Tuesday I went to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to find it closed because they were conducting controlled burns of invasive plants along the marsh edges. Rather than going home, I drove one more hour to get to the Cape May Lighthouse at the southern tip of New Jersey.
I walked down to the beach and saw a strange bunker, a World War II relic slowly being reclaimed by the ocean.
The bunker was used to defend against a possible German invasion! It had four 155 mm artillery pieces which had never been fired and were removed many years ago.
Nearby there were several small ponds where swans and various ducks were swimming and feeding.
Sparrows and one Northern Mockingbird kept flying around me as if wanting their pictures taken.
There were several bushes of holly laden with gloriously red berries.
Yesterday, after I arrived at a parking lot near Merrill Creek Reservoir in Harmony township, I heard what sounded like a dozen of birds singing lustily. Looking around I only saw a single bird perched up high on an electric wire.
It was a Mockingbird, a species with a unique ability to learn other birds’ songs and sing them day and night. In the following photos, you will see that its bill was almost constantly open as it went through its repertoire. A repertoire could include as many as 150 distinct songs, and may include two groups, one for spring and the other for autumn.
It was not shy and let me come very close to it before flying away and landing a short distance away.
Because they sang so well, in the 19th century people caught Mockingbirds and sold them as caged birds. This nearly led to their disappearance from parts of the East Coast.
While watching the Horseshoe Crab egg feast at Fortescue, I saw several other kinds of smaller birds flying around. One of them was a Northern Mockingbird that openly paraded on the road.
The bird was very active flying in and out of some bushes by the road. Inside one of the bushes was a juvenile waiting to be fed.
The adult fed the youngster several times, but I could not see whether it was with a Horseshoe Crab egg or not.
The juvenile kept asking for more as the adult contemplated what to do next.
Finally it flew up to an electric wire, surveying the landscape.