Tuesday, November 9, 2010


In the first week of November I ended up taking a solitary walk around The Meadows ("South Cape May" when it was an actual town, South Cape May Meadows after most of the town washed into the sea and the people gave up and turned the land into cattle pasture, turned "Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge" because the cattle pasture turned out to be incredible habitat for, well, migrating birds. It's now called something even fancier but still owned and maintained by The Nature Conservancy) when I realized I had driven all the way to Cape May for a scheduled bird walk--that was scheduled for last month. (Eh, whatever; at work I'm dealing with dates well into 2011…)

Backside of dunes with freshwater marshes below.

TNC recently reconstructed the property. The wonderful thing is that these obviously-planted rows are only noticeable from certain angles at the top of the dunes.

Once down the dune, the natural vegetation takes over with enthusiasm. (Here, mostly a bayberry tangle.)

The weather was also hinting at the possibility of a spectacular evening, another reason I decided to take the little road-trip. You simply can't go wrong with late afternoon sunlight at this time of the year, and I wanted to take a shot at photographing a different bit of scenery I hadn't before. (An interesting side-effect of throwing words and photos out into the ether that many other bloggers before me have discovered, I'm sure.)

That's the city of Cape May in the distance…

It's embarrassingly hard to find dunes of even this meager height anywhere along the coast these days.

The Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay moderate the temperatures along the entire Cape May Peninsula all year 'round; there was still some goldenrod blooming the first week in November.

How on earth can we call the stuff so many people grow in their lawns "grass"? This is grass!!!

One of the reasons we have some of the dunes we have is because of an aggressive (and expensive) beach replenishment program. It's not the best solution (I'll save you all the beach geology/ecology lesson), and sometimes it backfires. The sand they put in isn't the same kind of sand that was there to begin with, and it has a tendency to disappear quickly. That's actually a two-foot drop-off where the built-up beach has already been washed away. Beaches are supposed to disappear in the winter, by the by; then they come back. Unfortunately, this natural rhythm doesn't march in step with the human desire to live by the sea. (Recall that this area used to be an entire town.)

(Conitinued in the post below, A Rainbow-Lined Horizon.)