A FAREWELL TO THE BAYBIRDS

The Labor Day festivities led to the inevitable  return to my home.  That’s ironic because I grew up at the shore year ’round and  the happiest Labor Day event was to stand by one of the exit routes from the island and wave goodbye to the tourons headed home.  But now….

I’M ONE OF THEM!

My daughter and grand-daughter packed up my meds, toiletries, booze, computer stuff, wall art, camera stuff, plants, shirts, slacks, socks and, oh yeah, my unmentionables, and whizzed everything up the highway to my cave at the Old Folks Farm.  There, pictures were rehung and stuff was put away or at least the boxes were put in the right rooms, and the bird feeder was filled.

I called my friend, Barb, who had also moved back to her cave at the farm and she as well as I needed attitude adjustment.  So, over she came to share wine and dinner.  While adjusting, the ShopRite delivery truck arrived with a restock of my pantry and frig and that made it official.

Finally, if there was any doubt that I’d been away for almost three months this web was keeping the bird feeder pole erect.

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The post title?  I received a group farewell from the gang on Mordecai Island.  In past years there’s been a Great Blue Heron out there soaking up the morning sun while I soaked up caffeine on Grampa’s deck.  This year a few others joined to wish me a pleasant winter.

Please click on the image to see a larger version.

Left to right:  A Great White, a Great Blue. a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (low and left of the Juvenile Great Blue), a Juvenile Great Blue, another Great White, and another Great Blue.

Thanks, Guys.  C’ya next summer.

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It has been another summer of enjoying the seabird life.  In particular there is a nest on Mordecai Island which had been adopted last year by a pair of Ospreys.  They were childless last year but this year two chicks were hatched and raised to fledging.  This image was made in August after one of the chicks had left.  Note also that Papa was coming in with another twig for the nest.  I guess it was renovating for next year.

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One of the family has taken to landing on a neighbor’s flag pole while scanning the adjacent Liberty Thorofare lunch counter.  Makes for quite a flagpole ornament.

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This is a good-by post to a season but I’ve also included an image as a good-by to an era.  The nearby 1874 Beck farmhouse was sold a couple of years ago to make room for six McMansions.  They have all come to pass but one of them is a cut-down version of the original farmhouse, moved from the center of the tract and trimmed to fit the smaller lot.  Glad to see it remain.

The image below of the original building was made before development of the tract.  Although made in full sun I chose to recast it as though in moonlight and with candles in the windows.  This summer I redid the candles, making them slimmer and of different sizes.  I also applied a Topaz filter to further increase the drama.  When I posted a version of this on Facebook in 2017 someone commented that he had enjoyed youthful summers with his grandparents in this old house.   Made me feel good.

Please click on the image to see a larger version.

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~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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It is a poignant, bittersweet time of year for me, a farewell to a time spent with family, friends, and the bays and marshes which have been part of my life for almost all of my eighty-six years. Such feeling ran in the family; here is a poem written by my brother, Bill Berglund (1920-2005).

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This closing image makes its fourth appearance to note the end of summer.  I have yet to find another image that expresses how I feel quite as well.

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CLOUDY DAY COMPOSITIONS

I slept in until 7 (?).  I wondered why and discovered that cloud cover had kept the light level low.  While waiting for the caffeine to boot my head’s RAM I enjoyed the swirling cloud clumps.  Yep, picture time.

Here’s Liberty Thorofare and Mordecai Island, looking north to the center of  Beach Haven.

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At the foot of my street is Cotov’s boat landing, family owned and maintained for over seventy years, a unique reminder of Beach Haven’s past as a fishing community,.

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There have been two generations of Cotovs know as Captain Bly.  The third generation, young Nick Cotov, continues to maintain the property, rent boat slips, care for the martin houses, and harvest bait for sale to the island day-boat rental places.

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The original fishing boat, the Sultan, has been on blocks since I moved here in 2001.  She suffers a little more each year.  At one time, the late Nick,Sr. had offered it to the Tuckerton Seaport.  Not everything gets done.  Hemmed in by Sandy debris, the vegetation moves to enfold her.  Sic transit gloria.  No matter; if my RAM continues to work, I’ll know where she is.

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It’s hard for me to think about lobsters off-shore of central Jersey.  Everybody knows they come only from Maine.  But that wasn’t always so.  The family worked lobster traps off-shore here for many years.  Now, the traps age along with Sultan.

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In the brush and vegetation that is engulfing Sultan and the lobster traps there is still the here-and-there flash of color, seeking to reproduce itself.  As a centerpiece the wild aster says, even with a dark cloud cover, still, “It’s a beautiful day in Beach Haven.”  Thank you, Walter Smedley (R.I.P.) for this wonderful statement.

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ONE WEEK TO GO

It’s clear that someone removed a week in either July or August because, suddenly, there is now only one week remaining in the summer season.  Shame!  Something else to blame on Sandy?

This past weekend was wonderful;  in the sixties at night, and bright, clear skies and northerly winds in the daytime.  But they’re a sign that someone’s bringing the check soon and I’m overdue for posting some summer snapshots.

Pearl and I still have this kind of a scene during early morning coffee on Grampa’s deck.  Near, in the copse on Mordecai Island is the Great Blue Heron which seeks out that spot for the early morning sun.  Awakening, four and a half miles away, is Tuckerton Beach.

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We continued the post-Sandy cleanup.  My son-in-law, Bob, has worked hammer and tong to replace the wallboard in the flooded first floor, and he has done so with a half-height surface of beach-ey beadboard.  Looks nice.  Outside, Sigrid worked to clean the planting beds and prune the Crepe Myrtles.  We were delighted to see them come into bloom.  I had to protect the rambler roses, however, as the sense was that they should be torn out.  They must have heard that because they yielded beautiful blooms.

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Paddle boarding has become popular both off of the beach and, more so, in the bay waters.  I see these groups and singles going by frequently.  Once there was a solo with his dog on the bow of the board.  Here it looks as though the babysitter didn’t show this morning, or is that the babysitter?  Daughter Sigrid has been out a couple times, making the 1.5 mile circumnavigation of Mordecai Island.

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Storms come in summer, some impressive with scary wind and lightning.

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There were rainy days.  The Black Pearl pirate ship sails daily from Beach Haven into the waters of Little Egg Harbor bay.  This was a sad trip, however, as the heavens opened.  Most of the passengers crowded the poop deck for shelter (please, that’s from the French for stern, la poupe) but some seemed to enjoy being at one with the elements.

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This is the once proud Sultan, fisher of all manner of seafood, sailed by two generations of the Cotov family.   Friends of ours here remember going down to the boatyard on Friday nights and buying fresh lobster right from the boat.  Several years ago, the last to sail her, the late Nick Sr., was hard at work caulking and painting her on the scaffold.  I asked him if he planned to launch her.  He answered’ “Yep.  As soon as the ocean comes cross the island she’ll go in. ”  Well, Sandy came and went and I’m really surprised that Sultan didn’t go with her as there was certainly enough water under her.  Here she continues to age amidst her eclectic setting, including many of her lobster traps.

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On the side of the shop at the landing is this salute to Kate, wife of the first Sultan owner, Sam Cotov.   Kate lived for more than a century, passing away only a few years before Nick, Sr.  Young Nicky who makes his living in part from slip rentals and wholesale bait keeps the window box tended.

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Finally, yes, we do have some great sunsets over Mordecai and distant Tuckerton.  I was sitting in my living room recently when I noticed the warm glow of another production sunset coming through a nearby window.   The stained glass panel is one I described in a May post, and can be seen further under the Stained Glass Work tab at the top of the page.  Anyway, it was a serendipitous happening of warm sunset, structured clouds, reflection from the water, and the panel.

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It’s been a good summer for me.  The kids, their three dogs and their cat left last week to restart the off-island life.   That’s always a melancholy event but….some of them are coming back.  Granddaughter Maddy moved back to her second year at Cornell but granddaughter Gretchen doesn’t leave for UCLA until late in September.  So, the family will be back with me in the coming weeks to share the beauty of fall’s arrival.

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WEEKEND WANDERING

A nice weekend.  Blustery.  Dramatic clouds.  Needed a windbreaker.  But lots to photograph from one end of LBI to the other.  I began at the entrance to the wildlife refuge at Holgate.  Wild life?  Yes; a surfer meet.   Here’s a few and they had plenty of observers on the beach.

Right next door was this lovely young lady working the surf. 

Further up the island it was Mordecai Island fall cleanup day.  Twice a year volunteers take small boats and trash bags to the island to pick up the accumulated flotsam and jetsam.  Soda cans, tennis balls, pieces of styrofoam, pieces of sail cloth, yogurt containers, shotgun shells, decoys, and great swaths of fragmites reeds washed up by flood tides. 

This year the memo didn’t circulate very far so you see below two-thirds of the cleanup force, edging in to take on some of the bags we had filled.  The tally:  two decoys this year, almost one a piece.

Still further up the island to the always colorful commercial fishing boat docks at Viking Village.

I finished Sunday afternoon watching people trying to pull some dinner from the inlet.

DID ANYBODY SEE WHICH WAY JULY WENT?

July and I had been getting along pretty well.  Oh I know there were the occasional thunder storms and a couple days of fog and some stinky hot days.  But all in all we had a lot of good days together.  I don’t know what I said or did that upset things.  I thought we had pretty well bonded.  Then the next thing I know, July snuck out of town late last night without saying goodbye to anyone.  Oh, well, I’m told it’ll be back next year.  Meanwhile it left some pleasant memories.

The last fishing pier piling.

In my ten years in Beach Haven there have always been three pilings here on the beach, left over from the 1896 fishing pier that was destroyed in the 1944 hurricane.  They were a nice setting around which to photograph family groups.  We just have to photograph smaller families now.

Interclub Races

Last week, kids from other sailing clubs on the island gathered at our club for interclub competitions.  Boats included Optis, Lasers, 420’s and a scattering of sunfish.  Talk about herding cats.

Elvis summers at Beach Haven

The weekend before we had a party on the dock to raise funds for the preservation of nearby Mordecai Island which protects about a third of Beach Haven.  Elvis showed up  to entertain the crowd, and he did a good job.

Sailing behind Mordecai Island.

 A typical July twilight blessing. 

I’ll miss July.

FALL’S COMING ASHORE

They say that fall doesn’t arrive until next week but I must tell you:  it has been prowling around off-shore for a couple of weeks, sneaking in at night,  probing our summer softness with chilly nights, and pushing winds into our days .  My cat, Pearl, has inquired as to the whereabouts of the electric blanket.

I’ve watched the meadows age as the spartina gives up the green, turning to a straw-colored glow.  There were one or two ospreys hanging around, late for their season but they have also taken the hint from nights in the 50’s.  The Great Blue Herons and the Great White Egrets are still here.  A sharp eye will see egrets on the far side of the inside pond above.

I’ve loved watching them take the warm early morning sun on the marsh on the near side of the island (Mordecai) above.  There have been four great blues, two yellow-crowned night herons, the great whites here and there, and a Belted Kingfisher who counter-wobbles on the day marker as the wind moves it back and forth.   Yesterday morniing as I watched I found myself amidst a gentle flutter-by of Monarch butterflies headed southwest.  Not a cloud by any means but a steady here-and-there of singles or twos or threes, and it continued during the morning.  They’re headed for Mexico.  Vaya con Dios.

And what’s happening on the beach three blocks away?  Well, there’s room to put your beach towel down and the ice cream vendors have left.  The island cleared out after Labor Day, and the windier days haven’t helped.

I think we can find a spot.

Even the gulls mourn the passing of lunch on the beach, hoping here for the last potato chip.

I don't care! We're not going home yet.