so we can find it again, pour Frangelica into cups, and start walking and sipping. Buy a hot dog along the way. . .

 [North Cape May Fireworks Sunday night.]

[Fireworks in my own backyard. . .who needs explosions and smoke?]

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