Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Jersey Nature

We took a long weekend down in Ocean City (NJ) on the Jersey Shore.

 Can you believe they close the OCEAN?  I was surprised!

 On the boardwalk...

I wanted to get some nature time in, so George and I took a cruise Saturday on The Cape May Whale Watcher.  There were passing thundershowers, but we managed to get in the 3 hour boat ride without getting soaked.  It poured heavily on our drive to Cape May, but dried up just before we parked at the boat.  We had some nice dolphin and bird sightings, but no whales.  We really enjoyed it regardless of the lack of whales and would recommend this trip to anyone in the area!

We saw this jellyfish before the boat even left the dock.

The view as we left the dock.

Immediately flushed out two great blue herons in the marsh.  This was one of them.

We also passed many osprey nesting platforms on our way out to the ocean.  Nice sightings of osprey at almost each platform.

Another osprey

I spotted an American Oystercatcher on the right shore....

and a turkey vulture soaring over the left shore.

We finally hit the open ocean, which was a bit choppy due to the storms that had been passing through.  We stayed pretty near the shore (and we joked about the possibility of seeing whales there).  Soon, though, we had our first dolphin sightings!

We watched them for at least ten minutes but then the captain reported that he had received a radio communication of some minke whales sighted and we were going to head in that direction.  Though we didn't find the minkes, we did find several hundred dolphins.  It was quite thrilling to see so many all together and in their natural environment.  They aren't the easiest to photograph!

When I tell you that it rained hard on the return rained hard!!!  They battened down the hatches and everyone stayed dry.  It cleared up by the time we reached the dock and we had sunshine going back to the car!  Timing is everything!

Laughing Gull

 Sanderlings in the shallows

So cute!

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