Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Birding in South New Jersey: Arrival

I drove to Cape May this morning. In the rain. Near zero visibility in the splash of some semis as they went by or as I past them on the hills. It was like driving 60-65 mph through a car wash. At least the mud is now officially off the truck!

Six hours and 300 miles after leaving the Aerie, I checked into the Hyland Motor Inn in Cape May Court House at exactly 2:00 PM. I only had to scold SIRI twice for giving me questionable directions. (Why was I supposed to go NORTH on I-81 towards Wilkes Barre to get to the Penn Pike when continuing east on I-80 gets me to the same highway without the two-legs-(or more)-of-the-triangle approach? Did I have to sneak up on the Turnpike?)

As I drove south on the GSP from the Atlantic City Expressway, I was struck by the thought that it's been more than twelve (12) years since I was this far south in New Jersey. It's been ten (10) years since I retired from Parsippany. It's been eight (8) years since we started construction on the Aerie. Seven-and-a-half since we moved out of Morristown!

They seem to be reconstructing every north-south road in Atlantic and Cape May counties. The GSP is getting extra lanes and the old Rout 9 bridge over Egg Harbor is ripped up. Those two projects make me glad I'm here now before the summer mop starts to show up. Only bad thing about being ahead of the crowd is that many of the restaurants aren't open yet. Some have signs saying weekends only others say May 1st and others aren't saying much of anything.

The room is small, but it's relatively cheap, oh so quiet and right off the Garden State Parkway. I'm still about 20 miles north of Cape May lighthouse, 30 or so miles south of Oceanville and Forsythe NWR and directly inland from Stone Harbor.

After checking in, I drove down to the visitors' center in Cape May where I spoke with Vince who gave me a county map, a town map and a very nice booklet called "New Jersey Birding & Wildlife Trails: Delaware Bayshore." After telling him it had been a loooooong time since I had visited the Cape, Vince also took time to point out where things were south of the Canal.

So, chock full of information, I headed on down toward the western tip of the Cape. I made one stop at Sunset Beach to say hello to The Concrete Ship and another to the Lighthouse and Hawk Watch area in the parking lot. I did a little birding at each stop before rain/drizzle forced me to concede the field. I drove up toward Higbee Beach on the southwest end of the Canal just to get my bearings. It was raining too hard to stop there, however.

The rain that I experienced all day--very heavy at times--is supposed to head out to sea tonight and the next couple of days will be slightly cooler but clear. With luck, I'll be up at Forsythe NWR bright and early tomorrow.

1 comment:

threecollie said...

Cape May! In springtime! Sounds like magic to me. Hope you see some good ones.