A New Year’s Day Walk In The Rain And Fog On Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

A New Year’s Day Walk In The Rain And Fog On Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Long Beach Island morning hike (2 of 34)
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As readers of my previous blog post would know I spent  New Year’s Eve  alone at the LBI Hotel in Surf City on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. It was a quiet and reflective night.  My plan for New Year’s Day,  when I decided to travel to Long Beach Island,  was to hike along the shore,  photograph the sunrise and hopefully capture some photographs of shore birds that migrate here for the winter.  I was actually wishing  for some cold, clear weather for my visit.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. 

It was foggy with a light rain when I awoke early on New Year’s morning.  The temperature was a mild 55 degrees. It was not what I had hoped for. Well, I wasn’t going to sit in my hotel room  so I donned my rain gear and was off to explore. A friend had told me about the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Reserve on nearby Cedar Bonnet Island.  It is located along one of the most active paths of the  Atlantic Flyway  used by migrating birds  in the eastern United States. I left the hotel and was soon walking over the bridge that led to the island. 

A light rain was falling through the thick fog making for very poor visibility as I began my hike.

As I walked over a bridge between Long Beach Island and  much smaller Bonnet Island I  heard ducks quacking in the distance, out of sight because of the fog.   I was soon  able to  see small flocks of ducks  swimming in the waters of the bay beneath the bridge.  The fog made it almost impossible to identify and  take photos of  ducks. However, a few flocks of ducks,  these female bufflehead ducks and .

these  mallard ducks swam close enough to at least get some somewhat  viewable photos. 

I also saw and heard a lot of seagulls flying overhead in the fog. This herring gull landed on a post . The fog again prevented any clear photos. 

Because of the fog I didn’t realize I had walked past the access to the hiking trails in the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. I continued walking past deserted boat docking parks,

 commercial areas and some older and  abandoned residences. 

I kept walking and came to another bridge. 

 It had started to rain again and I wasn’t checking my iPhone maps on my walk. The rain stopped and I checked my maps and I now realized I had walked too far and was on the bridge that connected the mainland to the barrier islands. 

So I turned around and found the access to the Forysthe National Wildlife Refugee on my return walk. The vast salt marshes could be seen  to the south until they disappeared in the  distance in the fog. 

Once again I heard, then saw many ducks swimming in the marshes below, obscured by the foggy conditions. 

I walked  about a 1/2 mile and came to the Cedar Bonnet Island Trail. 

This well maintained trail first proceeded through a thick growth of pine, cedar and maple trees. There were dozens of birds chirping and fluttering in the trees.

  I saw some  song sparrows and other small birds I couldn’t identify because a steady rain was falling.    I walked out to a couple of pavilions, 

overlooking the wetlands and salt marshes. Along the way, around a curve in the trail, I came face to face with a hawk, I am not sure of the species. We looked at each other  as I tried to unwrap my camera from the plastic bag that was protecting it from the rain. Of course, the hawk  had flown by the time I got my camera out. It was still a nice experience. 

The rains stopped for a while as I walked back from the pavilion. I was now able to photograph some of the yellow-rumped warblers that were flying and fluttering in the trees along the trail. This is a male and this

a female. 

There were also some song sparrows 

 a few cardinals and many other birds I couldn’t identify because of the clouds and poor  light conditions. 

As I walked along the salt marshes I was also able to now photograph some of the many ducks swimming in the salt marshes,

I learned they were black ducks very common here in the winter. 

I walked back to Long Beach Island when the rain began again. There were a few herring gulls near the bridge  Here is a link to some more  not so good photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Long Beach Island morning walk birds. January 1 2022.

I wanted to see the ocean so I took a quick walk to the shore. It was about a  1/2 mile past the LBI hotel 

After walking through the flooded streets I came to the beach,  walked up the dunes and watched the waves  of the Atlantic Ocean crashing to shore on this dark and dreary morning.  It  kept me in the somber and reflective mood that brought me to the ocean on this New Year’s Day.   I had hope for some better weather, but in life, we don’t always get what we want, and we have to make the best with what we are given.  And I did enjoy me six mile hike in the fog and rain. I am planning on returning to this beautiful island before the winter ends. Hopefully the weather will be better, so I can share more photos of its beauty. Here is a link  to a gallery with some more photos from my hike.



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